As we celebrate homecoming season in Texas, here’s a look at some highlights for Borderzine alumni, students and supporters in the journalism industry.
National spotlight for Borderzine staff
The work of Borderzine staff’s reporting on life on the U.S., Mexico border during the pandemic was highlighted at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and National Association of Black Journalists conference in August in Las Vegas.
Borderzine director Kate Gannon discussed the special series, Borderland Life Amid the Pandemic, as part of a panel of partner organizations that participated in NAHJ’s project on Reclaiming the Border Narrative: Storytelling and Cultural Power for Migrant Justice.
Borderzine was among 12 organizations to receive grants from NAHJ funded by the Ford Foundation Reclaiming the Border Narrative project. The project is an effort “to organize and preserve stories reflecting the dignity and truth of border communities, connecting and empowering them to center their own narrative on their terms and in their voices.”
The El Paso-Juárez region faced unique challenges in the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of people lost their lives; hundreds of thousands had their lives massively disrupted. The cross-border flow of people was largely shut off for 18 months, keeping family members from loved ones on the other side of the Rio Grande.
UTEP students on the staff of Borderzine chronicled and curated the stories and genuine experiences of people in the Borderland during this unprecedented time. Now, we are working with archivists commissioned by NAHJ to include our project in the Reclaiming the Border Narrative project archive at the University of Arizona.
Borderzine professor wins national reporting award
Angela Kocherga, news director for KTEP and Borderzine, was recognized with the prestigious national Edward R. Murrow Award in Hard News for her story Migrants Expelled.
Earlier this year, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) also recognized KTEP in the categories of Hard News, Investigative Reporting and Continuing Coverage in the small market radio classification in Region 6, which encompasses Texas and Oklahoma. Kocherga, KTEP news director and associate professor of practice in the Department of Communication, reported each of the winning entries. The categories and award-winning stories are “Migrants Expelled” (Hard News), “Border Wall Falls” (Investigative Reporting) and “Private Asia Graham” (Continuing Coverage).
Running into UTEP grads at the 2022 NABJ-NAHJ conference
UTEP alumni were representing a wide spectrum of media outlets at the joint conference of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists conference in Las Vegas in August. Here are some snapshots of Miners (and a few other El Pasoans) we ran across.
UTEP journalism student publishes with NPR’s Next Generation Radio project
Congratulations to to UTEP MMJ student Ariel Castillo for being selected to participate in NPR’s Next Generation Radio Texas project in September.
Castillo’s report shows us how San Elizario’s agriculture manager is trying to encourage residents to grow their own food using new techniques and one surprising desert-friendly plant.
2022 summer internships thanks to your support
Thanks to money raised during our annual end-of-year fundraising campaign, the Borderzine fund was able to help support three student summer internships for experience in professional newsrooms. The journalism program’s Annette Rainville scholarship was also awarded. Here are the four interns and where they worked:
- Ariel Castillo, Annette Rainville scholar, Texas Highway Magazine
- Eli Nunez, Borderzine scholarship, The Texas Observer
- Krista Rubio, Borderzine scholarship, KTEP
- Elizabeth Cervantes, Borderzine scholarship, El Paso Matters
Borderzine founder Zita Arocha’s memoir receives Inlandia Institute prize
Inlandia Institute announced the winner of its inaugural Eliud Martínez Prize to Zita Arocha for Guajira – the Cuba girl, a memoir. This annual prize is awarded to a first book author in fiction or creative nonfiction who identifies as Hispanic, Latino/a/x, or Chicana/o/x. Publication by Inlandia Books is set for 2024.
Arocha is a Cuban-American journalist, writer and educator who has reported on immigration and Latino issues for The Washington Post, Miami Herald and two afternoon dailies. She taught bilingual journalism for nearly 20 years at the University of Texas El Paso where she founded and directed the award-winning web magazine Borderzine about border issues and culture. See Award Story here.