to offer immigration reporting classes at IRE San Francisco

Four experienced immigration journalists will provide a series of training workshops on mining and visualizing data for effective immigration storytelling at the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in San Francisco Saturday, June 27. The four workshops will teach journalists how to mine immigration data and research for compelling immigration stories and provide hands-on instruction on using open source software to create visualizations for data driven immigration reporting. The workshops will be held at the Marriot Marquis in San Francisco and led by veteran immigration journalist Lise Olsen of the Houston Chronicle, AP reporter Martha Mendoza and data expert Claudia Nuñez of Los Angeles. Borderzine Director Zita Arocha will provide an introduction to multimedia storytelling about immigration and how to use U.S. Census data to report on diversity within local communities. The conference also features additional workshops on immigration, human rights and U.S. demographics by journalists Alfredo Corchado, author of “Midnight in Mexico,” Bob Ortega, Cindy Carcamo, Ana Arana, Bernice Yeung, Vanessa Hua, and others.

Poet Leslie Ullman to share her Progress on the Subject of Immensity in UTEP reading

EL PASO — In a casita lined with windows looking out over the high desert landscape of Taos, New Mexico, eyes filled with space and light, poet Leslie Ullman’s mind cleared. “I found myself sketching out poems that questioned the sovereignty of the mind, sometimes making fun of it, sometimes sympathizing with its limitations and treadmill existence, and often turning it into a character.”

These verses of clarity found themselves collected in Ullman’s latest book, Progress on the Subject of Immensity, probing inner and outer spaces, questioning conventional notions of “knowledge.”

Ullman is scheduled to read from her new book at UTEP’s Rubin Center Thursday, April 24 at 7 p.m.  She is professor emerita of creative writing at the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP) and currently teaches at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Ullman says that content with not finding answers, the poems instead linger, with calm alertness, in the realm of speculation. “This spirit of inquiry nudged subsequent poems into larger questions—an exploration of spaces inside us as well as outside us: the rhythms of seasons, the earth suspended in its matrix of space, the life of the body, the limitations of conventional Western religion, the nature of desire, and the pleasures—often the sensuous pleasures—of inquiry itself.”

As she wrote, she considered how “…in our youth we are naturally inclined to drive forward with all the powers of mind and body that we can muster—something that we continue to do as we build lives, families, and careers.” But she recognized that at some point, ambition—that willed effort—ceases to work. Ullman is the author of three poetry collections and her poems, reviews and craft essays have been published in a number of magazines and literary journals.

Dr. Allison Brownell Tirres, assistant professor at DePaul University College of Laws, addressed a crowd of students, local activists, concerned citizens and professionals as part of the University of Texas at El Paso Centennial Lecture series. (Héctor Bernal/

The past is prologue for U.S. comprehensive immigration reform

EL PASO  – Immigration policies from the past must be studied in order to reform them for the future was the premise of a lecture by Dr. Allison Brownell Tirres on the topic of deportation, a subject that is as crucial as it is complex for residents of the borderland. “I want to try and put these stories in an historical context and I also want to suggest how the past may help us rethink the future,” Tirres said. Tirres, an assistant professor at DePaul University College of Laws, addressed a crowd of students, local activists, concerned citizens, and professionals as part of the University of Texas at El Paso Centennial Lecture series. While guiding the audience through a century of immigration law, Tirres brought up many legal turning points including the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act along and the Magnuson Act also known as the Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act of 1943. Tirres demonstrated the relationship between those laws and the current severity of enforcement of U.S. immigration practices.

Borderzine seeks to redesign website

RFP: Request for proposal
Request for a web designer and developer to redesign the Borderzine website. Borderzine is a bilingual online magazine cultivating student journalists in multimedia reporting. The magazine is housed at the University of Texas at El Paso and it publishes stories about borders by student journalists and media professionals. The current site has been around for several years now and our team believes it is time for the site to get a fresher look that reflects the changes in news media offerings and audiences’ needs, and exploits the Web’s new interactive tools. The work on the new design will include work on branding, look and feel, and functionality of the website according to specifications (see below).

Borderzine's city editor, Nicole Chávez, will receive the Student of the Year award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

UTEP student journalist wins top NAHJ honor

UTEP Multimedia journalism major Nicole Chavez has won the student of the year award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. A resident of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, she joins four other national journalists this weekend at a ceremony in Chicago to announce the annual NAHJ Journalist of the Year award winners. “It’s the perfect ending of a student journalist career and a great starting point for what I am about to become: a young professional,” said Chavez who was born in El Paso and raised in Ciudad Juarez. Chavez, who plans to graduate in December, is city editor this semester for UTEP’s online news site and has completed internships at The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Brownsville Herald, and El Tiempo Latino, among others. She has been a reporter and editor for The Prospector and Minero Magazine at UTEP, and was one of the student reporters who worked on the award-winning Mexodus project that detailed the exodus to the U.S. and safer parts of Mexico of middle class Mexicans fleeing drug-related violence in their country.

The McCormick Specialized Reporting Institute will be heald in El Paso on September 26-29.

U.S. journalists selected for September immigration reporting workshop at UTEP

EL PASO – has selected a diverse group of 17 online, print, broadcast and Spanish-media journalists to attend the McCormick Specialized Reporting Institute on Immigration on the UTEP campus September 26-29. Chosen from a diverse pool of 76 applicants from throughout the United States, those selected include freelance journalists and represent a good mix of geographic and ethnic diversity. Three UTEP student journalists will also receive scholarships to attend the workshop. During the three-day training the journalists will learn how to mine data and access other research to develop compelling and in-depth stories about immigration in their local communities. They will also learn about immigration policy and legislation from national experts, tour the border fence, learn how border journalists cover the issue and participate in a town hall meeting with local immigrant community leaders at Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe in the predominately immigrant Segundo Barrio community of El Paso.

Knight Poverty Journalism Initiative Story Awards – Deadline extended to October 26

Who: Open to journalists of all kinds—salaried, freelance, semi-pro. What: Three $500 awards for journalists to report, write and publish a print, video, audio or multimedia story about poverty in America. When: Deadline for developed story proposals is October 26, 2012 . Where: Email your story proposal to Joan Millon ( with “Poverty Story Awards” in the subject line. Proposals should include the following:

• Description of your story up to 500 words
• Story lead or premise and why your story is important NOW
• Data sources, main characters and additional sources
• Main medium (print, broadcast, online)
• If primarily text or broadcast, do you plan to include a multimedia component (video, audio, photo, graphics) and how will that enhance the story?

border patrol agent

Security gains in the border region seem tenuous at best according to a study by the Woodrow Wilson Center

WASHINGTON – Concerns about global terrorism, potential threats posed by those entering the United States illegally, and fears that skyrocketing violence in Mexico might spillover into the United States have led to dramatic policy shifts and significant efforts to secure the border. Yet gains in areas such as apprehensions of undocumented migrants and reductions in violence in key cities such as Ciudad Juarez seem tenuous at best and beg for more comprehensive, creative and collaborative solutions between these two countries, according to a report released by the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute. The U.S. and Mexican federal governments have made large investments in staffing, infrastructure and technology and have reorganized and refocused efforts to respond to specific threats and events according to the report by Eric L. Olson and Erik Lee, entitled The State of Security in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region. 

The working paper, which explores these challenges and some potential solutions, will be published in this fall as a chapter in the forthcoming State of the Border Report, which seeks to provide a comprehensive yet accessible look at the state of affairs in border management and the border region. The study will focus on four core areas: trade and economic development, security, sustainability, and quality of life. The State of the Border Report is an initiative of the Border Research Partnership, which is comprised of the, Arizona State University’s North American Center for Transborder Studies, and el Colegio de la Frontera Norte.


NPR to launch initiative on race, ethnicity and culture with $1.5 million grant from Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Six-person news team forming this fall; will develop distinctive voice and lead conversations on-air, online

By Anna Christopher

Las Vegas, N.V. – Today at the UNITY 2012 Convention, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) announced it will award NPR a $1.5 million grant to launch a major journalism initiative to deepen coverage of race, ethnicity and culture, and to capture the issues that define an increasingly diverse America. With this expansive effort, NPR will produce compelling stories and present new voices and conversations online and on-air, staffed by a six-person team. “This new team and defined area of coverage will empower NPR to cover news and issues across the U.S. more fully, delivering on our promise for NPR to look and sound like America,” said Gary E. Knell, President and CEO of NPR. “CPB’s forward-thinking commitment to diversity challenges public media to do more, and to do better, and we accept that challenge wholeheartedly.”

Once assembled, this team of six journalists will deliver a steady flow of distinctive coverage on every platform. Reporting will magnify the range of existing efforts across NPR and its Member Stations to cover and discuss race, ethnicity and culture.

Borderzine Director Zita Arocha and Knight Eric Newton, senior adviser to the President at the Knight Foundation, at the Knight offices in Miami. (David Smith-Soto/

Journalism education reform: How far should it go?

Editor’s note – Eric Newton, senior adviser to the President at Knight Foundation, gave this speech as the keynote address May 11, 2012 at a national conference of journalism educators, “Journalism Education in the Digital Age,” at Middle Tennessee State University. In 2005, two of America’s largest foundations created the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education. This was before Facebook got big. Before Twitter, Instagram, Groupon or Pinterest. Before the iPhone or the iPad.