Paul Overberg, database editor at USA TODAY, leads a workshop on immigrants demographics and the U.S. Census. (Ángel Cancino/

Borderzine resources for immigration reporting

EL PASO – Professional and independent journalists from across the country joined the Robert McCormick Foundation and Borderzine for “Immigration from the Border to the Heartland,” a specialized reporting institute that taught journalists about technology, data, immigration research and law enforcement. During the SRI, professional journalists shared the tools they use while reporting their beat, academics presented their research and advocacy groups talked about how they work with the community. From the three-day workshop, Borderzine gathered the following resources that can assist journalists who wished to cover immigration in their communities.

Click on the image to enlarge. (Infographic by Nicole Chavez)

West Nile virus hits-all time record – Infographic

EL PASO – With less than two months before the year ends, national and local health authorities are still treating cases of people with West Nile virus mosquito bites. A record number of cases has been reported making 2012 the worst year in history since 2003, confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Texas leads outbreak with more than a third of the total cases reported in the country – 1,754 of 5,054, according to CDC. On a media briefing held by U.S. health officials in Houston in early September, David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services declared this year as the worst in the state of Texas for West Nile. In the Southwest, those identified with West Nile virus live in eight different zip code areas of El Paso county.

Daniel Centeno lanza un puñado de dardos agudos con sus Retratos Hablados

EL PASO – Entre risas y anécdotas Daniel Centeno presentó ante aficionados de la literatura su libro Retratos Hablados en la Universidad de Texas en El Paso (UTEP). Retratos Hablados es una recopilación de 50 entrevistas a personajes de la literatura y la música entre las que destacan las de los escritores Elena Poniatowska y Carlos Monsivais y los músicos Gustavo Cerati, Manu Chao y la difunta Chavela Vargas. En 444 páginas Centeno no sólo comparte las respuestas resultado de sus cuestionamientos, sino también revela detalles que solo pueden ser percibidos al conversar frente a frente. “Centeno abandona por momentos el oficio de cazador para volverse un pescador. Si no de almas, al menos de confesiones inconvenientes”, dijo Luis Arturo Ramos, profesor de creación literaria de UTEP, quien junto a Lourdes Cárdenas, editora del portal de noticias Somos Frontera, acompañaron a Centeno en la presentación de su más reciente libro.

Rosental Alves, direct of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, left, and mario Tedeschini-Lali, deputy director for innovation and development at Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso in Rome, present the international OJAs. (©Brandon Weight)

Borderzine’s Mexodus project recognized among Homicide Watch, ProPublica and as the best in online journalism

SAN FRANCISO – In a night full of online journalism superstars, Borderzine’s bilingual Mexodus project won the Online Journalism Award for Non-English Small/Medium projects at the ONA conference here September 22. Mario Tedeschini-Lali, deputy director for innovation and development at Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso in Rome, and Rosenthal Alves, director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at The University of Texas in Austin, presented the awards for Non-English projects. Alves declared Mexodus the winner by reading one of the judges’ comments – “It gives a broad and deep look at life and death issues and amazing collaborative efforts by student journalists and their teachers,” Alves said. For months, students and professors from universities across the U.S. and México requested public records, reported and created multimedia stories that exposed the journey of thousands of middle class families who fled Mexico to escape the violent drug war. The project was led by the University of Texas at El Paso.

Schuman Estates will have water access by the end of August. For Mayfair Nuway the construction will be complete in December. (Nicole Chavez/

Clean water is a prayer answered in El Paso’s colonias

EL PASO – After more than six years of negotiations with city, county and federal authorities around 300 families in two Canutillo colonias will have potable water running in their kitchens and bathrooms by the end of the year. Schuman Estates and Mayfair Nuway are two colonias located just outside city limits in Canutillo, a small town west of El Paso. Residents have used well-water for more than 20 years because officials did not know there was a lack of running water in the Westside colonias. The lack of clean, running water has even caused skin problems for some residents. Schuman Estates and Mayfair Nuway are only two of the more than 100 colonias in El Paso County.

(Raymundo Aguirre/

More Mexicans requesting asylum

The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Editor’s Note: Nicole Chavez, a UTEP multimedia journlaism major, is completing  an internship this summer with the Atlanta Journal Constitution. In the year since Georgia passed a law to discourage illegal immigration, the number of asylum applications filed by Mexicans in Atlanta’s immigration court has increased four-fold. A few applicants have personal experience of Mexico’s drug-fueled violence. Many others have not been touched by the bloodshed but are using it as grounds to argue that they should not be deported to Mexico – a novel legal strategy that seeks to alter existing law. And in some cases, immigrants’ attorneys may be filing asylum claims purely as a last-ditch delaying tactic.

(Lazaro Gamio/New York Institute)

Compensation for crime victims differs among Arizona counties

TUCSON, Ariz. – In Arizona, victims of violent crime have access to as much as $20,000 to help pay for funerals and other expenses. But officials and a report by Arizona State University assert that there’s a wide variation in how counties in the state disburse the money. The study, released in August by Bill Hart, a senior policy analyst at Arizona State University, called the crime victims compensation program “among Arizona’s best-kept secrets.”

According to the report, the total number of claims filed in Arizona by victims seeking compensation decreased 25 percent between 2002 and 2010. In the same period, the number of claims approved decreased 19.5 percent, to 1,238 from 1,538.

Juárez businesses fleeing violence open doors north of the border

EL PASO — Three years ago, Carlos Gallardo Baquier’s 14-year-old son was victim of a kidnapping attempt. Three armed men assaulted the boy just outside the garage of his house, but before they caught him he escaped. The event, however, prompted his family to flee Juárez, leaving behind their already successful catering business in the city. “It was traumatic for the entire family,” Gallardo Baquier said. “Even though it is more difficult to manage our business here because of the regulations, it is more important to be safe.”

For 20 years, Gallardo-Baquier, owner of Gastronómica de Juárez, ran the successful food service company for maquiladoras in Ciudad Juárez.

Mexodus – Unrelenting violence and lawlessness forces thousands of middle-class Mexicans to relocate seeking safety in the U.S. and in more peaceful regions in México

EL PASO – Once a vibrant border city of almost two million persons, Ciudad Juárez has become a shadow of its former self. The Mexican city was known for its flourishing maquiladora industry and thousands of mom-and-pop storefront shops, world-class restaurants and entertainment venues. In the last five years, more than 7,000 murders have occurred because of the violence generated by the Mexican government’s failed war against organized crime and drug cartels. The resulting battle between the government and the cartels and between drug cartels has provoked a spike of assassinations, extortions, kidnappings and other crimes that has forced an estimated 125,000 persons to flee to other regions of México and across the Rio Grande to El Paso and to other parts of the U.S. and, leaving behind shuttered businesses, empty houses and, in many cases, their family ties. Although the exodus to the U.S., which includes Mexicans with existing U.S. citizenship or permanent and temporary residency visas, has been difficult to quantify, a review of existing U.S. and Mexican government research data has shown that the impact has been significant.

UTEP loves Cesar Chavez

March 31 declared a ‘no classes’ day
EL PASO, Texas — After several letters of protest, a rally and march to the President’s Office and a Gold Nugget recipient returning his award, Cesar Chavez Day is back as a “no classes” day only for this year. At their monthly meeting Feb. 8, the Faculty Senate voted in favor of reinstating Cesar Chavez Day and Spring Study Day as holidays for students. Last November, the same entity removed both dates from the school’s calendar to meet a requirement by the state legislature that mandated them to choose 12 staff holidays per academic year. The reinstatement of the holiday was announced through an e-mail sent by the President’s Office, which included a statement from UTEP President Diana Natalicio.