Indigenous Mexicans survive pandemic by drawing on tradition in the absence of government action

By Jeffrey H. Cohen, The Ohio State University

While the coronavirus hammers Mexico, some Indigenous communities in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca are finding creative ways to cope. Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s poorest and most ethnically diverse states, is home to numerous Indigenous communities, including the Zapotec people. I have spent many years in the central valleys of Oaxaca conducting anthropological research in rural Zapotec villages, documenting the people’s lives, migration patterns and food culture. Oaxaca. TUBS/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY
Now, my summer research in Oaxaca canceled due to the pandemic, I am learning from afar how the Zapotec are confronting the coronavirus given such complicating factors as chronic poverty, inadequate health care, limited internet, language barriers and a lack of running water.

UTEP journalism student adapts to reporting from home

EL PASO – When health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic moved UT El Paso courses online in March, multimedia journalism major Exodis Ward wasn’t sure what to do for her next video story assignment. People were isolated at home. The city and school required social distancing protocols be followed. How could she cover a story without being in the same room as her sources? “It’s not very often that I draw a blank, so I pitched a very literal idea: How are reporters reporting from home?

POSTPONED – Applications open for 2020 multimedia training academy for Hispanic-Serving Institution college faculty and students

Due to safety concerns and travel limitations related to the coronavirus pandemic, the Dow Jones Multimedia Training Academy in El Paso is being postponed. We are considering options for later in the summer. The dates are still TBD as we monitor the situation. Borderzine is now accepting applications from college journalism instructors and students for full scholarships to attend its 11th annual Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy at the University of Texas at El Paso from May 29 to June 4. The workshop has trained more than 100 educators from Hispanic-serving institutions who brought back digital reporting skills to their classrooms. This year the program is expanding to include some college students as well as previous faculty participants who are interested in working on next-level skills.  In an effort to encourage more schools to cultivate students for the Dow Jones News Fund College Internship Program, previous Multimedia Training Academy attendees are welcome to apply if their institutions have had students accepted into the internship program.

Children of color already make up the majority of kids in many US states

By Rogelio Sáenz, The University of Texas at San Antonio and Dudley L. Poston, Jr., Texas A&M University

Demographers project that whites will become a minority in the U.S. in around 2045, dropping below 50% of the population. That’s a quarter-century from now – still a long way away, right? Not if you focus on children. White children right now are on the eve of becoming a numerical minority. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that, by the middle of 2020, nonwhites will account for the majority of the nation’s 74 million children.

Adding ratings on source reliability helps limit spread of misinformation

By Antino Kim, Indiana University; Alan R. Dennis, Indiana University; Patricia L. Moravec, University of Texas at Austin, and Randall K. Minas, University of Hawaii

Online misinformation has significant real-life consequences, such as measles outbreaks and encouraging racist mass murderers. Online misinformation can have political consequences as well. The problem of disinformation and propaganda misleading social media users was serious in 2016, continued unabated in 2018 and is expected to be even more severe in the coming 2020 election cycle in the U.S.

Most people think they can detect deception efforts online, but in our recent research, fewer than 20% of participants were actually able to correctly identify intentionally misleading content. The rest did no better than they would have if they flipped a coin to decide what was real and what wasn’t. 

Both psychological and neurological evidence shows that people are more likely to believe and pay attention to information that aligns with their political views – regardless of whether it’s true.

U.S.–Mexico border becomes multimedia journalism classroom for Cal State University students reporting from both sides

By Julio J. Bermejo
Dominic Torres wasn’t getting what he needed from the interview, and he knew it. Torres, a senior majoring in journalism at California State University, Fullerton, in Southern California, was on the outskirts of Tijuana, Baja California, in November at a residential shelter for child victims of sexual exploitation. He was there to interview “Lucy” (a pseudonym), a 21-year-old survivor of a childhood of abuse at the hands of her father. Her story was to be a central element of the multimedia news package on child sexual exploitation in the U.S.–Mexico border region Torres was assembling as part of his work in the university’s new course, “Specialized Reporting on Minorities of the Southern Border.” 

See the stories: California State University Fullerton Reports From The Border
Yet, even though Lucy had agreed to the interview through the shelter director, who sat translating between her and Torres, who did not speak Spanish; even though the camera was trained only on her hands; and even with the promised use of the pseudonym and an offer to alter her voice in the footage, Lucy was reluctant to offer any details of her story. Torres slowly switched off the camera and hung his head in thought.

New Latinx generation embraces the code-switching identity once derided as ‘pocho’

EL PASO –For some young borderlanders, pocho is a word that unites two cultures. “El Paso and Juarez is its own culture. We are neither entirely American and we are neither entirely Mexican so pochismo would be somewhat some of our language,” said Antonio Villaseñor, 23, a University of Texas graduate student and editor of the online magazine Con Safos. With outlets like Buzzfeed and we are mitú featuring videos on Youtube describing the experience of being a pocho in the United States and new clothing lines like the L.A-based Pocho wear, the term is being embraced by a new generation of Mexican-Americans. “I see it as something positive.

Organización en Ciudad Juarez promueve el servicio a la comunidad a travez de experiencias internacionales

Cithlaly Bernal,21, ha vivido en Ciudad Juárez toda su vida, sin embargo, fue hasta después de su viaje a Costa Rica, donde trabajo con niños Nicaragüenses indocumentados, que comprendió la situación de los migrantes. “Aquí hablamos mucho de los migrantes Mexicanos que se van a Estados Unidos, pero yo pude ver este problema en otro país. Me impacto ver cómo a la gente se le hace tan fácil discriminar a otros porque los ve como inferiores” dijo Bernal. Bernal forma parte de La Asociación Internacional de Estudiantes de Ciencias Económicas y Comerciales (AIESEC), una organización no gubernamental, que busca promover el liderazgo en los jóvenes de entre 18 y 29 años de edad a través del desarrollo personal y las experiencias internacionales. Ciudad Juárez cuenta con un comité local de AIESEC desde el año 2000.

Border-based PolicyHack uses solutions approach to tackle complex problems

SANTA TERESA — Many things can be hacked, computers, smartphones, game consoles, and that usually creates problems but a recent hackathon focused on solutions. This hackathon doesn’t hack technology, but it hacks policies, which is what gives this event its name: PolicyHack. “I thought it was one of the best policy hacks we’ve ever done,” said Cris Turner, head of government affairs for the Americas at Dell and a judge for PolicyHack. Dell Inc. organizes policy hacks at sites around the world to bring together government officials, entrepreneurs, business and non-profit leaders, venture capitalists and students. The border event included people from both the U.S. and Mexico and three states, Texas, New Mexico, Chihuahua.

Sports mascots spark vehement arguments on both sides

The appropriation of Native American symbols as sports mascots is a divisive topic as sports fans enthusiastically support their teams, and others want the mascots replaced, a scholar on the topic said recently. For example, some Cleveland Indians fans embrace Chief Wahoo, the team’s mascot, and fight vehemently to keep their beloved emblem, said Wayne State University Associate Professor Kelly Young said during a recent presentation. Young emphasized his love for sports and how his time in Cleveland helped add to his research. “When I was there it was sort of the ground zero of anti-Chief Wahoo protest going on there,” Young said. For rabid fans, such symbols, are not seen as racist but as symbols of remembrances when they went to games with loved ones.

Lost in Translation: How Irish-Americans transformed the sacred legacy of St. Patrick’s Day into a drinking festival

James Farrelly, University of Dayton

In 1997, my students and I traveled to Croagh Patrick, a mountain in County Mayo, as part of a study abroad program course on Irish literature I was teaching for the University of Dayton. I wanted my students to visit the place where, each July, thousands of pilgrims pay homage to St. Patrick, who, according to lore, fasted and prayed on the summit for 40 days. While there, our tour guide relayed the story of how St. Patrick, as he lay on his death bed on March 17 in A.D. 461, supposedly asked those gathered around him to toast his heavenly journey with a “wee drop of whiskey” to ease their pain.

This artist is asking how border residents think about air, water, land

Zeke Peña, an illustrator and cartoonist has spent most of his work as an artist living on “la frontera,” the border, reflecting the reality and issues faced by Chicano and Mexican-American generations. “I think about how the border identity is binary. It isn’t about this side or that side, it’s way more complicated. But that’s the beauty of it,” he says. Sitting in battered, squeaky wood chair in front of a drafting table that displays his work in his studio, the 35-year-old Peña looks the part of a committed artist with his black-rimmed glasses and his shoulder-length dark curly hair and black ball cap.

Es importante reconocer la diversidad entre identidades Latinas cuando se celebra la herencia hispana

Existen diferentes términos que identifican a la comunidad hispana aquí en los Estados Unidos, términos que dictan un margen entre personas de diferentes ascendencias. El hecho de que se conmemora la herencia hispana hace que salgan a flote todas esas identidades. Expertos en el tema interpretan que hace falta un sentido de unidad entre la comunidad hispana en este país, ya que no se sostienen precisamente las mejores relaciones entre ellas.  

“Yo creo que nos falta mucha unidad….Existen relaciones como de amor/odio entre los mexicanos y mexicoamericanos, en este caso. Lo mismo sucede con mexicanos y puertorriqueños, colombianos y salvadoreños, con toda esta gama de latinoamericanos que habitamos en este país”, dijo María Socorro Tabuenca, profesora de español y de estudios chicanos en la Universidad de Texas en El Paso.

UTEP’s Borderzine wins prestigious national journalism grant for bi-national media project to tell real story of the borderlands

EL PASO – Borderzine – the University of Texas at El Paso’s award-winning web magazine – received a $35,000 grant from the Online News Association to fund a binational journalism multimedia project between the communities of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. Students from UTEP, El Paso Community College and the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juarez will work together on the project called “Engaging Community Across Borders Through Media.”

“It’s an ambitious project to engage border residents from the U.S. and Mexico sides to better relate to the rest of the world the reality of the border minus the usual stereotypes,” said Zita Arocha, professor of practice at UTEP and director of Borderzine. Local media from both sides of the border also will participate in the project with the goal of helping communities identify solutions to common binational issues such as immigration, transportation, environmental challenges, socio-economic development and health and medical needs, Arocha said. Key media partners include KTEP, El Diario de El Paso, El Paso Times, El Paso Inc., Ser Empresario, KVIA, Univision, Telemundo and KFOX. More than a dozen students from UTEP, EPCC and UACJ will work as a team to produce multilingual content about the borderlands – from podcasts to video stories to an e-book designed to dispel common myths about the region, Arocha said.

Borderzine among 150 newsrooms in national fundraising campaign supporting quality journalism

Washington, D.C. – The Borderzine Reporting Across Fronteras project at UT El Paso is among more than 150 nonprofit newsrooms across the country that will participate in this year’s NewsMatch, the largest grassroots fundraising campaign to support nonprofit news organizations. The national call-to-action will launch on Nov. 1, 2018. In 2017 NewsMatch helped to raise more than $4.8 million from individual donors and a coalition of private funders. This year the number of nonprofit news organizations participating has jumped by more than 40 percent.

Twenty two percent of Latino journalists say they are considering leaving the journalism profession, national survey shows

Miami – July 18, 2018 – Latino journalists are dissatisfied with their current salaries, limited options to increase them and a lack of opportunities for training and promotion in the nation’s newsrooms, according to a study conducted by University of Texas at El Paso researchers and NAHJ. As a result, 22 percent of the respondents said they are considering leaving the journalism profession because of their dissatisfaction, the survey showed. While more than 40 percent of the respondents said they intend to remain in the profession, another 32 percent are not sure. “The results reinforce our suspicion that Latino journalists are frustrated and stymied by the lack of opportunities for professional growth,” said Zita Arocha, one of the authors of the study and an associate professor of practice at the University of Texas at El Paso. “It’s alarming that so many say they plan to leave the profession in five years when the industry is in dire need of more Latinos in leadership and editorial positions to ensure proper coverage of Hispanic issues, especially politics and immigration.”

Related: Remarks on Latino journalist survey to NAHJ board of directors

NAHJ President Brandon Benavides said he’s concerned many Latino journalists aren’t sure if they will continue in the profession over the long haul, and are not satisfied with promotion and leadership opportunities in their workplaces.

What is life really like in a Texas border city?

Life in a border city can be like a relationship status on social media. It’s complicated. More than 1 million people live in the El Paso-southern New Mexico region. Another 1.3 million live across the border in Juarez, Mexico. We are separated by an international boundary set along the path of a formerly meandering river.

UTEP’s 1st Social Justice Pioneer Award honors leaders in Positive Deviance movement

EL PASO -When Monique and Jerry Sternin took on the challenge in 1990 of reducing childhood malnutrition in rural Vietnam, they didn’t show up with their own notions of what should be done. Instead, the Save the Children workers went in search of the “deviants,” the families where children were thriving despite having the same resources as those whose children were undernourished.  

The couple was applying the concept of “Positive Deviance,” which initially appeared in nutrition research literature in the 1960s, according to positivedeviance.org. They observed the families that had healthy children and then led these mothers to pass their methods on to the rest of the families, and within two years reported a dramatic reduction in malnourishment. “We had met ordinary people who had been more successful than others.

How to talk about sexual assault and harassment on campus

EL PASO – While women in the entertainment industry are raising the profile of the Times Up movement against sexual harassment, UTEP’s Student Engagement and Leadership Center is hoping to keep people on campus talking about the issue. “We wanted to bring Times Up here locally to start that conversation and let students know that they can be a part of this too,” said Campus Engagement Coordinator Mallory Garcia. The campus conversation started in January with a Times Up reception and exhibit in the Union East gallery. Justin Tompkins, case manager for UTEP’s new Center for Advocacy Resources and Education said the biggest thing he hoped student took away from the event was awareness. “And most importantly educate, start those conversations, be aware, serve as an advocate for others, and help others understand that this issue is wrong,” he said.

Angela Davis provides an influential voice to the borderland

When Angela Davis recently spoke at the University of Texas at El Paso, she opened with a statement that was timely and meaningful for this border community. “No human is illegal,” she said. The crowd responded with a big round of applause. Chicano Studies Professor Irma Montelongo said it was an important show of solidarity by Davis, an iconic black rights activist, with El Paso’s largely Hispanic community. “We’re all in a big struggle right now and unless we can come together across metaphorical boundaries then the struggle is that much harder.

Natassia Paloma feeling at home in return to El Paso to anchor KTSM newscast

After a broadening of horizons tour around Texas, the newest primetime anchor at NewsChannel 9 was ready to come home. Natassia Paloma, 30, is an El Paso native and a UTEP graduate who returned to her hometown to introduce her son Nathan to her biggest inspiration, her grandmother Palmira. “I definitely want him to be raised in the way I was raised. I was raised very humble and raised to be aware of people are going through,” Paloma said. “To really feel with your heart so I want my son to be raised in this culture and I want him to be bilingual and I want to raise him around the people in here.“

Palmira was instrumental in Paloma’s path to become a journalist.

U.S. soldiers remember Afghanistan’s hospitality

The 16-year-old war in Afghanistan is the longest in U.S. history. More than 2 million soldiers have gone to the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 with a great many of them deploying more than once. The contrast between life in the U.S. and in Afghanistan can be stark, but soldiers have learned to appreciate some of the experience with a culture steeped in ancient traditions.  

First Sgt. Jessica Cho was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012.

La muestra gráfica “No Literal” en el Instituto Cervantes de Chicago cuestiona el incorrecto uso del idioma español

Por Rocío Villaseñor

El lenguaje español se ha convertido en el segundo idioma más usado en los Estados Unidos. De acuerdo a un reporte del Centro de Investigación Pew de setiembre del 2017, “la población latina ha casi llegado a 58 millones en 2016” en los Estados Unidos y más de 37 millones hablan español. Sin embargo, no todos los hispanoparlantes lo hablan o lo escriben correctamente, y los medios de comunicación no han ayudado a mejorar esta situación pues no respetan los acentos, y muchos no utilizan la tilde sobre las eñes. La exposición grafica ‘No Literal’ del periodista y diseñador peruano Elio Leturia trata de ejemplificar la situación a través de 12 afiches. Esta variedad de composiciones artísticas muestran diferentes casos, entre ellos, de traducción incorrecta de inglés al español. Un ejemplo es ‘María está embarazada’, al tratar de traducir “María is embarrassed” cuando lo que debería decir correctamente es ‘María está avergonzada’. 

Otro error común por los medios es ignorar agregar la ~ sobre la n. El idioma español tiene 27 letras, mientras el inglés 26.

Mexicano, Chicano, or Pocho. Who am I?

I didn’t start to question my identity until my first year of college. Before that I thought I was an American citizen attending kindergarten in Ciudad Juarez. Then in third grade I realized that I was Mexican when I crossed the border to attend Houston Elementary School in El Paso. The first day of school a classmate asked me in Spanish – not English – why I was wearing black polished shoes. I remember I looked around and saw that all the other boys and girls were wearing sporty tennis shoes.

Working hard for the money, El Paso drag queens enjoy creative outlet

Putting layers of Elmer’s glue on his eyebrows is the first step in creating a perfect look. Alexander Wright, who goes by the stage name Rumor, will spend most of his Saturday planning the perfect drag performance. Five hours of the day will be dedicated to applying make-up, and the rest will go toward selecting a variety of dresses and songs for the night’s performance. “Drag is an artistry, you get to create different concepts and test your creativity,” said Wright, who has been doing drag for a year and is currently the reigning Sun City Miss Pride. “Applying makeup is like an oil painting from afar it looks great and cute, but when you get close, you can see all the railroad tracks.”

His first performance was at a local benefit show at Touch Bar and Nightclub in East El Paso.

El Paso news anchor Estela Casas shares her breast cancer battle

Estela Casas announced Sept. 14 she had just joined a group every woman dreads. The local celebrity and KVIA-TV news anchor has breast cancer, and announced it to her viewers to call attention to the disease. Casas has been part of El Paso’s viewership for 35 years and through her long career she has become a respected and admired personality, far more than a news anchor. This is not the first time that Casas has shared news about her medical experiences and procedures with the public.

National Press Club shocked to see acclaimed Mexican journalist who sought asylum from death threats facing deportation in Texas

EL PASO, Texas – While many people prepare to celebrate the holidays, Mexican journalist Emilio Gutierrez Soto remains in an immigration detention cell after seeking asylum because he fears he’d be killed if he returned to his native Mexico. Gutierrez Soto, honored for his courageous reporting by the Washington, D.C. –based National Press Club and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, sits in a U.S. Citizenship and Immigraton Services (USGIS) cell in El Paso awaiting his fate. He was detained Dec. 7 when an immigration judge determined he would be deported. “I can’t explain with words how shocking it is to see someone who has been honored in Washington and then the next time we see him he is in prison clothes,” said William McCarren, executive director of the National Press Club, a non-profit organization that represents more than 3,100 journalists worldwide.

How a foreign student taught me not to feel like an outsider in my own city

I don’t consider myself a social person, especially while I’m in college. I get too focused on school work, and usually meet new people if they are the first ones to come up and talk to me. I was also was self-conscious about people judging me for my English skills. Even though I was born in El Paso, I lived in Juarez, Mexico until fifth grade. And like a lot of others who live on the border, I sometimes felt like I was in an awkward limbo between cultures.