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.

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.

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.

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.

Latino journalists, please tell us how its going for you at work

 The world of journalism is changing – morphing into something not anticipated just a few short years ago. 
 With those changes, the workplace has evolved into something entirely different from what we used to know and opportunities for advancement also might have changed. 
 So, how’s it going? Have the changes been good to you, your career? Are you better off now than you were before the digital revolution? Are you still getting the job satisfaction and opportunities you received prior to the industry’s evolution to a more digital platform? 
 We’d like to know – anonymously, of course. We are polling members of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and other Latino journalists to find out. 
 Two researchers at the University of Texas at El Paso, professors Maria de los Angeles Flores and Zita Arocha, are conducting a survey among Latino journalists to determine how the changes have affected opportunities and job satisfaction. 
 Researchers will continue to collect data through the end of December and the results of the survey will be presented at the NAHJ 2018 conference in Miami. 
 “It is essential to identify the obstacles that Latino journalists face daily to generate dialog within their respective organizations on effective approaches to better train, retain and promote journalists of color,” Flores said.    
 The results will be forward to media leaders and media organizations after they are presented in Miami. 
 The survey will improve the organization’s ability to “comprehend, assess and map the frontier of the industry for journalists at any level in their career,” said NAHJ President Brandon Benavides.

NAHJ and UTEP launch national survey of Latinos working in English- and Spanish-language news media

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists and University of Texas at El Paso researchers today are launching a national survey of Latino journalists to determine the level of job satisfaction, prospects for career development and advancement, and current working conditions amid the rapid transformation of the nation’s new media. The survey is available online at http://www.utep.edu/liberalarts/evaluating-job-satisfaction-of-latino-journalists-in-multimedia-newsrooms/

Researchers will continue to collect data through the end of December and the results of the comprehensive online survey will be presented at the NAHJ 2018 conference in Miami next summer. “We seek participation by all Latino journalists working in news media – English and Spanish, legacy and digital media,’ said UTEP professor Dr. Maria de los Angeles Flores, co-author of the study with Latino media expert Dr. Federico Subervi, and support from Zita Arocha, director of Borderzine.com at UTEP. “It is essential to identify the obstacles that Latino journalists face daily to generate dialog within their respective organizations on effective approaches to better train, retain and promote journalists of color,” Flores added. NAHJ President Brandon Benavides said the survey will improve the organization’s ability to “comprehend, assess and map the frontier of the industry for journalists at any level in their career.”

“We have made a commitment to better equip our members with tools and resources helping them to stay ahead of the curve and to do so begins with possessing a certain basis of knowledge,” he said.