Three El Paso sisters had a retail business plan – then they heard the music calling

Shortly after the Grajea sisters launched Whole Lota Denim, a boutique clothing shop in El Paso in 2021, they found their calling to pivot to live music promotion. Sisters Mia, Savannah, and Sierra Grajeda initially planned to sell hand-painted denim, vintage clothes and jewelry. To promote the opening of their store in a former warehouse on El Paso’s East Side, Whole Lota Denim threw a launch party with entertainment from their friends’ bands. More than 300 people attended. The buzz after the opening led to more bands asking to play at the shop.

Texas journalist, activist Jovita Idár honored on U.S. quarter

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Mint began circulating a quarter honoring Texas Mexican-American journalist Jovita Idár, on Aug. 14. It is the fourth coin in the 2023 American Women Quarters Program on August 14th. Jovita Idár, was a Mexican-American journalist, activist, teacher, and suffragist. She made it her mission to pursue civil rights for Mexican Americans and believed education was the foundation for a better future.

Brandy Ruiz, center, holds a sheet cake while another classmate pretends he is going to slap it out of her hands. Another classmate is watching and another is filming on a smart phone.

What I’ve learned from growing alongside social media

I created my very first instagram account at 12 years old, just two years after the app was launched. It was that same year that I also created a YouTube account where my middle school friends and I could post videos for the fun of it. After that, I created my Twitter account at 14. I don’t think I was trying to do anything with social media, let alone understand what a digital footprint was. But, a little over 10 years later, social media is now a big part of my career in media.

Para muchos, Amazon se escribe con A de adicción 

Por Óscar Márquez

Hoy en día hacer compras es mucho más accesible a través del internet. No hay necesidad de ir a la tienda en persona. Puedes comprar lo que necesitas en cualquier momento y desde cualquier lugar, ya sea a bordo del tren camino al trabajo o esperando por tu sandwich a la hora del almuerzo. Pero muchas veces terminamos gastando más dinero en cosas que realmente no necesitamos. Ese es mi caso.

Borderzine, KTEP News Director Angela Kocherga named to National Association of Hispanic Journalists Hall of Fame

The  National Association of Hispanic Journalists this week named Angela Kocherga who serves as news director for Borderzine and KTEP public radio as a 2023 Hall of Fame inductee. Also among the 2023 inductees is El Paso-based Alfredo Corchado, border correspondent with the Dallas Morning News and a distinguished UTEP graduate. NAHJ’s Hall of Fame honors those journalists whose efforts have resulted in a greater number of Latinos entering the journalism profession or have helped to improve news coverage of the nation’s Latino community. Kocherga is an Emmy winning multimedia journalist. At KTEP she reports in the field on border issues including migration, the border security buildup, binational health, and trade.

12 journalism professors travel to El Paso for the 2023 Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy

Twelve journalism instructors from U.S. Hispanic Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges are in the Borderland to the U.S-Mexico border region to participate in the 13th annual Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy June 2-8, 2023, at the University of Texas in El Paso. Thanks to a grant provided by the Dow Jones News Fund, Borderzine organizes this annual training program geared to support multimedia journalism instructors who teach in institutions with a large minority population. Here is a list of the 12 instructors who were chosen and their institutions:

Carlton Abernathy – Houston Community College
Dorothy Bland – University of North Texas
Mathew Eichner – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Jenn Erdley – Prairie View A&M
Cheryl Gardner – Fresno State University
Vera Walker-Hawkins – Texas Southern
Rachele Kanigel – San Francisco State University
Lance Liquez – University of Texas at Arlington
Vinicio Sinta Morales – University of Texas at Arlington
David Shabazz – Kentucky State University
Miglena Sternadori – Texas Tech University
Kathe Lehman Meyer – St. Mary’s University

The week-long multimedia journalism academy has a proven track record of helping journalism educators acquire new skills in digital storytelling that they can use to help prepare the next generation of Latino and Black college journalists for a competitive media market. The goal of this experience is to learn and practice news reporting using a variety of digital equipment, software programs, and platforms. Participating instructors are expected to translate this learning into training for their students, making them more competitive in the media industry.

El aumento de los costos de la carne causado por la inflación en los Estados Unidos ha afectado el precio del humilde taco

Por Lizeth Medina , Special to Borderzine

CHICAGO –  Este viernes se celebra Cinco de Mayo en los Estados Unidos, y los tacos serán bocaditos obligados. Con o sin celebración, el taco es uno de los platos favoritos, para latinos y no latinos por igual. Existe el Taco Tuesday, donde se ofrecen tacos a precios especiales, y cada 4 de octubre se celebra el Día Nacional del Taco. Dentro de la variedad de tacos existentes, la carne es uno de sus principales ingredientes. La inflación en el país ha provocado un incremento de precios en los insumos alimenticios y salir a comer fuera ha afectado el bolsillo de muchos.

UTEP theater connects with Borderland culture and landscape

The UTEP Theater Department fall production of Borderline, a play by El Pasoan Andrew Siañez De La O, staged a sci-fi story set in the old cotton fields of Socorro, Texas. Kim McKean, associate professor of theatre  and director of theatre programs at the University of Texas at El Paso said the local setting and culture play an important part in the story. So much so that she and the play’s set designer took a trip out to Socorro, in El Paso County’s Lower Valley, before drafting the set.  

“We went to the desert, to the place that Andrew, the playwright, was imagining for the play,” McKean said. She said the theatre department is always interested in representing local voices. “The department has committed to as much as possible, maybe in one show per season or one show every other season – telling a new play, a new story,” she said.

El Paso’s teacher shortages prove difficult to remedy two years after pandemic hit

Two years after the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020, teacher vacancies remain high in two of El Paso’s largest school districts. Between the fall of 2021 and 2022, Socorro Independent School District saw a 25 percent increase in vacancies. El Paso Independent School District saw a 10 percent increase in vacancies in the same period. As of October 2022, EPISD had 148 openings and SISD had 80 vacancies. This is on top of shortages among custodians, food service employees and bus drivers.

San Elizario experiments with cultivating low-water use gardens amid climate change

SAN ELIZARIO, Texas – This small border city in the Chihuahuan Desert is known for farming high water usage crops, like cotton and pecans, but the high heat and lack of rain from climate change is changing the traditional techniques of home gardeners.
Lorenzo Luevano was born and raised in San Elizario, and got his first taste of agriculture at a young age when his grandmother introduced him to gardening. Now in his late 20s, Luevano serves as the city’s agriculture manager, teaching residents in this low-income community how to grow their own fruits and vegetables in desert conditions.

Theater group brings Shakespeare to the people with neighborhood park festival

Madeline Park is a small neighborhood park in West El Paso near UT El Paso that is popular for its playground, basketball court  and old-time gazebo at its center. This fall, a UTEP theater professor was hoping it would also attract a crowd for a free festival with performances from a classic work of a not-so-modern playwright. https://soundcloud.com/borderzine-reporting-across-fronteras/2022-shakespeare-festival-in-madeline-park?si=b483695ba06e4c869ecd665ecb5bc2c9&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing

“I want it to be a magical introduction of theatre, to people, of Shakespeare to people who fundamentally go, ‘oh my gosh Shakespeare that sucks right?’ and they’re gonna come to this and they’re gonna go ‘that was really fun,'”  said Jay Stratton, an assistant professor of theater and dance at UTEP. Stratton says he took the idea of doing a family-friendly Shakespeare play in Madeline Park to El Paso’s Shakespeare on the Rocks organization, which has been putting on shows since the late 1980s.

‘Life-saving conversations,’ immersive learning, advance military training in suicide prevention

On a sunny spring morning, Air Force cadets gathered in a dimly lit auditorium at the University of Texas at El Paso to hear a 20-year Army officer with 11 combat tours talk about suicides in the military. Retired Lt. Col. J.C. Glick began his discussion, via Zoom, with a brief description of his military experience, mostly in special operations. What he said next stunned many of the cadets. “About 18 months after my 11th combat tour — was my first of four suicide attempts,” he said.

Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy for journalism professors returns to the Borderland

In early June, nine journalism professors gathered in El Paso to learn new multimedia storytelling skills while exploring life on the U.S., Mexico border. They came from Hispanic-serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to participate in the 2022 Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy hosted at the University of Texas at El Paso from June 4 to June 9.

The academy is a boot camp reporting project where participants learn and refresh their digital media skills as they produce real news stories about the El Paso community for Borderzine.com. Instructors bring these skills back to their classrooms across the country to help their students prepare for jobs in today’s media industry

Nonprofit food box service expands sustainable, organic options for households in El Paso and Southern New Mexico

For eight years the Desert Spoon Food Hub has been focused on making it easier to bring locally sourced organic food to family tables El Paso and Las Cruces. The nonprofit organization delivers weekly farm boxes with 100% organic produce that is grown by local farmers. “Our main purpose why we made this non-profit was to support local farmers and give the community access to healthy organic foods,” said Patsy Terrazas-Stallworth, Co-founder of Desert Food Spoon Hub. Terrazas-Stallworth and her daughters Adriana Clowe and Vanessa Brady started Desert Spoon Food Hub in 2014. The family-run nonprofit’s founders believe it’s crucial to recognize the range of food experiences from how it’s grown to how it gets to consumers’s kitchens and tables.

Border reopening brings some informal workers back from Mexico, while others decide the effort isn’t worth it

By Iván Gómez Cruz/La Verdad

CIUDAD JUAREZ – Although Lara has not been able to cross the border for her job cleaning houses for 20 months, the 45-year-old woman said she never lost contact with her El Paso employers. With Monday’s reopening of the U.S. border to non-essential travelers she said that “with God’s favor” she will return to work. Since 2018, Lara worked as a maid for three families in El Paso to help support her family. But in March 2020, the U.S. government closed the border due to the health crisis unleashed by COVID-19. Sometimes she crossed on foot and sometimes she got an acquaintance to take her by car, she said.

What you need to know about El Paso zoo’s limited reopening and pandemic safety protocols

Visitors to El Paso’s recently reopened zoo are getting to meet some new animals that settled in while the zoo was closed for the pandemic. “The cougars came in as cubs, two little bitty cubs. Now they are full grown cats,” said Zoo Director Joe Montisano. The popular destination for El Paso families reopened at 50 percent capacity in February. That’s 2,500 visitors a day.

A timeline of the pandemic in the Borderland

In the year since the pandemic’s arrival, thousands of people in both Ciudad Juárez and El Paso have died of COVID-19. Schools have shuttered. Businesses have struggled.

This timeline, produced as part of the Puente Media Collaborative, looks back at crucial moments in the past year.

The Asian Indian community finds a welcoming home in El Paso

by Maria Ramos Pacheco, El Paso Matters

Remove your shoes, open the door, ring the bell three times and walk toward the altar to pray. That’s what Hindu devotees do every time they enter the Southwest Hindu Temple on El Paso’s West Side. Colorful lights hang on the altar. India’s flag is on the right side and the U.S flag on the left. In the center of the temple is a brass tray “puja thali” with rice, turmeric, chandan and incense.

Supporting Borderland journalism students opens a world of opportunities

Borderzine note: Our publication is more than a website that covers life along the border. It is a training tool that gives aspiring journalists from El Paso and Ciudad Juarez a real newsroom experience in multimedia reporting. This month we are asking readers to help us in our mission by making a contribution on Borderzine’s behalf to NewsMatch. Thanks to NewsMatch and two other organizations that support diversity in news, every dollar donated before Dec. 31 will be tripled.

El Pasoans barred from New Mexico State Parks for the time being

New Mexico state officials have closed Elephant Butte Lake State Park to El Pasoans and other non-New Mexico residents because of the COVID-19 pandemic for the forseeable future, officials said. Only people with a New Mexico driver’s license are allowed in the state’s parks. El Pasoans who used to make the two-hour drive north on Interstate 25 north are disappointed with the state’s edict, enacted in mid-March. The order states only people with proof of New Mexico residency are allowed at Elephant Butte and other state parks, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Elephant Butte Lake State Park has been closed to non-state residents as per a public health order issued by the New Mexico Department of Health, said Susan Torres, public information officer at the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources department.

Innovating journalism education during a pandemic with a little help from our news network and donors

When COVID-19 first swept across the country this spring, news organizations began canceling internships for college students. That was devastating news for students at Hispanic-Serving Institutions like the University of Texas at El Paso who are trying to stand out in the media job market. Strong internships are needed for professional experience and important networking opportunities that can lead to better prospects at graduation. Fortunately, thanks to Borderzine’s dues-paying membership in the Institute for Nonprofit News, we were able to reach out to a wide network of digital media organizations around the country. The UTEP multimedia journalism program was able to place seven of our students in remote summer internships with INN members.