Guns and showmanship – Seeing a Texas GOP debate watch party through the eyes of a study-abroad student

EL PASO, Texas – CNN reported that more than 80 million people tuned in to watch the Clinton-Trump debate on September 26, making it the most-watched presidential debate in history. It will also remain a day which will live long in my memory as my first real taste of a U.S. presidential debate watch. When I first arrived at the El Paso County Republican Party offices I was greeted with a man carrying a 12 gauge shotgun and a .44. Magnum marching Hilary Clinton around the offices. No, not the real Hillary, a masked version of the candidate.

Why crowdfunding a data journalism lab in El Paso is so important

Since 2008, has told the stories of the people and culture of the Borderlands reported by multimedia student journalists at UT El Paso. In 2012, Borderzine was honored by the Online News Association for Mexodus, an unprecedented bilingual special project that documented the flight of people and businesses from Mexico during the peak of drug cartel violence. Now, Borderzine is partnering with professional newsrooms in El Paso, Las Cruces and Juarez to develop a Border Data Journalism Lab to be based at UT El Paso to build local expertise in using digital tools to examine the systems and policies affecting our region

As more and bigger data are being collected by governments and organizations it is increasingly important for journalists to be able to obtain, clean, analyze and present information in this digital world. And, in our location on the U.S.-Mexico border, data journalism can be a powerful tool in telling the stories of the border and a changing America. For example, data journalists could examine issues in health care access and the impact of chronic illnesses on the border to better identify challenges and potential solutions in health disparities between Latinos and other populations.

I am not a “coconut” and proud of my Mexican American heritage

Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of first person essays about identity written by UTEP honors students during the spring 2013 semester. EL PASO – All my life I have had problems with identity. I identified as a Mexican-American, but was always wondering what makes me Mexican-American. Is it because I am dark-skinned, or because I eat Mexican food? What constitutes Mexican food anyway – Taco Bell or Chico’s Taco’s?

(Raymundo Aguirre/

UTEP and El Paso provide the perfect crucible for a new kind of journalism in Borderzine

EL PASO – As the traditional delivery of news by newspapers and television stations weakened during the past decade, swept aside by the Internet and the Great Recession, a new medium driven by the college journalism classroom has gained strength in local news coverage. Our Internet magazine,, published by the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) as the keystone of its journalism curriculum is a good example of this new media concept that marries journalism training, local coverage, and funding from nonprofit organizations. The transfer of some traditional revenue sources to Internet media has forced some “old” media to cut staffs and curtail coverage. Some were forced into bankruptcy. While my alma mater, The Miami Herald is still in business, its publisher has announced that the majestic Herald building on Biscayne Bay was sold to a Malaysian resort developer and the newspaper will have to move out.