Media Report

The Society of Professional Journalists has issued a letter to several U.S. and Mexican officials demanding stronger measures to ensure the safety of journalists in Mexico. Since 2000, 59 have been killed in that country. The drug wars there claimed 2,600 lives in 2009, by official estimates. SPJ president Kevin Smith and its international committee chairwoman Ronnie Lovler wrote to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States Arturo Casamitjana, and other officials, noting that as the violence increases, so does fear-motivated self-censorship. Editors and reporters from newspapers in Nuevo Laredo and Cuidad Juárez informed SPJ that they no longer publish articles “beyond what’s on the police reports.”

The complete letter and an accompanying news release can be found on SPJ’s website:

Reporters’ Lives — and Deaths — on the Mexican Border

EL PASO, Texas — With the constant violence in Mexico has come an increase in reporting about the ongoing drug war in Ciudad Juárez, the neighboring metropolis across the border. In 2009, more than 2,600 people were killed there. El Paso Times Editor, Chris López, has dedicated himself to following the turmoil ever since he joined the paper in 2009. “This is one of the most dynamic stories on the border — and in the country,” he insists. El Diario de El Paso, the sole Spanish-language newspaper here, also sees the importance of reporting on it because readers often have direct ties to Juárez and other parts of Mexico.

Get an internship!

EL PASO — I know I must sound like an overbearing parent every time I provide this career advice to students. Then I repeat the internship mantra and launch into my usual spiel: Don’t just get one —complete two or three before you graduate, ideally one where you live and another outside the area. Successful internships place you at the top of the prospect list when a job recruiter reviews your resume.  You learn to work in a professional setting in your career field.  You gain experience solving issues and conflicts that may arise in the workplace. You produce quality work, from writing a press release, to helping produce a news package or promoting a big event.

Life and Perils of an Aspiring Journalist on the Border

EL PASO — As a journalism student, I don’t think I’ve ever been so humiliated as I was the other day as I was taking some video and a few photos of vehicles and people crossing over the International Bridge of the United States. In the end of October (2009), I was on the verge of completing a story for a news editing class as an assignment. In order to turn it in I needed about two minutes worth of footage mainly of the International Bridge, and to think about it, the article that I was writing had nothing to do with terrorism, Border Patrol, or even drug cartels. The story I was covering was simply about students who cross the bridge every morning to attend the University of Texas at El Paso. Anyhow, back to the morning as I like to call it “the attack accompanied with humiliation”, I walked up to where people in the US pay a few cents to walk over the bridge to Mexico.

AL DIA Foundation Presents Awards for Excellence in Journalism Covering Latino Issues

The AL DIA Foundation is calling for entries to its annual National Award for Excellence in American Journalism on Latino Issues. Two $10,000 awards will presented for the best examples of Spanish-Language Print Journalism and Spanish or English-Language Digital Journalism produced on American Latino issues during 2009 across the 50 states. According to the Félix Varela Award website, the purpose of the awards is to recognize any American journalist covering with excellence Latino issues in the nation today, either through Spanish-language Print, or any digital media outlet, in English or Spanish. The prizes are presented by the AL DIA Foundation, chaired by Hernán Guaracao, former president of the National Association of Hispanic Publications in the US, and founder, editor and publisher of AL DIA, a print and web-based news media organization with main offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There is no entry fee and the deadline is January 31st, 2010, for work done during the calendar year ending December 31st, 2009.

Borders Are What You Make Them to Be

EL PASO — A year ago I was told I couldn’t get an internship because I was too young. I was a freshman at the University of Texas at El Paso, and interns should be junior or upcoming seniors. That day I made a decision that my age, or should I say lack of, was not going to limit me. I was not going to let my age become the border that would stop me from getting where I wanted to be. I’ve been a reporter since I was a freshman in high school, and the idea of not writing when I got to UTEP seemed crazy.

Sam Donaldson to Young Journalists: The future is Multimedia

UTEP launches new Multimedia Journalism Degree

EL PASO—At the start of cybertime, back when 56K Internet speed was the norm, Sam Donaldson was at the forefront of multimedia journalism. Now, 10 years later, when high speed Internet is transforming journalism, Donaldson is encouraging prospective journalists to join the revolution. The legendary ABC newsman visited the University of Texas at El Paso Nov. 2, to announce the addition of the Multimedia Journalism Degree, which will enable students to gain multifaceted experience in the field. “This degree will enable you, and this university, to be in the forefront of looking at all these different platforms. At this university you will look at radio television, the Internet, print and look at all the ways you can communicate,” Donaldson said.

Reporting on the Drug War, a Dangerous Business

EL PASO — As the drug cartel violence in Ciudad Juárez continues to escalate, the news media on both sides of the border has continued to cover it. But now, the violence has spread to the newsrooms —getting the story is a job and a danger.

UTEP features alumnus Alfredo Corchado

EL PASO — Alfredo Corchado’s fellow alumni, family and friends, gathered at University of Texas at El Paso recently to listen the award-winning Mexico Bureau Chief of the Dallas Morning News and this year’s Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Since his graduation from UTEP in 1987, Corchado has focused his writing on border issues and he continues to mentor and inspire young journalists who show a similar passion for investigative reporting. His family has supported his hard work and dedication and benefited from his example, said Linda Corchado, Alfredo’s youngest sibling, a Swarthmore graduate. “I’m very proud of my brother. He really opened up the world to me and made it accessible.

Ninguna historia vale la vida de alguien

EL PASO — El 20 de febrero se presentaron en la Universidad de Texas de El Paso los periodistas Alfredo Corchado y Gerardo Reyes como parte de los talleres Watchdog Workshop de la organización IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors). Su plática trató de la cobertura periodística del crimen organizado, narcotráfico y lavado de dinero, un tema por demás popular en nuestra zona fronteriza. El periodista Alfredo Corchado comenzó la plática con los pormenores de su experiencia cubriendo el crimen organizado: “Si uno quiere estudiar el crimen organizado se necesita hacerlo como a una organización, como si fuera Starbucks o McDonald’s. Son (sic) una corporación con funciones completas, el 50% de sus ganancias regresan a sus operaciones. Al igual que una corporación, ellos creen en la buena calidad y en la publicidad, necesitan un vocero que le diga a los medios como quieren su historia y otro vocero para infiltrarse en los partidos políticos” dijo Corchado.