Mike "Sarge" Preston, Program Director and DJ at KOFX 92.3

The faces behind the voices of radio disc jockeys

EL PASO – While you listen to your favorite song during your commute to work, there is a small team of radio disc jockeys pulling levers, pushing buttons, flicking switches and orchestrating the entire three-four minute performance. This is an inside look into the lives of three DJs and the DJ booth. Sarge Preston, Jojo Garcia and Victor Cruz are three local radio DJs at KFOX 92.3. The three DJs have a combined 91 years of experience. Their time spent on air is a very small part of their daily job responsibilities but it is also the favorite part of their workday.

Danya Perez-Hernadez and Kristian Hernandez have been married for seven years and are the only married couple attending the institute together. (Molly J. Smith/NYT Institute)

A vacation for the Hernándezes

TUCSON, Az. – By the time most married couples hit the seven-year mark, they are usually in their mid 30s. They might be busy training their little descendants to go potty, or celebrating childlessness in expensive resorts in Hawaii. That’s not how the Hernándezes do it. No, sir.

Aspiring reporter learns a hard lesson in the rules of journalism

EL PASO ­– Ever since I can remember I have always wanted to be a writer. When I was in high school I was a student who constantly got into trouble for various things, and once an angry teacher asked me what I was going to do with my life. I thought he wanted to open up and talk and I answered him that I wanted to be a writer. He laughed at me and stated: “The way you’re headed, I wouldn’t be surprised if I see you asking for money in the streets and living under a bridge.”

Those words always stuck to me, that is until I enrolled in college. I never finished high school and began working, eventually got married and had a daughter.

The Dead Bolts is one of only three other men’s roller derby teams in Texas. (Amber Watts/Borderzine.com)

Roller derby got me down

EL PASO – The interview process with the men’s roller derby teams had been stimulating, attending the practice had been inspiring (although a little scary at times), and the writing process had been consuming. Altogether writing about one of Texas’ few men’s roller derby teams brewing right here was one of the best experiences I’ve had as a journalist in El Paso. After three years of journalistic writing, this was the story I was the most amped about covering. After months of waiting for the chance to get the story, hours of work, and bubbling excitement – my story was published. I sent a text of ‘thanks!’ and ‘hope you enjoy’ to my sources, and anxiously waited for their texts back of approval.

I can vividly remember the first interview like it was yesterday. (Joshua Gutierrez/Borderzine.com)

Terrified of doing interviews, journalism forced me to face my fear

EL PASO – I have always had a fear of that word, for myself or to interview others. My major is multimedia journalism, so I knew that I would have to learn to love interviews, one-way or another. I guess the reason you could say that I picked that major is because I have always been fascinated with sports and I would love to be involved with the company ESPN. My best friend Sean Sida always told me when I was growing up, “do something that takes you out of your comfort zone.” He always pushed me to go to new places or talk to new girls, although I was terrified. So this past fall semester when I was taking the Digital Video and Audio production course at The University of Texas at El Paso with professor Lourdes Cueva Chacón, I had to get out of my comfort zone almost every week.

El Paso, a border city considered by some as part of Mexico. (Raymundo Aguirre/Borderzine.com)

Learning journalism in El Paso opened my window to the world

EL PASO – Every time I’ve gone on vacation with my friends, people ask us where we are from. The conversation usually goes something like this: “We’re from Texas.” “I love Texas! What part?” “El Paso.” “Oh, so like, Mexico?” Yes, that’s right, at least once in Las Vegas, Chicago, San Diego, and even in Europe, people thought we were basically from Mexico. This used to bother me because I will always pride myself on being a patriotic American citizen; however, I started to see how it would be easy for people outside of Texas to think that El Paso was just this forgotten part of the United States that somehow belonged to Mexico also. If you look at reports about border violence in Mexico, El Paso is almost always mentioned as the sister city to Ciudad Juarez.

Making The Most Out Of It

EL PASO, Texas — Every semester we hear from our teachers as well as guest speakers that internships are vital if you ever want to land a job. Most companies will not hire anyone unless they have some kind of previous experience. As journalism students, we have chosen a career that can be very tough to break into. To make it in this business you have to stand out. You prepare yourself to be the best, to be ready to for the better job opportunity down the road.

Border Stories: Photography as an Instrument for Education

EL PASO — The brisk pace of life carved into the faces in Bruce Berman’s photographs carries stories of the humor, sadness and diversity that exist along the U.S.-Mexico border. The gallery at the University of Texas at El Paso’s Centennial Museum rang with excitement as the crowd that gathered for the event drew from Berman’s energy as he entered the room. “What am I thinking? I’m too old for this,” said Berman.  But his eyes told otherwise as he sat in the middle of the room, surrounded by the framed moments he had captured through the lens of his camera.  Each photograph seemed to tell a different story from the same book. “These photos are not at all about me,” Berman said, “They are absolutely about the people in the stories.” His exhibition was a collection of pictures taken along the El Paso-Juarez border.

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.