(Raymundo Aguirre/Borderzine.com)

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, Borderzine.com, 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.

Members of the UTEP community greet UTEP Police officers to thank them for their services as custodials of the community's security. (Jesus Sanchez/Borderzine.com)

The borderland changed forever after 9/11

EL PASO— The tragic attack on America  that happened thousands of miles away 10 years ago rippled through the border region, tightening up security at the checkpoints that divide Ciudad Juárez, México from El Paso, Texas. Students, professors, and faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) gathered at a ceremony remembering and reflecting on the event on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. UTEP student Karina Lopez, who crosses the border often said that ever since that awful day the border checkpoints have been a hassle. “Traveling across the border became irrationally long. Security became so high and people became paranoid about crossing the border, when before it only took 15 minutes, now it takes up to three hours.”

Lopez says that in a sense, El Paso has changed since the 9/11 attacks.

Her own struggle helps former foster child guide similar students through crisis situations

EL PASO — Once a foster child herself, Jessica Archuleta now helps former foster children achieve their goals of stability and higher education. “Living through the foster care system didn’t define me. It didn’t get me where I was today,” said Archuleta, now an outreach specialist in the Foster, Homeless and Adopted Resource (FHAR) program at the University of Texas at El Paso. “It was my own experiences in life and how I dealt with them. Realizing that helped me realize I wanted to help other people in their experiences and give them a positive outlook.” Archuleta says she and her brother were placed in child crisis centers more than 20 times.

Don’t let internship opportunities pass you by

EL PASO – As I start my senior year this summer studying multimedia journalism at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), I realized I had to take a bigger step toward acquiring that experience we are constantly told we need. That is, building my resume even more by obtaining an internship. By the end of Fall 2010 semester, I had already sent all of my applications to several newsrooms across the country and to my surprise, I got a phone call from Washington D.C. It turned out I was one of the finalists to be selected as an intern for The Hispanic Link. I interviewed with Charlie Ericksen and he told me to wait for a phone call as they would notify me in several weeks that if I would be the chosen intern. I never got that call.

Brazilian studies add a dash of samba to the salsa

EL PASO — With the sexy swaying of samba rhythms and outrageously mechanical capoeira moves, Brazilians and El Pasoans took over the dance floor while others enjoyed the taste of typical Brazilian meals. Green, blue, and yellow Brazilian colors were displayed in flags, T-shirts, and balloons, splashing the spirit of Brazil onto the Mexican-American border city. The University of Texas at El Paso is known as a very cultural university that celebrates different ethnicities. With Ciudad Juarez as a neighbor, most of the students at UTEP have Mexican backgrounds. But UTEP has a wide variety of international student organizations and study programs like the Brazilian studies program that was implemented three years ago.

100,000 Graduates

Teaching and Learning and Caring Blog

EL PASO — They gave medallions to graduating students and faculty in honor of the 100,000th student to graduate from UTEP. Medallions are available for sale every year, and the proceeds go to a scholarship fund, but this 100,000th was a big deal. When you think about it, it is a big deal. I arrive at the designated time to wait in the women’s basketball practice gym with other faculty members. It’s nice to see them.

Teaching, Learning and Caring

EL PASO — I was privileged to be a UTEP faculty member for 21 years. My students taught me nearly everything I needed to know about teaching and a lot about many other things. What they took away from my classroom probably had less to do with sociology and more to do with life. In retrospect, that’s alright with me. A couple of years ago, I had lunch with what I called “the border patrol wives’ club.”  Three or four students were present.

Juarez coach now trains long-distance runners at UTEP

EL PASO – The violence that overwhelms daily life in Ciudad Juarez didn’t stop Pedro Lopez from helping others pursue the dream of becoming world-class runners. But now he dreams of the American dream. “The violence in Juarez is crazy. It became a crazy city. I remember when I was young and I could go out at whatever time and come back home late and not have any problem.

Guns on campus – What’s your stand?

EL PASO – The Texas Legislature is considering allowing students and professors with concealed handgun licenses to carry their firearms on college campuses.  The bill in draft form has been approved by committee and is headed to the Texas House for a vote, where a majority favors the measure

In 2009 a similar bill failed in the Texas State Legislature. This year though, gun control advocates say that it will be more difficult to stop this bill. If passed and signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry as expected, Texas would become the second state after Utah to approve this type of legislation. The topic of firearms on campuses is of growing concern for everyone possibly affected, whether students, parents of a student, faculty and staff at a college or university or members of the police forces responsible for the safety and security of everyone on campus. Students and faculty members here at the University of Texas at El Paso expressed the following opinions and concerns:

“I don’t agree with it,” said Evi Marquez, a student, “because I think it would be another threat especially with the war going on across the border with the drugs and everything and you know its been said that people come and use the cars here at UTEP as a loading zone for the drugs and as far as for bringing weapons into that it would be so much more dangerous that you never know what could happen.

Esther Chavez Cano remembered as a powerful force for women in Juarez

EL PASO — Esther Chavez Cano fought in Juarez against an epidemic of violence that killed 1,192 women during the last 18 years in what became known as the feminicidios. Chavez Cano, who died in 2009, was remembered in El Paso February 25 as a beacon of hope for women in Juarez. “She was a symbol of accomplishment, social commitment and change,” said Dr. Moira Murphy, a Professor at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Chavez Cano was a human rights activist who brought attention to terrible violence committed against women and children in Juarez, Mexico, a city in a fight against drugs, corruption, and murder. Chavez worked endlessly assisting families of women who were murdered or the survivors of violence.

Texans protest proposed anti-immigrant laws

AUSTIN  – More than 1,000 persons gathered Tuesday at the Texas Capitol in hopes that legislators would hear and consider their plea for respect and equality when passing immigration laws. “Texas Can Do Better,” was chanted, overpowering the downtown streets of Austin from Waterloo Park to the Texas Capitol. Texas legislators have proposed 60 anti-immigration bills at the federal and state level.  Some of this proposed legislation would allow law enforcement agents to deport immigrants without establishing a reasonable doubt of the legality of their immigration status. The new laws could take education away from immigrant children, depriving them from a shot at the American dream.

Dejar el nido – De chihuahuense a paseño

EL PASO — Nunca en la vida me imaginé que estaría estudiando en UTEP. Esta universidad ni siquiera aparecía en mi lista de opciones porque para mi era casi imposible verme como un Minero. Mi hermana Marisa es un año mayor que yo y ella entró a UTEP en el 2008. Me impresionó que eligiera esta Universidad porque toda la vida pensé que ella y yo nos quedaríamos en Chihuahua y estudiaríamos en el Tec de Monterrey, que está localizado también en la Ciudad de Chihuahua. Claro que soñaba estudiar en los Estados Unidos, pero siempre estaban presente los confl ictos de dejar mi casa, mi familia, la sociedad en la cual me crie y mis amigos.

Listen up Ms. Napolitano: more enforcement doesn’t equal border safety

EL PASO—Two Hispanic students stood up in protest as the rest of the audience in the auditorium clapped during Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s recent speech at the University of Texas at El Paso. The female students held up signs that read “Education not Militarization” and “Security to Whom?” but only for a few seconds before they were escorted out of the auditorium. As this occurred, I wondered if their removal from a public forum is a violation of their freedom of speech.  So I asked the question during my next Communication Law class and found out that what had happened is like screaming fire in a crowded theater: “You can say anything you like as long as you don’t put anyone in danger; Napolitano could claim she was in danger,” said Dr. Barthy Byrd, associate professor in the Department of Communication and an expert on media law. Napolitano barely looked up from the paper she read during her speech to acknowledge what had just happened in the audience.  Afterward, she answered a few pre-selected questions that only demonstrated she really does think we owe her our gratitude for protecting the U.S. Southern border. “Some of the safest communities in America are right here on the border,” said Napolitano, claiming that she was not here doing a victory lap.

Miners Coach Floyd finds his place in Haskin’s legacy

EL PASO, Texas — Moving from one place to another can be stressful, but when Tim Floyd returned to UTEP to coach Miners basketball he came back home to familiar faces and open arms.

More then 30 years ago, Floyd was given an opportunity to assist legendary Miners Head Coach Don Haskins. Now Floyd made the decision to come back to follow in Haskins footsteps as Head Coach of the Men’s Basketball team. Floyd says Haskins wasn’t just a boss to him, but more of a father figure. Losing his own dad at the age of seventeen, Floyd says he looked up to Haskins as a second dad. Living in Hattiesburg Mississippi until he turned 18, Floyd attended Louisiana Tech College and then moved to El Paso where his grandparents were born and lived all their lives.

Napolitano promises an ‘overwhelming response’ to any spillover of drug-war violence

“We have strengthened the Southwest Border in ways that many did not think possible.”
– Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano
EL PASO, Texas – The Obama administration has strengthened the U.S.-Mexico partnership along the southwest border, increasing security and safeguarding the U.S. against a spillover of drug-war violence, according to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. On the second stop of a national tour designed to explain President Obama’s border security strategy, Napolitano told an audience at the University of Texas at El Paso Monday that their approach to border security is working. “We are almost two years into that strategy and the verdict is in,” said Napolitano. “We have strengthened the southwest border in ways that many did not think possible.”

Napolitano did mention that challenges still exist, such as dealing with the drug-cartel violence taking place in Mexico and remaining on guard against a possible spillover effect into the United States. Any incursion of drug-war violence into the U.S. will face an “overwhelming response,” she said.

Sam Donaldson — The new media wields a double-edged sword

EL PASO, Texas — Innovations in technology —more specifically the Internet— have changed every aspect of media, transforming journalism into a swift double-edged digital sword, according to veteran ABC News reporter Sam Donaldson. Donaldson told students at his Alma Mater, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Tuesday that, “Everyone today thinks they are a journalist. Everyone shoots off their mouths on the Internet. To some extent this is a problem. I would prefer to listen to someone who is presenting stuff that is factual.”

The borderland native attended Texas Western College, now UTEP, and began his TV career in 1977 as a correspondent for ABC News.

UTEP offers solace to its Mexican students

EL PASO, Texas — The office of the vice president for student affairs at the University of Texas at El Paso has issued a letter addressed to students commuting to class from Mexico, encouraging those who may be experiencing difficulty coping with the recent murders in Juarez of two UTEP students to utilize the services the university provides. “The recent loss of students, Manuel A. Acosta and Eder A. Diaz, has been a difficult situation for the entire UTEP community. I am aware that for those of you who live in Juarez and other parts of Mexico or those of you who have immediate family there may be experiencing that loss more acutely,” said Dr. Richard Padilla, Vice President for Student Affairs. Padilla encouraged the UTEP student body to watch for students who may be struggling with the recent tragic events. “Let them know that there are people on campus who may be able to help.

Out of your comfort zone: What led me to an internship… I don’t like comfort zones

There was once a time in my life that I felt I would never break into the degree professions.  I knew I would never be a high level executive, unless I started from the bottom and worked exceptionally hard. I also knew that many of my dreams would be inaccessible without a degree.  Teaching English abroad, working in government, becoming a broadcaster; all these things are out of reach for someone without a degree, or at least trying to gain one. One day, that changed when I made the decision to get back into school after a three-year break after graduating high school.

UTEP helps students and faculty deal with tragedy

EL PASO, Texas — Last week tragedy struck the University of Texas at El Paso when students Eder Andres Diaz Sotero, 23, and Manuel Acosta Villalobos, 22, were gunned down in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Many alike have felt the effects of the violence unfolding in Juarez the past three years. But like many students, faculty members are significantly impacted by the violence across the border. While much can be said about the counseling efforts given to students dealing with tragedies faced daily in Juarez, little is known about the resources available for faculty to help combat the stresses their students have encountered. “There’s a group of offices that give the professors the support for them to work with students in the classroom,” said Catie McCorry-Andalis, UTEP assistant vice president for student life and associate dean of students.

The killing streets next door

EL PASO, Texas — Generations of Mexican students have been commuting to the El Paso campus of the University of Texas for almost a hundred years. Two of them were murdered in Juarez last week, riddled by 36 high-powered bullets as they drove home in a residential neighborhood where one of them lived. Manuel Acosta, 22, drove his red Nissan Sentra from UTEP across the line on the early evening of November 2 to Colonia Rincones de Santa Rita where his passenger Eder Diaz, 23, lived only to die four hours later at a hospital. They were gunned down at the intersection of De La Arbolada and Manglares streets in their car near Diaz’ house. Those of us who teach here in this beautiful campus now worry about the safety of every one of the some 1400 students who cross the bridge to study here and then go home late in the day, every day.

More reaction to the killing of two UTEP students

EL PASO, Texas — The murder of two University of Texas at El Paso students continues to reverberate on campus, eliciting reactions from students, faculty and administration. “It really pains me,” said Dr. Gina Nunez-Mchiri, professor of Anthropology and Sociology at UTEP. “They’re our students… We know people who are losing family members to the violence and it affects us. It takes our sleep away.

El Paso goes orange for a day

EL PASO, Texas — A proclamation by the city of El Paso named Friday, November 12 as El Paso “Miner Orangeville” day to mark the basketball season opener against Pacific with Coach Tim Floyd. Coach Floyd was assistant to Hall of Fame coach Don Haskins from 1978-1986.  The team will wear Texas Western uniforms for the first game.  The University of Texas at El Paso was formerly Texas Western College, from 1949 to 1967. It was in 1966, under Coach Haskins, that Texas Western College fielded the first-ever all black starting team in a NCAA Championship game and then won the championship. Just as Coach Haskins broke barriers with the 1966 team, Borderzine.com breaks through borders of all kinds with journalism.  Join us in the celebration by wearing UTEP orange on that day and in continuing to overcome barriers. Go Miners!

Hundreds of Juarez students commute daily to class at UTEP

EL PASO, Texas — A young man catches a ride with his friend and they make their half hour trip home from school across the international port of entry into the streets of the most dangerous city on the U.S.-Mexico border. Manuel Acosta, 22, drove his red Nissan Sentra from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) to the Colonia Rincones de Santa Rita where his friend Eder Diaz, 23, lived with his parents in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The trip home was routine to both students. Chihuahua State Police reported that a group of masked men armed with .223 caliber rifles similar to the NATO military rifles intercepted them at the intersection of De La Arbolada and Manglares streets in near of Diaz’s house. The assailants fired 36 shots killing Acosta at the scene and fatally injuring Diaz, who died in the early morning hours of November 3 at a hospital in Juarez.

Hundreds mourn slain students at UTEP memorial

El PASO, Texas — Sobbing students and family members held each other as the sound of Amazing Grace filled the open air of the campus plaza. Every hand gripped a tissue ready to dab the tears flowing from behind dark sunglasses. The College of Business Administration at the University of Texas at El Paso, hosted a memorial on November 8, for students Eder A. Diaz, 23, and Manuel A. Acosta, 22, who were shot to death in Cd. Juarez, Mexico on November 2. “Manny and Eder came to this University to study at our College of Business Administration,” said Dr. Robert Nachtmann, dean of the COBA.

UTEP mourns two students shot to death in Juarez

EL PASO, Texas — The University of Texas at El Paso is mourning the death of two students who were gunned down in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico Tuesday evening after they crossed the border on their way home. The UTEP community was invited to a memorial service Monday at 2 p.m. to be held just outside of the College of Business Administration where Manuel Acosta Villalobos, 25, and Eder Diaz Sotero, 23, both studied.  The two students lived in Juarez and commuted to the El Paso campus to attend classes, university officials said. The two were driving at about 8 p.m. when gunmen fired 36 rounds at their car, hitting both men multiple times, Chihuahua state police said. Acosta died at the scene and Diaz at a Juarez hospital Wednesday morning. “Our hearts are heavy today with the news of the deaths of UTEP students Manuel Acosta and Eder Diaz.

Being bicultural and bilingual propelled Mike Martinez to success

EL PASO, Texas — Stepping out of a business meeting to negotiate his transfer from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Chicago, Mike Martinez looked out into a violent Chicago blizzard. “It was snowing horizontally,” he recalled. He had been promised a move to Spain — a dream job for him — but the company decided they needed his skills at a national office. It was Christmas Day. He called his wife in San Juan telling her about the storm and asked her, “So, how would you like to move to Chicago?”

Exhibición de fotos capta la violencia de vivir en Ciudad Juárez

EL PASO, Texas — Fotógrafos fronterizos de El Diario de Juárez capturan la batalla de vivir día a día entre caos y temor en la ciudad más violenta de la frontera. Ahora todos podemos ser testigos de ese ambiente de terror. El 30 de Septiembre se inauguró la exhibición fotográfica Las Otras Batallas, presentada por fotógrafos de El Diario en el Centennial Museum de la Universidad de Texas en El Paso (UTEP). “Esta exhibición es un ejemplo de lo que se puede hacer si las dos ciudades unen esfuerzos. Tomó coordinación e interés binacional y con la participación de personas de los dos lados todo salió muy bien”, dijo la Dr. Moira Murphy-Aguilar, profesora de UTEP y del Centro de Estudios Inter-Americanos y Fronterizos.

Farah company veterans relive the garment maker’s rise and fall

EL PASO, Texas. — A purple box of tissues was passed around a table by former staffers of the family-owned Farah Manufacturing Company as they grew emotional remembering the glory days of the world’s largest manufacturer of men’s slacks. The panelists told stories of their experiences and the family dynamic of El Paso’s 20th century garment-industry giant at the El Paso Museum of History on Saturday, October 9th.  “It was a culture built around more of a personality of a family member, as opposed to a general family culture,” said former Farah vice-president of human resources, Dan Cruse. The Department of History at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and the El Paso Museum of History combined their efforts to bring together former employees, close family friends and members of the Farah family, to tell stories of the time they spent with the Farah family and company.

Reservado – Un Juárez sutil

EL PASO, Texas — Seis actores locales y un número considerable de extras podrán formar parte del elenco de un cortometraje que se comenzará a rodar en El Paso el 15 de noviembre y cuyo casting comienza este viernes, informaron sus realizadores. La pieza cinematográfica, titulada “Reservado”, cuenta las peripecias, viscisitudes, concesiones morales que vive un mesero de Ciudad Juárez para reunir suficiente dinero y comprar la sortija de matrimonio para su novia. Tras ese pretexto aflora una verdad excepcional: las ganas de vivir, la pobreza, el amor, el miedo, los riesgos de un submundo rico en matices, dudas, sueños, así como el caudal cultural único de México. “Juárez y El Paso son una misma comunidad, rodaremos aquí porque queremos ofrecer un producto netamente paseño, además aquí hay talento genuinamente mexicano que podemos aprovechar”, dijo, el productor, Christian Moldes. Y agregó: “Nos resultará más cómodo por cuestiones propias de la producción, todo el equipo de trabajo vive aquí, así que optimizaremos tiempo, gastos, locaciones, todo”.