Journalism educators from eight universities and one community college in the Southwest teamed up to create the Border Journalism Network/La red de periodismo de la frontera following a weekend workshop on teaching border reporting.
The workshop was held April 29-May 1 at the University of Arizona School of Journalism, where the network is based.
The mission of the bi-national network, or BJN, is developing a series of innovative educational initiatives for students, faculty members and professionals on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border.
The first initiative is creating an interactive website that will provide faculty members, students and professionals with teaching and training resources to assist in their work covering the borderlands.
Another effort will begin this fall with a unique cross-national border reporting project. "On the Line/Al borde" will include student journalists from all member institutions, and their multimedia stories will be showcased on the BJN's website.
"These exciting efforts really began last October with our first workshop," said co-organizer Celeste González de Bustamante, an assistant professor at the UA School of Journalism.
"This second workshop enabled us to put our many of our ideas into motion," González de Bustamante said.
Mexico has become one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists to work, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. For that reason, members of the BJN have focused their efforts on creating educational materials that include the ethics of reporting in the border region, keeping journalists safe and helping reporters and editors cope with the emotional impacts of crises reporting.
"The border, unfortunately, has become a conflict zone," said co-organizer Maggy Zanger, a professor of practice in the UA School of Journalism. "We want our students to be able to cover the many vital stories not related to the drug war, but we want them to be able to do it safely and with respect for the impact of the conflict on the people who live here."
Participants in the Border Journalism Network/La red del periodismo de la frontera include:
- José Luis Benavides, California State Northridge
- Bruce Berman, New Mexico State University
- Lisa Button, University of Arizona
- Ana Lourdes Cárdenas, University of Texas, El Paso
- Laura Castañeda, San Diego City College
- Lourdes Cueva Chacon, University of Texas, El Paso
- Mercedes Lynn de Uriarte, University of Texas, Austin
- Maria de los Angeles Flores, Texas A & M International University, Laredo
- Carolyn Gonzales, University of New Mexico
- Celeste González de Bustamante, University of Arizona
- Kim Newton, University of Arizona
- Jeannine Relly, University of Arizona
- Richard Schaefer, University of New Mexico
- Amy Schmitz Weiss, San Diego State
- Meg Spratt, Dart Center West, University of Washington
- Carol Schwalbe, University of Arizona
- Maggy Zanger, University of Arizona