Get to know Professor Kendal Blust

July 13, 2023

Kendal Blust is the School of Journalism's new professor of practice.

A woman with long brown hair stands in front of an office space.

Kendal Blust, KJZZ

Join the University of Arizona School of Journalism in welcoming our new Professor of Practice Kendal Blust. Blust graduated with a master’s degree from the School of Journalism in 2016. Blust then reported for the Nogales International, an award-winning community newspaper on the Arizona-Sonora border. She covered a wide range of topics including immigration, business, education, and border dynamics.

She left the International to report as a senior field correspondent with NPR member station KJZZ’s Fronteras Desk. She covered the environment, cross-border trade, and women’s movements in northern Mexico. Blust will be joining our faculty for the Fall 2023 semester.

Get to know her better by reading the Q-and-A below:


Q: What experience in your past do you think will inform the ways you teach our young journalists?

A: I have been a journalism student, and I've been a teacher in the past. Those experiences will inform my teaching. However, I think my experience as a reporter will be the most significant influence on the way I approach my classes and students. I hope to translate the things I've learned in the field and from my editors and colleagues in nearly eight years as a full-time reporter into compelling classes that journalism students will enjoy and that will prepare them for future success in what can be a demanding but rewarding profession.


Q: How are you feeling about stepping into this new role?

A: I am excited to work with students! Teaching is a very different skill from reporting, and I'm sure it will take some adjustments. But it's reassuring to join a team at the School of Journalism that has a strong mission, big goals, lots of energy and a dedication to providing future journalists with an excellent education. I am looking forward to both teaching and learning from my students and colleagues.


Q: What would you like the J School community to know about you?

A: I am thrilled to be a part of this community and to work with the faculty and staff to give students the best possible journalism education! As a teacher, I want my classes to be engaging and fun, but I also want students to learn and see their skills to improve. I have high expectations. I also hope students will feel welcome to reach out to me for support, visit me during office hours or set up a meeting to ask for help with assignments or reaching their goals outside of the classroom. That's what I'm here for!


Q: What topics are you most excited to dig into as a professor?

A: I've spent years in the Arizona-Sonora border region covering topics including immigration, human rights, women's movements, environmental issues and more for both print and radio. As a professor I want to encourage students to see the incredible depth and variety of stories right here in our region. I'm particularly looking forward to teaching students about radio reporting and audio storytelling, reporting in the border region, bilingual reporting, and environmental reporting. But one of the most exciting things about being a journalist is learning new things, meeting interesting people and having permission to ask them lots of questions! As a professor, I plan to continue reporting and learning about new topics I can share with my students as well.

Being a reporter isn't always easy, and our industry is facing a lot of challenges. But great journalism is as important as ever, and our students have a lot to look forward to, despite the challenges. I am excited to support them as they develop the skills they need to feel confident and optimistic stepping into their future careers.