School of Journalism looking to build new international relationships

Nov. 14, 2023
Jessica Retis and David Vidal Castell

School of Journalism Director Jessica Retis and David Vidal Castell of the Autonomous University of Barcelona met Nov. 6 to discuss ideas for collaborations between the two colleges.

Jesse Tellez

The School of Journalism is hosting David Vidal Castell, director of the department of Media, Communication and Culture at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), for a weeklong visit at the University of Arizona.

School of Journalism Director Jessica Retis met with Castell on Nov. 6 to begin discussions about potential collaborations with UAB, including ideas for student exchange and professor exchange programs.

“In a global society, it’s going to be the future of academic education to have international relationships within universities,” Retis said. “There are already many universities that are collaborating with dual degree [programs], partnerships and study abroad programs.”

Castell, who has more than two decades of experience as a journalist and literary reviewer in Spain, will spend the rest of his visit meeting the School of Journalism’s faculty and students.

On Nov. 7, he traveled to Nogales, Arizona, with Retis, Professor Rick Wiley, Professor Liliana Soto, and students in the school’s Bilingual Journalism Program and border reporting class.

Nogales International visit

Rick Wiley

The group visited the Nogales International newsroom, toured the city’s historic Morley Avenue, interviewed Mexican journalist Cesar Barron at the border wall, and visited the La Linea Art Studio and Wittner Museum.

Castell says immigration and the coverage of border issues, two key topics of study within the School of Journalism’s bilingual and global perspectives are what drew him to the idea of collaborating with the university.

“Immigration is a sensitive subject nowadays in the south of Europe,” Castell said. “We are trying to build a very interdisciplinary perspective [at UAB], so collaboration with the University of Arizona, which is doing a lot of work in [relation to] immigration, is important to us.”

Retis echoed the importance of international relations within journalism, saying, “We both want to better train journalists to understand how to report on immigration issues.”

The next steps, Retis said, are to continue discussions about how UAB and the School of Journalism can work together and how that work can be of value to both domestic and international students.