Educators to gather at UA School of Journalism for border safety workshop -- October 2010

Border art on the south side
of the U.S.-Mexico Port of
Entry in Nogales, Sonora.

Journalism educators from along the U.S.-Mexico border will gather at the University of Arizona School of Journalism Oct. 2-3 for a workshop on the issues and challenges involved in teaching borderlands reporting.

The gathering follows up on border safety workshops organized last year for journalism students at the University of Arizona, said Maggy Zanger, the UA journalism professor who led the fall and spring workshops.

“We have students reporting on the border, in Mexico, or, in some cases, in parts of Tucson, that aren’t terribly safe,” Zanger said. “Professors in the J School wanted to make sure they could get their stories and return to produce them.”

The UA teachers also wondered how educators at other universities along the border were handling safety issues. “We knew they had to be facing similar circumstances,” said Celeste González de Bustamante, another UA professor organizing the event. “We thought it was time to share some ideas and best practices.”

The School of Journalism teamed up with the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma to develop the workshop for some 20 university educators in border states.

The University of Washington Center for Global Studies and Dart are underwriting the event. Meg Spratt, associate director of academic programs for Dart, said the October gathering will serve as more of a brainstorming session than a training conference.

“We hope to use the discussion as a basis for developing teaching objectives, curriculum resources, and perhaps to plan a larger conference on teaching border reporting,” Spratt said.

The workshop will open Oct. 1 with a viewing of “389 Miles: Living the Border,” a documentary on the Arizona-Mexico border produced by Luis Carlos Romero-Davis from Ambos Nogales. On Oct. 2 participants will discuss the issues that teachers and students are dealing with on the border, including:
• safety and security;
• understanding trauma reactions;
• working with survivors;
• taking care of oneself; and
• reporting on issues beyond drugs and border crossings.

The Dart Center is a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and is dedicated to informed, innovative and ethical news reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy. It works to provide journalists with resources to effectively report on issues such as crime, disasters and other traumatic events.

Schools represented at the October workshop, in addition to the UA, include: University of Texas, El Paso; California State Northridge; New Mexico State University; San Diego City College; University of California, Irvine; University of New Mexico; San Diego State University; University of Washington; and the University of Texas, Austin.

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