Wednesday, 25 January 2012 15:33
Geographically, border journalism is tied to news and events along the U.S.-Mexico border. But there’s more to tell than by looking at a map that trails the 1,961-mile wall. Border reporters cross the line, in more ways than one. These journalists dig deep into topics of immigration and foreign affairs. They also portray life in the local communities, often writing stories that can quickly go from being local to national interests.
As newspaper industries face a tough time of economic challenges, traditional media outlets often have to cut back on spending much more than they used for on border coverage. Not only that, but it can be risky.
I spoke with a reporter who was used to doing this type of border journalism.
“The stories are fascinating, but the dangers are always there,” said Adriana Gomez Licon, an Associated Press reporter in the Mexico City Bureau. The reporter has also reported in Veracruz, which she said is the deadliest city in Mexico for reporters.
I was more than eager to begin interning with the Arizona Daily Star’s border and immigration reporter, Brady McCombs.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012:
9:55 a.m. As soon as I walked into the Arizona Daily Star’s newsroom, I scanned over the room that held many groups of desks—each scattered with a reporter’s computer, notes and books. There was no Brady McCombs in sight, or at least I didn’t recognize the face on the twitter accunt for Brady McCombs that I’d been following for months. I glanced at my iPhone quickly within my purse, so no one would think I was a lazy student texting away on her first day of the internship. 10:08 a.m. flashed on the screen.
I walked over toward Veronica Cruz, the Star’s police reporter whom I’d met over summer while I worked as a mentor for the Journalism Diversity Workshop for Arizona High School Students. Cruz’s curly brown hair was my only hope of not seeming completely out of place. But before I could approach her, a tall man peering over his glasses glanced at in front of me and a smile broke across his scruffy face. He eagerly introduced himself, maneuvering to the top of my list of friendliest-people-I’ve-encountered-in-Tucson. I smiled back. He was Ernesto Portillo, Jr., editor of La Estrella, the Spanish version of the Star.
He showed me to one of the computer desks, where interns worked during days they were in the newsroom. I took a seat and waited in silence. I glanced at my iPhone, 10:13 a.m.
I remember a conversation I had with Brenna Goth, a journalism classmate who interned with McCombs last semester on the border and gave me a few words of advice about reporting near the border. “Familiarize with the Border Patrol and Department of Homeland Security structures. If you have any enterprise stories involving these agencies, START EARLY,” she said.
That’s exactly what we did. McCombs spent the next 10 or 15 minutes outlining the Department of Homeland security and its breakdown for me while I took notes.
In the end, I realized that all of my worries about covering the border should be replaced with courage to report on a highly relevant topic to policy makers and residents in our region. Everything set aside, I remembered the last words Brenna said to me before she left to study abroad, “It’s way more chill than you think it'll be.”
Here's a quick reference guide of the structure provided by DHS that might aid border journalists.
- Streetcar Construction Creates Difficulty for Downtown Businesses
- Take Back the Night: Cover it Live
- Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument clears air about dangers of the border
- Personal activism turns into motivation for demonstration
- Missing on the Border
- University of Arizona NROTC members may carry weapons on training hikes near Mexico
- The Reincarnation Tour: Celebrating a Vibrant and New Central Phoenix
- Rap, Culture & God Lecture
- Cover it Live - CBP's Mario Escalante will share tips of how to be a better border reporter with SPJ.
- Cover it Live: Margaret Regan Talk on Arizona-Mexico Border Stories
- Similarities Emphasized at ‘Queer-ability’ Discussion
- The Essence of Gamma Alpha Omega
- Spanish Heritage Learner Program Enhances UA Education
- Arizona Women's Heritage Trail
- Border Beat Class
- Cover it Live Boxing Training Session
- UA Decathlete Strives to Make the Most of Life in the US
- Ride Report- Premises Park Progress
- The Grip On Tucson Climbing
- Shootout decides 2012 Desert Diamond Cup Championship Game
- Soccer Success Still Kicking in Tucson
- L.A Galaxy v. New York Red Bulls
- La Fiesta de los Vaqueros Tucson Rodeo
Stalk us at:
Border Beat BlogsEducación en la Frontera
By: Shannon Maule
A look at higher education in regard to those who have and have not been able to travel from various countries to the United States. Stories from people in the higher education world relating to the border.A Mosaic America
By: Rachel Kolinski
"Exploring Diversity one Face at a Time"
By: Hope Jamieson
Explore dance throughout the borderlands.A City of Musical Diversity
By: Maria Teracena
Tucson musicians influence and are influenced by the sounds of the world.Culture Crossing
By: Chelsey Barthel
American borders are crossed every day by cultures of all kind. These stories tell the personal experiences of people from different lands, offering further insight into the difference of cultures.
By: Lauren Inouye
A look at Mexican and Latin films that reflect culture, politics, and society -- reviews, research and analysis.
By: Charles Misra
Stories about martial arts and combat sports with a cultural twist, all finding a home in America's southwestern borderlands.Border People
By: Jamie Turow
Profiles of English language learners.
By: Jessica Hoerth
Meet some of the people in Tucson who have made the journey across the border as they share what they came in search of and what struggles they may have encountered along the way.
By: Lauren Urratio
Fashion and how it is impacted by the border and international cultures.
By: Lucy Valencia
News from along the border with MexicoThe Border Project
By: Melissa Guz
"The Border Project" is an art showcase located in the University of Arizona's Museum of Art. It has over 40+ art pieces related to border issues.Athletics and the Border
By: Preston Fawcett
Get to know high school coachs and athletes from Arizona border towns or from Mexico and their struggles to get to where they are.
By: Audrey A. Fitzsimmons
The Southwest boasts of diverse ethnic backgrounds and a wealth of interesting personalities. Border Personalities is dedicated to the people of the Southwest and their stories.
By: Jeff Kessler
U.S. - Mexico border issues, current events, and interesting local storiesMusic of the Border
By: Steven Schiraldi
Music reviews of musical works by Mexican or other ethnic artists.
By: Brett Haupt
A visual exploration of America’s last frontier -- pictures and videos from different areas of the wall and fence that separate two different worlds and insight into what really stands between the United States and Mexico, ramifications of wall building and what it means for the average citizen.Border Athletes
By: Lauren Sokol
Meet international student athletes at the University of Arizona, a look at the recruiting process that helped them find a temporary home in the desert, and culture changes that the athletes might have endured.Journey Across the Border
By: Emily Kjesbo
Spotlighting Mexico’s top travel destinations, as well as a few of its hidden gems.Border Shots
By: Keith Perfetti
A photojournalist looks at how other photographers have viewed the border and shoots lesser known spots of the southwest.
MLS Soccer comes to the Desert
By: Jeff Kessler
All about the 2012 Desert Diamond Cup, a 10 day exhibition soccer tournament featuring four Major League Soccor teams coming to Tucson.