updated 1/11/2011 12:17:08 PM ET 2011-01-11T17:17:08

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Two journalism programs have completed a collaborative multicultural reporting project that explored the complexity of the immigration experience in the United States. Through the Beyond the Border project, students produced multimedia reports to be published on http://pavementpieces.com/tag/border/ .

The project, developed by Dr. Celeste González de Bustamante, from the University of Arizona School of Journalism, and Prof. Yvonne Latty, from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, paired up about 30 students from both schools with faculty and mentors to report on the life and challenges for immigrants and the general community on the U.S.-Mexico border and in the hugely diverse metropolis of New York.

With help from Continental Airlines, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists selected and supported the participation of five Latino freelance journalists -- more than twice the two slots originally planned for -- to help guide the students through their coverage. The freelancers with significant experience covering immigration and immigrant communities were Valeria Fernandez, a writer and documentary producer from Arizona, Monica Ortiz Uribe, a radio journalist from El Paso, Sergio Quintana, a video and multimedia journalist from San Francisco, Monica Campbell, a photographer and writer from New York and Mexico, and Giovanna Drpic, a television reporter and producer from New York City.

"It was exhilarating to watch the students being pushed -- in a gentle way -- by their freelancer/mentor to take their reports to the highest level. The work that students produced will contribute to a vast media landscape that often finds itself devoid of context, nuance and complexity," said González de Bustamante.

Seventeen NYU students, three faculty members and the freelancers went to the adjoining states of Arizona and Sonora in October to report on such issues such as: the effect of tightened border security, drug violence, and anger over Arizona's SB1070 on businesses on both sides of the border; Latinos that support SB1070; businesses that help individuals prepare for the journey of crossing the border into the U.S.; worry among ranchers who hire migrant workers; a deported man who plans to cross again; an organization that seeks to reduce the death toll by providing water to dehydrated migrants; the negative effects that the 670-mile fence and the Border Patrol has inflicted on wildlife and the environment; the physical dangers and death toll of crossing into the U.S.

In November, eight UA students, two faculty members and the freelancer traveled to New York City to report on issues facing local Latino and other immigrant communities, including: the Mexican acculturation of East Harlem, cooperative advocacy efforts between Mexican and Somali immigrants in Staten Island, the civic, cultural and economic challenges in Jackson Heights in Queens, the most diverse area in the country, and the legal and societal struggles of gay and lesbian immigrants to this country.

"If you want to be a journalist with integrity, you really need to know what's going on. And you can't learn that sitting in a classroom and watching me lecture," said Latty. "The way to learn that is to be physically in the middle of a big story. This, [immigration] is a big story."

Click here to see the mini-documentary that was produced and directed by NYU Professors Yvonne Latty and Adrian Mihai about the Beyond the Border experience.

This project is made possible with support from Continental Airlines, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=7410

CONTACT:  National Association of Hispanic Journalists
          Ivan Roman
          (202) 662-7178

© Copyright 2012, GlobeNewswire, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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