Nogales fence, separating Mexico and Arizona. (Photo by Jordan Glenn)
William Schmidt and Mort Rosenblum
Co-directors of Center for Border & Global Journalism
The Center for Border & Global Journalism was created at the University of Arizona to bring greater focus to the challenges facing journalists everywhere, as they engage a more globalized and more perilous world.
Working with academic departments across campus, and leveraging the work of the UA School of Journalism faculty not only along the border with Mexico but also in the Middle East and Afghanistan, the CBGJ explores programs and initiatives to preserve and extend the kind of free and independent global reporting that is essential to democratic societies.
To advance those ambitions, the center draws upon the School of Journalism’s existing relationships with several other units and programs on campus, including the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the School for Government and Public Policy and Center for Latin American Studies. The CBGJ also builds on relationships with other outside groups such as the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, the International Center for Journalists and the Investigative Reporters and Editors, as well as professional media organizations such as The New York Times and The Associated Press.
The co-directors of the Center for Border & Global Journalism are professors William Schmidt, a former New York Times editor, and Mort Rosenblum, a former Associated Press foreign correspondent and bureau chief.
What can we do together – as professionals, educators and advocates – not only to support the journalists who are out there now, but train a new generation of correspondents and reporters? How do we help them meet the challenges of a world where information that once moved at the speed of the printing press now moves at the speed of light?
Importantly, how do we better train, prepare and safeguard their work when journalists are now more often regarded as targets, not only by terrorist organizations and criminal cartels but repressive governments? Since the early 1990s, well over a thousand journalists have been killed, and many more kidnapped, detained or driven into exile, simply for asking to know the truth.
These are difficult realities, and much is at stake. On a visit to campus in 2015, Diane Foley, the mother of the slain journalist James Foley, said that “we all need to be aware of what is taken away from us” when journalists are killed or threatened with kidnapping and harm, and whole parts of the world are shut off to the independent scrutiny that journalism provides.
The revolution in digital communication has made our world more accessible but less comprehensible than ever. At the Center for Border & Global Journalism, we believe that only serious journalism — real reporters crossing frontiers to see the world with their own eyes — can bring the light and the context we must have to illuminate the world’s darker places.