CBIG: Doing Backpack Journalism in Migratory Hot Spots

The attached PowerPoint presentation describes the visual research, news gathering and safety techniques that have been tried by the four-year-old informal Cross-Border Issues Group / Grupo Fronterizo (CBIG). As an informal group, much like Viscom, CBIG enables small bi-national groups of journalism students and faculty to gather information in migration hot spots in the Southwestern United States, Mexico and Central America and use the research for a variety of purposes. The journalist and academic researchers travel to remote places, which some might consider dangerous, to conduct on-site visits and interviews with migrants in transit; honest and corrupt law enforcement and immigration officials; smugglers; NGO and shelter workers; and farmers, ranchers, and other border residents. Besides the obvious educational purposes, another significant purpose of these journalistic and researcher efforts is to record primary source materials at hot spots that are often neglected by mainstream news media and make those materials and understandings developed by the participants available for a variety of journalistic and research purposes, including radio reports, academic presentations, Web site videos, print and multimedia reports, and presentations to policymakers. In some instances simply bringing a bi-national team of student journalists and researchers to a site can create sufficient publicity to bring attention to ongoing abuses. read more