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Cronkite Latino Specialization

A new specialization in the Cronkite School teaches students how to report on Latino communities and Latino-specific issues.

The program includes an in-depth reporting class and a multidisciplinary seminar on Latinos coupled with a minor from the Department of Transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies. It is one of two Cronkite School topic-specific specializations; the other is in business journalism.

The specialization is led by Rick Rodriguez, the former executive editor at the Sacramento Bee who joined the faculty of the Cronkite faculty in 2008 as the school’s first Carnegie Professor specializing in Latino and transnational news coverage.

The Carnegie Professor is part of the curriculum enrichment component of the comprehensive Carnegie-Knight Journalism Initiative to improve journalism education at 12 universities nationwide. The program is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Arizona State University, the University of North Carolina and the University of Nebraska were recently added to the Carnegie-Knight initiative, joining the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, Harvard University, the University of Maryland, the University of Missouri, Northwestern University, Syracuse University, the University of Texas and the University of Southern California.

The Carnegie-Knight grants are used by the schools to “expand the intellectual horizons of journalism students, in large part by harnessing the tremendous subject-matter expertise that resides in each of the universities,” according to a joint statement from the foundations.

At Cronkite, the grant is being used to create the journalism specialization on covering Latino communities and U.S.-Mexico transnational issues. Students in the program take a multidisciplinary seminar exploring cultural, historical, political, legal, economic, religious and sociological dimensions of Latino life in the United States and U.S.-Mexico transnational issues, featuring top faculty and experts from a wide variety of disciplines.

They also take a new field course in which they will delve in-depth into critical Latino-related issues and meet with discipline experts during trips to Mexico. Students in the specialization also will take appropriate Latino courses across multiple disciplines outside of the Cronkite School and do an in-depth project at Cronkite News Service.

The new specialization grew out of the Cronkite School’s longtime commitment to giving students fieldwork experience along the U.S.-Mexico border and in Mexico. In recent years, Cronkite students have produced several major multimedia reporting projects focusing on immigration and Latino issues.

The 2011 project, “Stateless in the Dominican Republic,” about immigration and border issues in the Dominican Republic, won a prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the third such honor Cronkite students have received in four years.

In 2010, a project initiated in the depth reporting class, "Crossing Lines," about one man’s mission to help impoverished Mexican farmers, won an RFK award in the print category, the second consecutive year in a row that a Cronkite student won the award.

The 2009 in-depth class produced a photodocumentary project, "Divided Families," that also won an RFK Award.