About the Two Borders Project
Border security, immigrant labor programs, and a path to citizenship dominate the debate over immigration reform in the United States.
But these issues become much more complex and varied depending on geography. Only 69 miles of the nearly 4,000 mile Canadian border is "secure," according to a key government report and experienced law enforcement officials along the border with Mexico puzzle over the very meaning of "secure." Canada's guest worker program has been pointed to as a potential model for the United States, but it presents its own challenges and is radically different than the current immigrant labor system along the southern border. Our "Two Borders" project delves into the complex nature of immigration reform, economics, health care and border security in North America's three nations.
The project's student journalists were Óscar Alejandro Contreras, Caitlin Cruz, Perla Farias, Peter Haden, Harmony Huskinson, Dominique L. Johnson, Trahern W. Jones, Andrew Knochel, Alexandra Lancial, Rachel Leingang, Tara Molina, Katie Mykleseth, Lillian Reid, David Robles, Cassondra Strande, Molly Smith and Master Tesfatsion.
The students traveled to Ontario, Canada for a week-long reporting trip in April 2013. While there, they conducted dozens of interviews on both sides of the U.S.- Canada border. The students also traveled to the U.S.- Mexico border multiple times throughout the spring 2013 semester, reporting from Nogales, Ariz. and Nogales, Mexico; Yuma, Ariz.; Los Algodones, Mexico; and Indio, Calif. As part of the project the students wrote 14 stories, produced five multimedia projects and a 14-minute documentary. They also published dozens of photos.
The students worked under the direction of Cronkite faculty members Rick Rodriguez and Jason Manning. Rodriguez, former executive editor of the Sacramento (Calif.) Bee, is the Carnegie Professor of Journalism at the Cronkite School, where he teaches a seminar on Latino issues and a depth reporting class. Manning, former political editor for washingtonpost.com, is the director of student media at ASU and a member of the faculty at the Cronkite School. The two have guided students in previous in-depth reporting projects on immigration and border issues in the U.S. and Mexico.
Cronkite technologist Nic Lindh designed and built the website, while Jason Manning and Cronkite Student Erik Rivera served as producers.
“Two Borders” was made possible by a grant from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Illinois-based nonprofit organization founded by the international photojournalist, author and philanthropist.
Óscar Alejandro Contreras
Óscar Alejandro Contreras is a master’s candidate who obtained his undergraduate degree in Electronic Media from the University of Texas at El Paso where he worked for NPR-member station KTEP. He interned with the local NBC news affiliate and has also worked for the only Christian television station in El Paso. At ASU, he is one of the main anchors of Cronkite NewsWatch en Español. Originally from Kansas City, Mo., Óscar has lived in Mexico City and has traveled all over Western Europe in his pursuit to become a world-citizen. He is fluent in English, Spanish, and French.
Caitlin Cruz is pursuing combined bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Cronkite School and Barrett, The Honors College. She serves as the executive editor of The State Press, the independent student news organization at ASU; previously she served as editor in chief, news editor and magazine writer. Caitlin has interned with the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and with the Arizona Republic. Caitlin spent the summer of 2013 as a reporter for News21, the investigative journalism project funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Perla Farias was born and raised in the Bay Area, but after living half her life in Arizona, she now calls the Southwest her home. She graduated in May 2013 with Bachelor's degrees in Journalism and Justice Studies at ASU. Her focus is in visual media with an interest in conceptual and journalistic photography. Farias strives to tell important and compelling stories of marginalized communities. She hopes to continue to use her technical media skills to share knowledge and dissect social justice issues.
Peter Haden is a photographer and multimedia journalist who has reported on development issues in India, Eastern Europe and the Americas. He is currently a master’s degree candidate at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Haden’s early years were spent shearing sheep on his family farm in Iowa. He spent the summer of 2013 as a reporter for News21, the investigative journalism project funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Harmony Huskinson is pursuing a dual bachelor’s and master’s degree in journalism at the Cronkite School. She has worked as an editorial intern at Phoenix Magazine, a reporter at The State Press, an editor at State Press Magazine and a community intern at The Arizona Republic. Harmony spent the summer of 2013 as an intern at National Geographic magazine in Washington, D.C.
Dominique L. Johnson
Dominique L. Johnson is currently in the Master's program at the Cronkite School where she is focusing on broadcast reporting. Originally a Southern Californian native, Johnson has a B.A. in Communications from California State University, Fullerton. Johnson has interned at KTLA news in Los Angeles and one day hopes to produce in depth stories that bring attention to marginalized groups and issues of class and culture.
Trahern W. Jones
Trahern W. Jones is both a medical student and graduate journalism student under the Mayo-Cronkite fellowship program. He finished his M.M.C. in the summer of 2013 and returned to Mayo Medical School to complete his M.D. His writing interests focus on science, medicine and technology.
Andrew Knochel is a master’s student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He holds a degree in urban planning from ASU and lives in Phoenix, where he drinks lots of water, along with the occasional beer. Andrew writes about water issues in Arizona and the Southwest. He spent the summer of 2013 as a reporter for News21, the investigative journalism project funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Alexandra Lancial is a Southern California native finishing her junior year. She has worked for Arizona Highways Television and currently works for a small production company, Vicinity Films. She was the director of photography for an award-winning student documentary, “Scholarslip.” Alex hopes to continue working on documentaries after she graduates with a bachelor’s and master’s in 2014. She is a certified rescue diver and a shark advocate.
Rachel Leingang is a Minnesota State University-Moorhead graduate and North Dakota native, who is now a master’s degree student at ASU. After receiving her Bachelors in print journalism and international studies, she worked for AmeriCorps as a program coordinator. She came to Cronkite to diversify her multimedia skills and explore new ways to tell stories. She plans to be a multi-platform investigative journalist who thinks beyond what's already been done. Rachel spent the summer of 2013 as a reporter for News21, the investigative journalism project funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Tara Molina hails from Cleveland, Ohio, and is pursuing a dual bachelor’s and master’s degree in broadcast journalism and mass communications. She will be reporting for the live student newscast, Cronkite NewsWatch, in the fall of 2013. Tara produced a documentary on the student debt crisis this year that placed second at the Broadcast Education Association festival. She has worked at print and online publications in her hometown, interned at the NBC and Fox affiliates in Cleveland as well as "The List" in Phoenix and will spent the summer of 2013 working at Fox Chicago.
Katie Mykleseth is a Barrett Honors student pursuing a dual masters and bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication. She has been an intern at Right This Minute and a multimedia journalist for ASU’s student publication The State Press. Born in Fargo, North Dakota, and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Mykleseth enjoys dry humor and uncomfortable sarcasm. Mykleseth backpacked Europe before attending the Cronkite School and is interested in international reporting and travel journalism.
Lillian Reid is a senior at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and focuses on print and digital platforms with a special interest in photojournalism. After graduation in the summer of 2013 she will continue her job as a photographer and graphic designer while searching for a foreign correspondent position that will allow her to travel the world. She believes that the best stories are the ones that are the hardest to tell and the best photos let you live for a moment in another person's life.
David Robles is a reporter and multimedia journalist who graduated in May 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. The son of Mexican immigrants, Robles was born in Tucson, raised in Little Rock, Ark., and spent time studying abroad in Milan, Italy. He is interested in long form storytelling, international reporting and travel journalism. Robles has worked as a research assistant for reporter Amanda Crawford’s drug news blog Crawford On Drugs, as an intern with The Arizona Republic and as a photo intern for The Phoenix New Times.
Cassondra Strande graduated in May 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She grew up in Phoenix, Ariz., and went to high school in Minot, N.D. She has interned with KPNX, the Arizona Republic, USA Today and several other media companies. Additionally, she has reported for Cronkite News in Washington, D.C. and from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
Molly Smith recently completed a bachelor’s degree in journalism at the Cronkite School, with a focus in writing and photography. She has interned with The Arizona Republic and Arizona Highways magazine, and served as the photo editor of The State Press for a semester. She was a member of 2012's depth reporting team focusing on Puerto Rican statehood and immigration issues. During the summer of 2013 Molly participated in a two week student journalism institute with The New York Times before traveling to Portland, Oregon, for a multimedia internship with The Oregonian.
Master Tesfatsion graduated in May 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and is the first in his family to attend college. His emphasis is sports journalism and he’s worked for ESPN, The Seattle Times and Rivals.com He currently works for mlb.com in Houston. When he's not reporting, Master is in community at his local church and still gets a good laugh watching reruns of Martin.
Web and Multimedia Support
Erik Rivera produced the site's pages, photo slideshows, and top banner.
Rodriguez is the Cronkite School’s Carnegie Professor of Journalism. The former executive editor of The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee, Rodriguez was the first Latino president of the American Society of News Editors. He came to the Cronkite School in 2008 to develop a new cross-disciplinary specialization in the coverage of issues related to Latinos and the U.S.-Mexico border. Rodriguez is known nationally as a champion of watchdog journalism and newsroom diversity.
Manning is director of student media at ASU, serving as adviser and publisher to the university's student-run news outlets. He is also a member of the Cronkite School's faculty. He previously was politics editor for washingtonpost.com, where he led the website’s coverage of the federal government and national campaign politics.