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Award-winning Journalists Launching Bilingual Border Reporting Specialty at ASU

September 3, 2015

News21
Award-winning journalists Alfredo Corchado and Angela Kocherga are the new ASU Southwest Borderlands Initiative Professors at the Cronkite School.

Two award-winning journalists specializing in coverage of Mexico, the U.S.-Mexico border and Latino issues are joining Arizona State University to launch a new bilingual border and Latino reporting program at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Alfredo Corchado and Angela Kocherga will serve as professors and editors for the borderlands desk of Cronkite News at Arizona PBS, the school’s rapidly expanding daily news operation that serves as an immersive and innovative learning laboratory for students and provides Arizonans with daily news coverage of critical regional issues on TV and digital platforms.

The pair, who will hold the faculty rank of professors of practice, also will teach advanced journalism courses in which students will produce digital and TV news reports in Spanish and English.

Corchado is the Mexico City bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News and author of “Midnight in Mexico,” a 2013 memoir that chronicles a reporter’s search for home amid the backdrop of his native country’s deadly drug violence that has left tens of thousands killed or missing. He has reported on Mexico’s drug cartels, organized crime and political corruption as well as U.S. policies in Latin America. He is the recipient of several major national journalism awards, including the Maria Moors Cabot Prize in 2007 and the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Prize from Colby College in 2010.

Corchado started his career as a reporter at the El Paso Herald Post while completing his degree at the University of Texas at El Paso. He reported for The Wall Street Journal in Philadelphia and Dallas before joining The Dallas Morning News, where he has been the newspaper’s Mexico correspondent since 1994. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., and a visiting fellow at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University. He is working on a second book, “Shadows at Dawn, The Last Great Mexican Migration.”

Kocherga began covering the U.S.-Mexico border in 1999, first for the Belo Corp., a Dallas-based media company, and then for the Gannett Co., which purchased Belo in 2013. She also served in the same role for Tegna Inc., formerly the broadcast division of Gannett. From her bureau in El Paso-Ciudad Juarez, she has reported on border security, drug smuggling, gun running and immigration issues as well as the economic, political and cultural influences of Latinos in the United States. She has won two Emmys for her work on escalating violence in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and traveled to Honduras last year for a series of special reports on the mass migration of children from Mexico to the United States.

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Kocherga started her career as a public radio reporter in El Paso, Texas. She later served as a reporter and producer for KDBC-TV, the CBS affiliate in El Paso, and WFAA-TV, the ABC-affiliated station that serves the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and Mexico bureau chief for KHOU-TV, the CBS affiliate serving Houston.

“We’re thrilled that Angela and Alfredo are joining Cronkite to launch this critically important initiative,” said Christopher Callahan, dean of Cronkite and CEO of Arizona PBS. “Journalism is in desperate need of young journalists who can produce deep, sophisticated and nuanced stories about the increasingly important Latino population on multiple platforms and in multiple languages.”

Corchado and Kocherga will be ASU Southwest Borderlands Initiative Professors. The borderlands initiative, created in 2001 to enhance research and teaching focused on the Southwest and the U.S.-Mexico border, has 25 faculty members across eight ASU colleges. They will join Cronkite’s Southwest Borderlands Professor Rick Rodriguez, the former executive editor of The Sacramento Bee and the first Latino president of the American Society of News Editors.

“I’m excited to be joining the top-notch team at the Cronkite School, a place where I can continue to practice the profession I love,” Kocherga said. “Coverage of the Southwest border has never been more critical. As journalists, we have a responsibility to go beyond crisis-oriented coverage and political rhetoric to show the complex realities. I look forward to working with students to craft compelling, visual borderland stories for Cronkite News.”

Corchado said journalism is a lifelong, incurable passion and a powerful bridge between cultures and countries. “As a working correspondent, I’m thrilled to share that knowledge with the next generation of journalists alongside respected colleagues at the Cronkite School, a school that strives for journalism excellence and innovation in our field,” he said. “This opportunity comes at a critical time; our profession is reinventing itself, and our country is undergoing deep demographic changes.”

Cronkite News, with bureaus in Phoenix, Washington and Los Angeles, includes a 30-minute weeknight newscast on Arizona PBS, which reaches 1.9 million households across the state, and a mobile-engaged digital news site at cronkitenews.azpbs.org. Cronkite News has 15 full-time faculty members serving in various news leadership roles and more than 120 students each semester.

Corchado and Kocherga are among several recent high-profile journalists to join Cronkite News. Last month, Kevin Dale, a top editor who helped lead The Denver Post to a Pulitzer Prize, was named executive editor. Eric Newton, a leading news innovator and longtime executive of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, joined the news organization this past summer as its first innovation chief.