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Photo Team to Explore “Children of the Borderlands”

January 13, 2006

A team from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University will conduct an in-depth photojournalism project in Mexico exploring the plight of children living in the borderlands region.

The Buffett Foundation Photojournalism Project: Children of the Borderlands is made possible through a generous $50,000 grant from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Illinois-based non-profit organization founded by the international photojournalist, author and philanthropist.

2 girls in wheelchairs
Photographer Brandon Quester

Five advanced photojournalism students will conduct research and plan their fieldwork under the guidance of two Cronkite School associate faculty members before traveling to Mexico to “tell” - through their photographs - the story of the region’s children. Upon their return, the team will produce a series of photo essays on the borderlands children, which will be published by the School.

“This is an extraordinary learning opportunity for some of our best and brightest photojournalism students,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “And they will be exploring a region and issues that are enormously important to ASU, the Cronkite School and Mr. Buffett.”

The Buffett Project builds on a series of recent Cronkite School initiatives that focus on coverage of the borderlands. Last year 14 Cronkite students traveled to Monterrey, Mexico, to produce “Crossing Borders,” an in-depth series of stories on the region’s economy. And later this year the School will add to the full-time faculty a veteran journalist as part of ASU’s Southwest Borderlands Initiative.

Kristin Gilger, director of ASU’s Student Media and a former deputy managing editor at The Arizona Republic, and Christine Keith, an award-winning photojournalist at The Republic and an associate faculty member at the Cronkite School, will lead the team.

3 children in field
Photographer Jeremiah Armenta

“We’re all very excited,” Gilger said. “It’s rare that you get this kind of chance to work on a visual project of such depth and significance.”

Buffett provided the scholarship money in the hopes that the students would experience the “human condition.” On his Web site, Buffett said photography is “ more than an art form; it is a way to see the world, to experience nature in all of its forms, to learn about other people and to develop friendships in many countries.”

Samples of his photography are on display in the Stauffer Building at ASU.

The five Buffett Scholars selected for the Children of the Borderlands team are:

Jeremiah Armenta. Armenta is a U.S. Air Force veteran going to school on the G.I. Bill. He hopes to graduate this year with a degree in photojournalism. Armenta will be working this spring as a photographer for The Arizona Republic as a Chips Quinn Scholar, a Gannett Corp. internship program for minority journalism students.

Aldie Gregoire. Gregoire has worked as a photojournalism intern at The Arizona Republic and as a photographer at The State Press, the campus daily newspaper. He designed the award-winning “Crossing Borders” news Web site. Gregoire was born in Maui and spent two years as a cavalry scout in the Army before moving to Arizona. He graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in December and is now studying in the School’s graduate journalism program.

Kelley Karnes. Karnes was a State Press photo editor and a photo intern at The Republic. A senior, she won first place for general news photography last year in the Society of Professional Journalists’ regional college journalism competition.

Danielle Peterson. Peterson was a State Press photo editor and interned at the Molalla Pioneer in Molallo, Ore. A member of the “Crossing Borders” team, she will be studying in the graduate program this spring.

Brandon Quester. Quester has been a contributing photographer for the East Valley Tribune, SWEAT Magazine and The State Press. With Gregoire, he designed the “Crossing Borders” Web site.