Frontera List Border Violence

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1. What do you propose to do? [20 words]

Visualize data about border violence to re-frame news coverage, keep record, and engage communities in healing through storytelling and art.

2. How will your project make data more useful? [50 words]

Classify and visualize data on violence will challenge official record keeping and interpretations of the causes of violence in the U.S. and Mexico. Community storytelling and art (ex votos, retablos, and photography) will foster a space for reflection, expression, understanding, and possibly healing.

3. How is your project different from what already exists? [30 words]

The project will classify and visualize data related to diverse forms of violence: economic, political, cultural, and judicial, to help expand and re-frame notions of violence in the news coverage.

4. Why will it work? [100 words]

Mexican communities in the border region need channels to find reliable information, express their own fears and emotions, exchange stories, or simply commiserate. These communities are living under extreme duress equal only to a totalitarian regime. Impunity and silence prevail. Moreover, American communities in the border need a space where they can find more comprehensive data of the violence and stories from those affected. American communities have been misinformed, their family ties across the border have been broken, and they have lost faith in a common trans-border destiny due to police and military build up.

5. Who is working on it? [100 words]

Frontera List, a project of New Mexico State University librarian Molly Molloy; the Border Journalism Network (BJN), a binational coalition of journalism educators, professional journalists, and students; and the Institute for Arts and Media of California State University, Northridge (CSUN), are working together in developing resources to collect and preserve information on the border region, improve the quality of border journalism, and engage university communities in a dialogue about the border. University journalism students in Arizona, Texas, California, and New Mexico have already started this collaboration, which we will expand to include professional journalists, community activists, and artists on both sides of the border.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [100 words]

Since 2008, Frontera List has archived more than 5,000 stories on the violence at the border, particularly in Juárez. The Institute for Arts and Media at CSUN and the University of Arizona are conducting oral histories with journalists and activists from Juárez/El Paso and Agua Prieta/Douglas, and the Institute is archiving the photographic collection of Juárez photojournalist Julián Cardona. The Border Journalism Network, which includes journalism educators at 13 universities, has produced teaching tools on how to cover the border and has sponsored the first student collaboration on border coverage, in which students share stories produced for their own outlets.

7. How would you use News Challenge funds? [50 words]

We will classify information about border killings in Frontera List stories; create infrastructure to archive data and create an interactive website; recruit journalists, educators, activists, and artists at the border; and develop tools to train students, journalists, activists, and educators to collect and visualize data about border violence.

8. How would you sustain the project after the funding expires? [50 words]

Librarian Molloy will continue updating Frontera List. Specific visual, journalistic, and artistic projects could be launched using crowdfunding. Funding will also be available through grants to the Border Journalism Network from private foundations and to the Institute for Arts and Media from foundations and government programs that support the arts.

Requested amount: $200,000

Expected number of months to complete project: 12 months
Total Project Cost: $300.000
Name: José Luis Benavides
Twitter: @jlbenavides
Email address [optional]:
Organization: Institute for Arts and Media (California State University Northridge), and Border Journalism Network
City: Los Angeles
Country: USA
How did you learn about the contest? Personal networks

About virginiaisaad

Virginia is a journalist based in Los Angeles who's written for publications including Los Angeles magazine, Upworthy, and Elite Daily. She was born in Argentina and raised in the San Fernando Valley along with her three siblings. Fun fact: She took a Chicanas and Feminism course with Eva Longoria while studying for her master's in mass communication at California State University, Northridge. Follow her on Twitter @virginiaisaad

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