December 11, 2018

Reporting Border Conflict: Stifled News, Lost Lives

by Mort Rosenblum

Award-winning journalists with decades of global reporting experience will explore how border conflict from Sonora to Syria skews reality and endangers reporters in a free public discussion on Tuesday, February 18 at 5 p.m. in the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography. The UA School of Journalism and the OPC are sponsoring the talk.

In the past two years, 159 journalists were killed in pursuit of news, according to Reporters Without Borders. Another 1,705 were arrested, 125 were kidnapped and 150 had to flee their countries. Growing threats on the safety and security of journalists impact heavily on how stories are covered. Some home-based editors and reporters censor themselves in fear for their families. Correspondents often travel with security guards in conflict zones.

Bill Schmidt, the panel moderator, retired as The New York Times deputy managing editor in 2013 and joined the UA faculty. Panelists are Giannina Segnini, investigations editor at La Nacion in Costa Rica; Ricardo Sandoval Palos, veteran Latin America reporter and human rights researcher; and OPC member Mort Rosenblum, Paris-based former Associated Press special correspondent who teaches International Reporting at the UA.

Schmidt directed the Times’ efforts to keep scores of far-ranging correspondents and stringers safe in hostile environments. He helped ensure a steady stream of reliable news from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and North Africa. Before returning to New York, he was based in London, from where he covered the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans.

Segnini’s prize-winning team has disclosed 10 cases of international corruption, including one that sent two former Costa Rican presidents to jail. She travels widely and is a featured speaker and jury member at international conferences on investigative journalism. She also teaches at the University of Costa Rica.

Sandoval spent a decade in Latin America for the Dallas Morning News and Knight-Ridder writing hard-hitting stories on drugs and border issues. He then supervised global investigative journalists for The Center for Public Integrity and researched border issues for Human Rights Watch. He is now organizing an international news venture.

Rosenblum, a UA graduate, joined AP from the Arizona Daily Star in 1965. He has covered war and peace on four continents, from Congo and Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. He edited the International Herald Tribune from 1979 to 1981. An eight-time Pulitzer nominee, he has written a series of books about global news coverage.

Panelists will focus on the U.S.-Mexico border and Central America within a global context and then take questions from the audience.

The event takes place on Tuesday, February 18 at 5 p.m. in the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography at 1030 North Olive Road. RSVP by calling the OPC at 212-626-9220.