Border journalism in the new media age

The San Diego Union-Tribune, which is reportedly being considered for sale, is going through another round of voluntary staff reductions. Exempt from this option is Sandra Dibble, a veteran journalist who arguably knows the Baja California border better than any other U.S. reporter.

Sandra is all that’s left of the paper’s long-standing Mexico staff (reporter Leslie Berestein covers immigration out of San Diego, and Omar Millan writes primarily for the paper’s Spanish-language Enlace). Sandra and I used to work together at the paper’s Tijuana office. In December, I took a voluntary buyout and so did border business reporter Diane Lindquist. The company’s long-time Mexico City correspondent, S. Lynne Walker, also opted out.

Since then, I’ve started this blog and graduate school. Diane created a border business web site. And S. Lynne Walker is vice president of the UCSD-based Institute of the Americas. The media landscape is changing drastically as the Internet creates new ways of sharing information and disrupts traditional advertising models. The paper’s decision to protect the lone-standing border reporter is both a hopeful and sad testimony to journalism’s struggle to survive.

I recently wrote a paper on the past and future of border journalism, “Border Journalism in the New Media Age,” that was published by the University of San Diego-based  Trans-Border Institute. For an interesting graphic on journalism layoffs and buyouts go here.

Map image from Wikimedia Commons classified as being in the public domain.

3 responses to “Border journalism in the new media age

  1. The editors of the Union Tribune had an amazing lack of vision when they allowed the border reporters to go last year, losing years of experience and institutional history and three top-knotch reporters.
    One can only hope that the new buyers will see that the border is critical to San Diego in so many ways, and dedicate some resources to its coverage.

  2. It’s a sad comment on the state of newspapers that not just the Union-Tribune, but also other newspapers (Arizona Daily Star, among others) have slashed their border bureaus. The beat is way too fascinating and significant for newspapers to treat it that way. Glad to see that you and a handful of other super-determined people are continuing to report on the border despite the short-sightedness and increasing irrelevance of basically almost the entire newspaper industry at this time. Best of luck to you, and I’ll recommend your site to other interested readers.

  3. Thanks so much for your support, kbc10, and for your appreciation of news along the border.

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