immigration policy front and center in this year’s political campaigns,
14 journalists have been selected to take part in a fellowship program
that challenges reporters to go beyond familiar sound bites and cover
the complexities of immigration with depth and context.
The Immigration in the Heartland program is being conducted by the
Institute for Justice and Journalism in partnership with the University
of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication and
its Institute for Research and Training. It is funded by a grant from
the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.
An April 20-25 conference will feature discussions with experts, field
reporting and professional workshops at Gaylord College in Norman and in
Oklahoma City. Issues to be explored include the election-year debate
over immigration policy, the electoral impact of immigrants, the
demographics of immigration, new developments in state legislation and
the effect of federal, state and local enforcement programs.
The selected journalists, from print, broadcast and online reporting sites, are:
Each fellow will produce an in-depth project story or a series of
shorter stories about immigration. The program’s faculty includes seven
IJJ senior fellows: Vallery Brown, staff reporter at the Oklahoman;
Daniel Kowalski, immigration attorney and editor-in-chief of Bender’s
Immigration Bulletin; Phuong Ly, director of Gateway California; Kari
Lydersen, Chicago freelancer; Martha Mendoza, national writer for the
Associated Press; Dianne Solís, senior writer at the Dallas Morning
News, and Warren Vieth, a Gaylord College professor and interim editor
for Oklahoma Watch.
The Institute for Justice and Journalism, based in Oakland, Calif.,
supports in-depth reporting and commentary through professional
development fellowships and workshops. IJJ is an independent 501(c)3
organization, building on nine years of affiliation with the Annenberg
School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern
California. Its website provides reporting resources to strengthen
journalism about justice issues.
Pulitzer Prize winners will participate in the 2012 Immigration in the
Heartland conference at Gaylord College in April. Vargas, Kammer and
Mendoza are among more than a dozen immigration experts and veteran
reporters who will work with the 14 professional journalists who
received Heartland reporting fellowships this year.
Jose Antonio Vargas,
a former Washington Post reporter who sparked a national debate last
year by writing “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” for the New York
Times Magazine, will speak to conference participants on the evening of
Monday, April 23. Vargas, founder of the advocacy group Define American,
was part of a Washington Post team that won a Pulitzer for its coverage
of the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech.
a former Arizona Republic immigration reporter who now researches
policy issues for the Center for Immigration Studies. Kammer received a
Pulitzer in 2005 for exposing the Randy Cunningham congressional bribery
an Associated Press national writer based in California, will train
conference participants in the use of the TRAC immigration database and
the Freedom of Information Act process. Mendoza won a 2000 Pulitzer
Prize as part of a team that revealed how American soldiers early in the
Korean War killed hundreds of civilians at the No Gun Ri bridge."