Journalism students report from Dominican Republic

March 15, 2011

Seventeen students from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University are spending their spring break in the Dominican Republic reporting on immigration issues.

Students will be in the country for 10 days, reporting and shooting photos and video for an in-depth, Web-based project and a television package. They are led by Rick Rodriguez, the school’s Carnegie Professor of Journalism, and Jason Manning, director of Student Media. Download Full Image

The project is part of a depth reporting class taught by Rodriguez. Students spent the first part of the semester preparing for the trip by researching the issue of stateless people in the Dominican Republic, a subject Rodriguez called “timely and important,” in part because of a debate in the United States over the citizenship status of children born to undocumented immigrants.

The Dominican Republic revoked birthright citizenship last year. Previously, individuals born in the country were automatically considered citizens. The new law prevents individuals born to people residing in the country illegally from obtaining identification documents, limiting access to important services, such as education, health care and housing.

Some lawmakers in Arizona have proposed similar legislation to address illegal immigration into the United States.

Cronkite students are based in Santo Domingo and are traveling around the country interviewing government officials, legal residents and immigrants from neighboring Haiti, who flood into the Dominican in search of jobs, education and health care.

Rodriguez said the experience is invaluable for students, who are learning to negotiate cultural and language barriers while reporting stories of depth and consequence. The stories will be offered to professional media outlets for publication as well as being published at Cronkite News (">"> and broadcast on Cronkite NewsWatch, the school’s award-winning student-produced newscast.

The student reporting project is funded by a $1 million endowment to the Cronkite School from the Buffett Foundation, which is led by philanthropist and photojournalist Howard Buffett. Since 2006, his foundation has funded four other projects that have given Cronkite students the opportunity to practice journalism in other countries, including Mexico and South Africa.

One of the Mexico-based projects, “Divided Families,” was the recipient of the 2009 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in the college print journalism category. The award recognizes outstanding reporting around the world on social justice and human rights concerns.

Racetracks in Arizona – it's not what you think

March 16, 2011

The talk is titled “Recent Advances in Central Arizona Racetrack Research,” but it doesn’t involve horses.

Instead, during the free lecture at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 21, at Arizona State University’s Deer Valley Rock Art Center, Will G. Russell will talk about linear ground features that were built in central Arizona in the mid-13th century. Download Full Image

Russell, a doctoral student in ASU’s archaeology program, notes that over time, scores more of these ground features were built, but the vast majority were placed atop Perry Mesa.

Russell has argued that these features were ceremonial racetracks used for social integration during an instance of ethnogenesis (the emergence of a distinct, recognizable, ethnic identity). Although ceremonial racing was likely important throughout the Southwest, the collection of tracks on Perry Mesa was unprecedented.

Ongoing research has shed new light on the spatial distribution, temporal trajectory, and social significance of these enigmatic features. Russell’s talk will cover new discoveries, approaches, and volunteer opportunities.

Russell also is a doctoral research fellow with the National Science Foundation and Ford Foundation. His dissertation research examines prehistoric religious development in central Arizona by looking at the genesis and transformation of a ritual racetrack network.

Deer Valley Rock Art Center is located at 3711 W. Deer Valley Road, two blocks west of 35th Avenue.

The Deer Valley Rock Art Center has the largest concentration of Native American petroglyphs in the Phoenix Valley. Visitors hike a 1/4-mile trail to view more than 1,500 petroglyphs made between 500 and 7,000 years ago. The museum aims to promote preservation, connection and respect for the site and is a destination for families to learn about archaeology in their own backyard.

The Center is managed by one of the top archaeology programs in the country – the School of Human Evolution & Social Change, an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – at ASU. DVRAC is a Phoenix Point of Pride.

For more information, contact Kim Arth at (623) 582-8007 or kimberly.arth">">