Award-Winning Journalist to Speak at UM About Reporting on the Border

January 23, 2019

 Jean Guerrero MISSOULA – The University of Montana School of Journalism will host award-winning journalist and author Jean Guerrero for a lecture at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4, in Law Building Room 101.

Guerrero’s Emmy-winning reporting focuses on the U.S.-Mexican border, currently at the center of the far-reaching policy dispute in Washington, D.C., over whether to build the wall proposed by President Donald Trump.            

Guerrero’s knowledge of border issues runs deep. She is currently the “Fronteras” border issues reporter for public broadcasting station KPBS in San Diego, and her series “America’s Wall” won two Emmys in 2018. The multimedia investigation traces the history of the existing border walls and fences, which Trump has promised to expand dramatically.

Her stories document the growth of border barriers under both Democratic and Republican administrations, leading to the 2018-19 federal government shutdown over Trump’s demand for additional wall funding. Her stories also document the impact of the border on the lives of local residents, from anti-immigration vigilantes to rescuers who offer to help those making the dangerous crossing.

Guerrero’s own personal story has been shaped by the border, and she has been recognized with the prestigious PEN/FUSION Emerging Writers Prize for her new memoir, “Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir.” In it, she explores her own family history as it is shaped by the tensions between her Mexican-American father and her mother, who grew up in Puerto Rico and became a physician in San Diego. Guerrero’s father wrestled with depression and drug abuse for years, tearing the family apart and motivating her to search for her family’s mystical roots south of the border. The memoir reflects on the ease with which the author crosses into her father’s homeland and on the tumultuous historical relationship between the two countries.

“This visit comes at a critical time in border history,” said former UM School of Journalism Dean Larry Abramson, who will introduce Guerrero. “Jean’s visit is a chance for our students to get beyond the headlines of the immigrant caravans and the wall and think about how to cover this issue as thoughtfully as possible.”

The lecture is open to the public, and Guerrero also will speak with journalism students in a UM classroom.

For more information call Abramson at 202-590-8536 or email larry.abramson@mso.umt.edu.

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Contact: Larry Abramson, UM special adviser to the provost, 202-590-8536, larry.abramson@mso.umt.edu.