Aug. 9, 2019, e-Cursor: School welcomes 2 new professors; Tarquinio, Verwys win national awards; digital specialty offered; audio, RPA projects earn grants.

New professors Jéssica Retis (left) and Ruxandra Guidi will begin teaching this fall.


New faculty members Jéssica Retis and Ruxandra Guidi are committed to diversity and helping develop a bilingual journalism program at the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

Retis, an associate professor who grew up in Peru, comes from Cal State Northridge and specializes in the analysis of contemporary Latino diaspora and its media implications.

She's taught and conducted research in Mexico and Spain and has nearly 20 years of experience as a journalist at publications such as Fin de Semana, Universal and Ojo in Peru, and Revista Mexicana de Comunicación, El Nacional and Reforma in Mexico. Retis also has experience as a producer, scriptwriter and news anchor for television stations.

“I really enjoy sharing my ongoing research findings with students,” Retis said. “I am passionate about training open-minded and critically thinking journalists. I’m proud when I see my former students publishing their stories and doing fantastic coverage.”

Guidi, an assistant professor of practice who grew up in Venezuela, has been a freelance reporter, editor and teacher for two decades.

She specializes in audio reporting and podcasting and has contributed to High Country News, BBC’s The World, NPR’s Latino USA, The Guardian and the Kitchen Sisters. With her husband she created the Fonografia Collective website, focusing on “empathetic and culturally sensitive documentary storytelling about everyday people around the world.”
Guidi succeeds retired Professor Terry Wimmer as the instructor and editor for Arizona Sonora News, the school’s capstone media course. She’s excited about helping students “dream up” unique approaches to stories while learning how to report on the community and the border.
“And I'm really excited about coming up with projects that we can do together as a class,” such as podcasting or a long-form magazine with a theme, “encouraging students to pursue their own approach to storytelling,” Guidi said.

Both professors see a need for more diverse, investigative and collaborative reporting. That includes helping develop a bilingual journalism program at the school.

“I think this type of program will help prepare journalists for the current society we live in,” Retis said.

Director Carol Schwalbe said the school is “excited about having these talented, dynamic professors join our faculty and inspire our students.”
“Jéssica has conducted ground-breaking research about the contemporary diaspora of Latinos and their influence on global media,” Schwalbe said. “Rux is a gifted storyteller who works across platforms and looks for new ways to tell stories in intelligent, thoughtful and sensitive ways.”

Read more about Retis.
Read more about Guidi.
Student/alumni and faculty and staff kudos
More news. • e-Cursor archive

Monday, Aug. 26
Fall semester begins.

Friday, Sept. 20
Zenger Award for Press Freedom reception and lunch, 11:30 a.m., Marriott University Park, honoring Christiane Amanpour of CNN. Tickets and story

Wednesday, Sept. 25
Journalism on Screen, “Anthropocene,” documentary on the environment, 7:30 p.m., Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway. Q&A with Jim Robbins, N.Y. Times science writer, and UA Prof. Susan Swanberg. More details
Friday, Oct. 11
UA Presidential Scholar and former chief White House photographer David Hume Kennerly will be joined by fellow Pulitzer Prize winner and historian Jon Meacham, 7 p.m., for a free talk at Centennial Hall. More info

Sunday, Oct. 20
Journalism on Screen, “Mississippi Burning,” 
2 p.m., followed by a Q&A with screenwriter Chris Gerolmo and moderator Will Conroy of the Arizona Inn. More details

• At least 10 nominees with UA J-school ties are up for Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards, including Prof. Michael McKisson. More details 

Jay Gonzales (’80) was named president of the Tucson Sugar Skulls indoor football team.
• Shea Sorenson (’14) returned to Tucson to be KVOA-TV’s morning and noon meteorologist.
Brittny Mejia (’14) of the L.A. Times was one of eight journalists nationally to be awarded a 2019-2020 Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism.

Jeffrey Williams ('00), assistant principal of instruction for the Phoenix Union High School District, died of pneumonia Aug. 7. Services are Aug. 17.

Tarquinio, Verwys win nat'l awards

Student Shayne Tarquinio (left) and recent grad Jamie Verwys captured first-place awards in the national 2019 AEJMC Student Media Contest for stories they produced for Arizona Sonora News.

Tarquinio wrote a profile of Raging Sage — “A coffee shop where the range of Tucson mingles” — in Prof. William Schmidt’s feature writing class. It won in the specialized business category. Verwys' story, “Exploring gender (pay) gap in Arizona's college leadership,” won in the  investigation and analysis category. She wrote it in retired Prof. Terry Wimmer’s ASN class.

The two will receive $100 each and certificates from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Tarquino story 
Verwys story

Majors can earn digital specialty

Undergraduate students now have a third option  — digital journalism — for earning a specialization on their transcripts and diplomas.

Undergrads also can specialize in broadcast journalism or global journalism. Master’s candidates can specialize in digital, global or science and environmental journalism.

“The digital specialization includes some amazing classes, like product development, data reporting, mobile application development and advanced multimedia production,” said Professor Michael McKisson. He will teach a new course in the spring called Drone Zone.

“These classes will help students stand out and get a job when they graduate.” 

Read full story.

Guidi, Ferguson land Litzow grants

Students will receive training in audio storytelling and can participate in a reporting project about evictions, thanks to fall 2019 faculty engagement grants awarded to Professor Ruxandra Guidi and adjunct instructor Joe Ferguson (center). 

Donor Al Litzow (’73, right) sponsors the grants each semester. 

Guidi will receive $2,000 to buy new audio recording kits for podcasting as part of a new vision for Arizona Sonora News.

Ferguson, a reporter for the Arizona Daily Star and 2006 J-school alum, will receive $1,000 for a student reporting project in his Reporting Public Affairs class: “Digging into eviction court, uncovering the realities of a lopsided system.”

Read full story.

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