Dallas Morning News reporter visits Columbia College

Alfredo Corchado, reporter and author, described the day in 2007 when his life changed forever.

In July that year, a source called the Dallas Morning News reporter, who works in Mexico City, to say that the drug cartels had a list of several journalists they planned to assassinate. Corchado, the source said, should get out of Mexico.

“At that moment, the room started spinning, I almost dropped my phone,” Corchado told an audience of about 40 at Columbia College Chicago recently. “I felt sick.”

Corchado, much to the dismay of his family, did not leave but stayed to report the story and find out who was making the threats. “As journalists, the truth is our best weapon,” Corchado said.

The author of “Midnight in Mexico,” which is part memoir and part reporting on Mexico, was in Chicago to promote his book and discuss covering violence and being a journalists from two worlds — America and Mexico.

Corchado told the audience that he was born in Mexico but grew up in Texas the eldest of nine children. And in the book, Midnight in Mexico, published in May 2013, Corchado’s talks about his experiences as a reporter and his struggle to identify with his Mexican heritage versus beginning apart of American culture. He also told the audience that he outlines the stories he covered, such as: immigration, drug violence, foreign exchange as well as the missing women from Juarez and the drug cartels.

Corchado was introduced and later interviewed by his friend Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, of Columbia College Chicago’s journalism department.

The evening was sponsored by Community Media Workshop, the Columbia College Chicago Journalism Department, the Chicago Headline Club and the National Hispanic Journalist’s Columbia College chapter.

Susy Schultz wrote this article. Bianca Martinez and Ariel Parrella-Aureli, members of the National Hispanic Journalists club and journalism students at Columbia College Chicago, contributed reporting.

Veteran Journalist to Head Community Media Workshop

Veteran journalist, editor and strategist Susy Schultz is taking over as executive director of the Community Media Workshop. After 25 years at the helm of the Community Media Workshop, co-founder and president Thom Clark is stepping aside from day-to-day management of the nonprofit based at Columbia College Chicago.

“Susy will bring a wealth of energy, experience and ideas to crafting the next chapter of the Workshop’s core work in building the capacity of organizations to tell their stories more effectively,” Clark said. “She deeply understands how contextual journalism helps us all understand our world better and how important it is to get under-represented voices into the public square of civic life.”

“I am excited about leading the Community Media Workshop through its next stage,” Schultz said. “Now more than ever Chicago and the region need what the Workshop provides to area nonprofits and working journalists as we all journey through the shifting media landscape.”

Schultz has worked for newspapers, a wire service, websites, and magazines covering politics, health care, business and parenting for the Chicago Sun-Times (where she and Clark first met) The Chicago Reporter, the Chicago Tribune, New York Times Syndicate and Chicago Parent. She has also worked as a public information office for a federal agency and the city’s department of public health. She was communications director at the Chicago Foundation for Women. Most recently, she was managing editor for The Daily Journal in Kankakee and now teaches at Columbia College Chicago.

Clark will assist Schultz in her transition this month into her new role at the Workshop, through the organization’s 25th anniversary Studs Terkel Community Media Awards (March 6 at Columbia ‘s Film Row Cinema), and will continue his work as a nonprofit communications trainer. Next week he leads the Workshop’s signature training, Professional Media Relations. Clark will provide consulting services to the Workshop and other nonprofits. A book on his activist past is also in the works.

The Community Media Workshop trains nonprofits to use communications more effectively to forward their missions. Through training workshops, conferences and media forums, it helps organizations understand how to move from proposalese and jargon to effective storytelling. The Workshop also works with journalists to enrich their reporting with better sourcing and context on community issues. Its recent research on the shifting media landscape can be found at http://chicagonewnews.org/.

Read Susy’s full bio here.

Read Michael Miner’s coverage of our leadership change on the Chicago Reader blog.

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