Journalists from throughout the Americas gather to discuss media coverage of migration at 9th Austin Forum

About 50 journalists and experts from 20 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean are gathering Sept. 8-10, 2011, in Austin, Texas, for the 9th Austin Forum on Journalism in the Americas. This year's annual meeting is themed "Media Coverage of Migration in the Americas."

Organized by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas and the Latin American and Media programs of the Open Society Foundations, this year's gathering kicks off at 6 p.m. Thursday with a panel discussion, "Covering International Migration in Central and North America," and a digital exhibit of photographs on migration in the Western hemisphere, "Cruzando Fronteras en las Américas/Crossing Borders in the Americas." The panel and photo exhibit are open to the public.

Knight Center founder and director Rosental Calmon Alves called the digital exhibit "innovative," as photographs will be displayed on plasma screens, rather than prints hung on walls.

The events on Friday and Saturday are by invitation only. Friday's keynote speech from José Luis Benítez of the Jose Simeon Cañas Central American University (UCA) will address international migration and the media in the Americas, and Saturday's speaker, Fabián Sánchez of i(dh)eas, will talk about Mexico's own problems with migration as migrants make the dangerous crossing between Central America and the United States.

Discussion on Friday and Saturday will focus on how media have tackled immigration coverage, addressing such issues as reporting more than just myths and stereotypes, and understanding U.S. immigration reform and the wave of deportations.

Journalists and representatives from media organizations also will discuss innovative initiatives that have been taken in covering international migration. The Forum will conclude with working groups exploring recommendations for improving the quality of coverage of migration in the Americas.

Participants will include members of national and regional media outlets and organizations from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, and Venezuela. Participating organizations include the Inter American Press Association, Latin American and Media programs of the OSF, the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists/UNITY.

Information about the eight previous Austin Forums is found on the Austin Forum section of the Knight Center website.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin was launched in 2002 by professor Rosental Calmon Alves. Thanks to generous grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the center has assisted thousands of journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean.