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Barrier or Bridge: Photojournalism of the San Diego/Tijuana Border Region

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Using both quantitative and interpretive approaches, this article provides an in-depth analysis of the changing representations of the border region in the newspapers of San Diego and Tijuana over the last decade. The major daily newspapers, the San Diego Union-Tribune, and El Mexicano, have been sampled over a 10-year period. For the Union-Tribune, photo-journalistic coverage evolves in relationship to changing political realities, though the images may tend toward a more polarized reading than the text. Initially the photographs in the Union-Tribune depict the border as boundary. By 1998 increased emphasis on regional trade is reflected in the photojournalistic coverage. Until 2000, coverage in El Mexicano is much more static, always representing the border as bridge from the perspective of Mexican official culture. Comparative analysis of the representational strategies used in both cities suggests alternatives that cross borders rather than reinforce them.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Communication University of California, San Diego

Publication date: 01 January 2003

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