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Safety in Focus: The US/Mexico Border

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Safety in Focus: The US/Mexico Border

Featuring: Michael De Dora (Moderator), Scout Tufankjian, Guillermo Arias, Brian Frank, Carolyn Cole

Presented By

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

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Saturday, April 27th | 3.30PM – 4.30PM

Meet at The Studio, across the Park from Annenberg Space For Photography.

Let us know you are attending, by registering here.

Please note that seating is first come first served.

All talks are free and are open to all.

This panel will use coverage of the US/Mexico border as a case study to delve deeply into the issues photographers face while trying to work safely and effectively.

Against a global backdrop in which it is becoming increasingly dangerous to be a journalist, photojournalists face enormous safety and security challenges that are specific to our medium. CPJ has launched an initiative, Safety in Focus, to conduct research into the risks photographers face, advocate for a safer work environment, and develop tools to help photographers understand and mitigate risk and danger to themselves and their subjects–whether the risks are physical, digital, psychosocial, or legal.


Michael De Dora is Washington advocacy manager at the Committee to Protect Journalists. He leads efforts to advance press freedom around the world with the U.S. government and other policymakers in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining CPJ, he served as director of government affairs and as the main representative to the United Nations at the Center for Inquiry, where he managed a range of domestic and international advocacy initiatives to advance freedom of conscience and religious liberty.

Michael was twice elected president of the United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief in New York. He has a master’s degree in political science from Brooklyn College and a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric and communication from the University at Albany. He started his career as an editor at Fox News.

Although she has spent the bulk of her career working in the Middle East, Scout Tufankjian is best known for her work documenting both of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns and her book on the 2007-2008 campaign Yes We Can: Barack Obama’s History-Making Presidential Campaign was a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller. Her new book, There is Only the Earth: Images from the Armenian Diaspora Project is the culmination of six years documenting Armenian communities in over 20 different countries.

More recently, she has worked for the HALO Trust in Nagorno-Karabakh and Angola, and has served as a temporary acting director of CPJ’s Emergency Response Team. She continues to work as a freelance photographer and serves as a consultant for RISC Training and for CPJ’s Safety in Focus initiative. More of her work can be seen at www.scouttufankjian.com.

Guillermo Arias – Based in Tijuana, México, I´m a regular collaborator with Agence France-Presse (AFP.) In 1993 I started working as a freelance photojournalist in Tepic, Mexico. From 1994 to 2001, I worked on staff and freelanced for various local newspapers in Guadalajara and Tepic, Mexico, and as a contract photographer for the Associated Press from 2001 until 2011. I was a staff photographer at Xinhua News Agency’s Latin America bureau, 2011-2016.

I have recently finished my personal project El cerco, supported by a three-year grant awarded from Mexico`s Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte (SNCA) 2014-2017.

During my career I´ve received various honors including a World Press Photo Honorable Mention for Contemporary Issues, 2010; NPPA, Best of Photojournalism, Honorable Mention on both Domestic News Picture Story and Domestic News Singles, 2010; 67th Pictures of the Year International (POYi), Award of Excellence for Spot News; Photographers Giving Back Award (PGB), First Place, Spot News Picture of the Year 2009; The Deadline Club, New York City Chapter, Spot News Photo, 2009; Premio Nacional de Periodismo Cultural Fernando Benitez 2009 for the story Los muertos de todos los dias, (Every Day Dead); Honorable Mention at the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar for News Story, Drug War, 2009; Third place at the first POYi Latin America, Spot News Single; Third place in the 17th Bayeux-Calvados Award for War Correspondents, for Guerre contre la drogue (Drug War); First place on the second POYi Latin America, Spot News Single, among others.

Brian L. Frank (b. 1979) – A San Francisco native, I have worked on social documentary projects across the Americas focusing on cultural identity, social inequality, violence, workers rights and the environment.

A Pulitzer grantee in 2017, I was awarded a fellowship by the CatchLight foundation to continue documenting mass incarceration’s effects on minority communities. My 2-year project, Downstream, Death of the Colorado is held in the permanent collection at the United States Library of Congress and was recognized by POYi with the Global Vision Award. My project on the drug war and culture of violence in Mexico, La Guerra Mexicana, was awarded the Domestic News Picture Story of the year by the NPPA. My work has been recognized with numerous other awards from both national and international press organizations.

After completing the Journalism program at SFSU, I worked primarily for The Wall Street Journal from 2008 – 2014 and currently focus on long-term documentary magazine features in California, the American Southwest, and Mexico.

My work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, California Sunday Magazine, Harpers, The Atlantic, GQ, Esquire, FORTUNE, Mother Jones, Newsweek, TIME, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, WIRED, Politico, Virginia Quarterly Review, PDN, American Photo, The Fader, The New York Times, U.S.News & World Report, The San Francisco Chronicle and many other publications.

Carolyn Cole headshot

Carolyn Cole has covered national and international news for The Los Angeles Times for many years. Her work on the civil crisis in Liberia won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. Cole is a two-time winner of the Robert Capa Gold Medal from the Overseas Press Club of America and has also earned four World Press Photography awards. Previously based in New York, Carolyn recently moved back to California where she is focusing more on environmental issues.


The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide. We defend the right of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal.