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Juarez papal visit puts spotlight on Borderland

A view of Downtown El Paso.

Pope Francis' trip to Mexico was headline news across the world.

El Paso is sharing in the global attention.

The stories about the borderland are mostly positive, putting El Paso in the spotlight.

"A once-in-a-lifetime monumental experience for Juarez and El Paso," said Robert Wingo, chairman of Sanders\Wingo Advertising.

As a marketing and advertising expert, Wingo said the pope's visit could change the way the world sees the borderland.

"I think in a 4-5 hours span of time, we got the kind of coverage that we can't put a price tag on. That painted our city and our sister city of Juarez in such a positive light," said Wingo.

The eyes of the worldwide press were in the borderland Wednesday, which turned into news stories Thursday; in them, the Sun City shines.

Sorting through the headlines and stories from the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, L.A. Times, CNN, and network news outlets, you'll see EL Paso's narrative taking a new form.

Take this headline from the Huffington Post: "For El Paso-Juãrez, Trump's vision of Mexico based on misconception."

Among the coverage emerges a reborn and rebranded borderland.

"This kind of branding initiative, I don't know if we could have planned for 20 years and come up with something as significant as the pope visiting the border," said Wingo.

An Associated Press article republished across the country said in part, "No longer the desolate space it was a few years ago, downtown El Paso is ripe with new hotels, bars, restaurants -- and bulldozers that herald the planned construction of a streetcar, a children's museum, a Mexican-American cultural center and new mixed-used buildings."

The article also said, "The far West Texas city is ready to shed its long-held reputation as a center of illegal immigration and show off its revitalized streets."

"I think it dispelled a tremendous number of negative rumors," said Wingo.

The press coverage frequently hailed El Paso as one of the safest big cities.

Journalists highlighted the unique metropolis and relationship between Juarez and El Paso.

A story by CNN focused on the decrease in Juarez violence.

The positive image put forth could encourage companies deciding whether to move to El Paso, Wingo explained.

When it's all tallied up, the borderland couldn't buy this kind of coverage.

"I think it's almost impossible to put a price tag on it," said Wingo.

But El Paso could definitely cash in on the exposure.

"I think the economic impact of what this could mean not only for our economy, but for tourism, could be enormous," said Wingo.

Perhaps a blessing in it of itself.

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