A Halloween Weekend Workshop with Al Giordano
Three Days of "Authentic Journalism, Latin America, and the Drug War" with our publisher and friends in the Berkshire mountains
By The Rowe Conference Center
School of Authentic Journalism Invades the USA
August 19, 2003
The following announcement comes from the bi-annual catalogue of the Rowe Camp and Conference Center in Rowe, Massachusetts, which invites you to join Narco News publisher Al Giordano for three days of talks, authentic journalism training, and festive celebration “Salón Chingón style,” in the tranquil and scenic Berkshire mountains this October 31st, and November 1st and 2nd.
You can register for the conference via the Rowe Conference Center website. The event is not sponsored, financially or otherwise, by The Narco News Bulletin, but, rather, is hosted by the Rowe Conference Center, a popular non-profit meetingplace in New England, where our publisher lived and worked as a teenager. Please address any questions or inquiries to the Rowe Conference Center, which reserves all rights, access, and decisions, regarding this exciting gathering.
Authentic Journalism, Latin America, and the Drug War
With Al Giordano and Friends
October 31 – November 2
Rowe Conference Center
The mass media’s preference for spectacle over investigation is one of the major factors throwing democracy into crisis. Wars are launched by the simulation of news and the manipulation of public opinion. Elections are stolen. The government declares war on its own citizens, first in the so-called “war on drugs” and now in the “war on terrorism.” Professional journalism has made each of these problems worse. The intention of the First Amendment has been betrayed by the giant media companies that claim the protections these freedoms provide, while slamming the door on the average citizen’s uncensored access to the press and the airwaves.
Seven years ago, journalist Al Giordano, political reporter for the Boston Phoenix, resigned and wrote, “journalism is dead as a living art form; all that is left is product.” He dropped off the radar and emerged, several years later, “from somewhere in the mountains of the Mexican southeast,” where he lived with indigenous rebel communities of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. It was there that the Authentic Journalism renaissance was born. Giordano’s online newspaper, Narco News (www.narconews.com), “reporting on the drug war and democracy from Latin America,” began publishing in April 2000 in English, Spanish, and later in Portuguese. It reopened the door of citizen-journalism on an international scale and currently gets about 130,000 visitors a day.
Giordano is widely credited for blowing the whistle on the attempted coup d’etat in Venezuela in 2002, for causing the resignation of powerful U.S. news correspondents whom he caught in unethical activities from Bolivia to Mexico, and for chronicling and fomenting the growing drug legalization movement sweeping Latin America. He’s best known as the journalist that won, in the New York Supreme Court in December 2001, First Amendment protections for all Internet journalists, breaking the free speech monopoly of commercial media. Rolling Stone magazine declared Al Giordano as the “Hot Muckraker” for 2001, writing, “When he was 20 and living in a cabin [near] Rowe, Massachusetts, running the Rowe Nuclear Conversion Campaign, which ended in the first-ever shut-down of an operating nuclear plant in America, he met Abbie Hoffman, who called him `the best political organizer of his generation.’”
That was in 1981. Abbie had just emerged from seven years underground, and was leading a retreat at Rowe Conference Center when he met young Al. Today, poetically, Giordano spends much of his time working, as Abbie did, to train the next generation. His Narco News School of Authentic Journalism teaches young people from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, the United States, and Europe in the art of speaking and writing the truth, the greatest weapon against power.
This Halloween/Day-of-the-Dead weekend workshop is Al Giordano’s only visit this year to his native United States. (He was born in the Bronx.) He’ll share war stories about reporting from Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, and other lands where “new ways to fight are being resurrected from ancient traditions.” He’ll bring a map of Latin America and lead a virtual tour and “citizen’s press briefing” on the changes South of the Border that are galloping northward. Discussions on journalism, drug policy, Latin America, and democracy will resemble a participatory talk show.
Al was a teenaged camp counselor at our teenage Rowe Camp in 1979. We know he’s a gifted singer and songwriter, so we’ve insisted that he bring his guitar and invite some of his creative local friends to highlight a big Saturday night Día de los Muertos party. With his characteristic enthusiasm, Al likes to echo his mentor Abbie, saying, “The team that has the most fun is the team that wins the battle.” We’re thrilled, and a little terrified, that he’s coming home to Rowe, where his battle began.
To learn more about this event and others at the Rowe Conference Center, or to register to attend, click here.
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- The Fund for Authentic Journalism
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