|English | Español||April 20, 2014 | Issue #31|
The Three-and-a-half Years Miracle
Narco News to Suspend Publishing Indefinitely on October 18
By Al Giordano
Miguel Álvarez, Victor Amezcua, Andrea Arenas Alípaz, John Perry Barlow, Jeremy Bigwood, Reber Boult, Ana Luiza Cernov, Alex Contreras Baspineiro, Laura del Castillo Matamoros, Andrea Daugirdas, Blanca Eekhout Gómez, Noah Friedsky, Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar, Elizabeth Flores, Sarahy Flores Sosa, Rubén Flores Torres, Peter Gorman, Charles Hardy, Annie Harrison, Helena Klang, Latuff, Reed Lindsay, Carola Mittrany, Karine Muller, Annalena Oeffner, Renato Rovai, Ricardo Sala, George Sanchez, Andrew Stelzer, Michele Stoddard, Tiberio, Adriana Veloso
3. The Narco News School of Authentic Journalism will hold its final session of 2003, at the October 31 to November 2 workshop, “Authentic Journalism, Latin America, and the Drug War,” at the Rowe Conference Center in Massachusetts, in the United States. For more info, see here.
4. Because no death should go uncelebrated or without a smile of remembrance for the good works done in life, the Narco News memorial party will be held at that workshop’s Day of the Dead ceremony, on Saturday evening, November 1, in Rowe, Massachusetts.
Entertainers David Rovics, Suzy Polucci, Court Dorsey, Lesley Smith, Mimi Whitcomb, Joshua Jay aka “the Waffleman,” and other grand talents of stage and sound, will be celebrating with us, and our newest Authentic Journalism scholars, there.
5. The new SalonChingon.com website will remain online and will continue to feature cutting-edge works by graduates, students, and professors of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, and perhaps by others, in the future. You can sign up for Salón Chingón’s free mailing list using this box, here:
7. Narco News will publish no more news after October 18, at least through the New Year. We make no guarantee of ever publishing again at this Internet address.
8. I’m looking for work, too. My bank account balance is at 73 dollars and 66 cents. I’m broke and pretty much unemployable: without property, house, car, credit card, “health insurance,” unemployment insurance, savings account, retirement fund, IRA, or any of the other normalcy licenses that are expected of decent citizens in these pre-authoritarian days. I don’t complain. I never wanted any of those things. I’ve made a ton of friends on this road, witnessed so much immediate history, and collaborated with the best in producing great works for three-and-a-half years.
Of course, now I’m thinking about the many offers and gigs I’ve turned down since Narco News began. I was too busy with this worthwhile work to consider them. Might some of you repeat that question, please, while I’m not so busy? My email address, now, will be firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, I am also, as of today, suspending all private media interviews, which, as my colleagues in the press know, I’ve always tried be generous in giving. Anything more I have to say about the rise and fall of Narco News, the drug war, democracy, Authentic Journalism, or any other topic, will, starting October 18, be written in public, for all to read, at my personal weblog, BigLeftOutside.com.
The Narco News comments forum suspends receiving new comments as of today. Any of your comments, questions, or suggestions will be entertained over there, in the BigLeftOutside comments forum.
You can request a free subscription to my personal mailing list by using this box:
9. The “canary in the coal mine” of Authentic Journalism, as I once described Narco News to Rolling Stone magazine, stops singing. It’s not dead, but it will fall silent in a few days. That ought to be cause for pause and reflection.
Unlike many news organizations or aspiring change agents, we never started this newspaper to be a self-perpetuating venture. There are certain illnesses in journalism and activism alike that breed self-perpetuation as the primary goal. We see it everywhere, in every cause and movement. Too many change agents begin with fire in their bellies only to become, later, bloated, neutered, and spayed, bureaucrats trying to hang on to a paycheck at any cost. That never was our show. We always did things differently around here. It makes sense that we now exit differently, too.
I’m not saying there’s no support out there. I’m saying, rather, that Narco News can’t go a step farther unless and until our troops – Authentic Journalists in Latin America – are better armed for the battle. I don’t see enough support out there to continue to sustain what we do already, including the School of Authentic Journalism and our trilingual reach, and to also add the talent that is immediately necessary to meet the tremendous thirst for the authentic news from all of the hotspots, increasingly hotter, of this hemisphere.
The support to maintain Narco News’ growth at the speed that matches our exponential growth in readership and organization is not, in our judgment, sufficient at present: We don’t even see it around any corner. And – no surprise here – I’m not going to become a businessman or, worse, a bureaucrat, in order to continue as a journalist, and so we’d rather exit with a bang than a whimper.
10. If you’d like to support my survival in this transitional period, or simply believe in leaving a tip after you’ve enjoyed sitting at our table, please feel free to lend a hand by making a check out to “LiveArt1st” and noting it “to support the work of Al Giordano.”
You can send that help, if you feel so inclined, too:
51 Macdougal Street, Suite 257
New York, NY 10012
LiveArt1st is a non-profit, tax-exempt, 501c3 organization that supports artists and writers. As I said, I’m not a businessman: the first “safety net” to fall here was my own. So any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Still, if past is prologue, I’ll land on my feet. And I will do everything possible to maintain the Narco News archives online at this website. That will be the first priority for any help received.
The question on many lips, now, surely will be:
Q. Is it possible that Narco News might reappear online someday, stronger than ever?
A. Anything’s possible, but I just don’t see any way keep this project going given the current cards available to us. Suggestions for how Narco News could retain its authenticity and still be able to pay the bills, retain its non-commercial edge, and grow together with our readership will be entertained, selectively, in my weblog’s comments section.
The present is fragile. Therefore, constructing a better future is mandatory. It’s thus possible that the School of Authentic Journalism could continue whereas the newspaper does not: In any case, the J-School has moved: its new campus is over at SalonChingon.com.
So that the record is crystal clear: There is also no way that Narco News will ever reappear without retaining the same absolute editorial freedom we have achieved for the past three-and-a-half years. The newspaper’s good name is not going up for sale. “Narco News” has come to define a particular tendency in Authentic Journalism. It is not going to stray from that mission. Silence, in this case, is preferable to sellout.
We conclude, based on our experience, that achieving the aforementioned “objective conditions,” while retaining our non-commercial edge, is extremely difficult to impossible in this market-ruled world.
We never say “never,” but, for now, we say, “enough already.”
Any Narco News sightings or future miracles will be reported on our free mailing list, which, even while dormant, will continue to accept new subscribers at least through the end of the year. It costs you nothing to subscribe, and it costs us nothing to maintain the list. That part’s easy.
We will use this suspension period to reflect and discuss any serious options for coming back with a reborn Narco News; one retains the uncompromising integrity that has been our banner for the past three-and-a-half years. If, by the New Year, we haven’t found the “longer shoestring” to be able to walk such a path, then we won’t look back.
If there are questions or suggestions from readers and supporters about this sudden announcement, I will entertain them over at my personal weblog, where the authentic press conference begins today. Narco News has always remained “above the fray” of certain matters, and I’d prefer that it be remembered that way. The opinions that I express over there, although some may address the history of Narco News and the movements we covered, will not reflect the editorial views of Narco News, its writers, staff, supporters, or readers, but, rather, will be my own.
It’s been a pleasure, exposing and deposing many corrupt governments, inauthentic journalists, media organizations, and white collar narcos, and giving birth to the Authentic Journalism renaissance, especially in training talented members of a new generation to carry the torch.
There appears to be a law of inverse economy when a newspaper serves an ever-expanding international readership but also refuses to bow to the impositions of the marketplace; financial backers become fewer, or poorer, or just plain lose interest. That’s the reality in 2003. Capital and its unspoken laws have killed what narco-banker lawsuits could not.
I’ve got a First Amendment “right” to practice journalism from the New York Supreme Court, but not the resources to practice it. That’s how Tyranny works in our new century: the market is the new State, economy its repressive regime.
The choice for Narco News becomes whether to decay slowly or to exit with our dignity intact.
A slow decomposition of Narco News would quickly lead to my failing to meet obligations to our frontline journalists (something I’ve never done; they risk their lives on tough terrain to bring you the story, they deserve no less than full air support). When immensely talented and conscientious people work below the poverty line it would be a crime to see them jerked around over subsistence compensation. That’s not a crime I’m willing to commit.
That Narco News existed at all for three-and-a-half years was a miracle due to cracks in the system: Cracks that seem to be sealing now.
The only dignified path I see is to, alternately, go into exile while we’re still ahead and exit with dignity and our good name intact. The system makes its own cracks, and I’m sure we’ll find, together or individually, those cracks – or, at very least, create them – somewhere in America toward our shared goals of liberty, justice, authentic democracy and Authentic Journalism.
We’re proud of the work we’ve done and remain eternally grateful to our readers and supporters. The Narco News archives will, with just a little more help from some of you, remain, documenting three-and-a-half years of history. The future is, as always, unknown and unpredictable. And we leave room for future miracles.
Final two words, in our three languages, to our readers, the people who made the Three-and-a-half Year Miracle possible:
From somewhere in a country called América,
Desde algun lugar desde un país llamado América
De algum lugar desse país chamado América,
Last Session for 2003:
Rowe Conference Center
October 31 to November 2
The Narco News School of Authentic Journalism moves to:
To support the work of Al Giordano:
51 Macdougal Street, Suite 257
New York, NY 10012
- The Fund for Authentic Journalism