<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
 English | Español November 1, 2014 | Issue #33


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Opening Statement, April 18, 2000
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In Their Own Words

The 2004 Authentic Journalism Scholars Speak


By Al Giordano
Publisher

June 4, 2004

Few parts of this work are as exciting as meeting and learning about those journalists whose talents and passionate commitment to Authentic Journalism earned them scholarships this year to attend the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, which begins July 30th in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

These are the people who, for years to come, will be reporting to you the facts and the voices that must be seen and heard for authentic democracy, human rights, and truth to triumph over simulation, manipulation, and knowing falsehoods.

Most of these scholars are coming from long distances to attend the J-School. Each of these brief introductions below is accompanied by a link through which you can financially support their room, board, and travel expenses.

For ten days in Bolivia, they will be reporting to you from a key front in the US-imposed War on Drugs: the coca growing lands of the Chapare and the city of Cochabamba. But as we learned from the 2003 J-School on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula, their good work doesn’t stop there… In fact, many of these colleagues are already doing the vital heavy lifting of breaking the information blockades and speaking truth to power… and to all of us who learn from their works, and who are able to do more with them toward a better world for all.

With no further ado, I present to you the Class of 2004!

Karla Aguilar

Karla Aguilar, 25, born in San Salvador, El Salvador, is a radio news reporter for KPFT Pacifica Radio in Houston and that city’s Indymedia Center.

In her own words:

Irresponsible or bad journalism is everywhere and has the capacity to keep people from even being interested in the realities of the lives of others all over the world. I live in the fourth largest city in the United States where we only have one major local newspaper, hence the usual mediocre reporting. I became acutely aware of the dangers of bad journalism since September 11th. Before that, I was not as aware of the dangers of bad journalism, although now I can see those as well. Examples abound: Palestine, Iraq, Venezuela, Indigenous communities in Mesoamerica, and so on where coverage is skewed by elite interests and strategic planning to impede people’s movements from having fair representation in the media.

Please support Karla’s scholarship via this link:

Soraya Aguilar

Soraya Aguilar, 29, of La Paz, Bolivia, has studied and worked in documentary filmmaking, and currently works in communications for the National Senate of Bolivia’s congress.

In her own words:

Here in Bolivia we work in a team and the most important thing that life has given me is a beautiful group of humans capable of winning what it wants because we are consistent and we know what we want, and, most importantly: “We live to serve, and not to be served.”

Please support Soraya’s scholarship via this link:

Manuela Aldabe

Manuela Aldabe, 27, is an Uruguayan photographer, formerly with Associated Press, studying history in Italy’s University of Rome.

In her own words:

Today’s world has become so small that it seems that everything is little… and poor. Only what we see on television exists. It happens only because three news agencies, Associated Press in the USA, Reuters in England, and France Press Agency tell us it happens. Information has taken on the role of protagonist on our society but it is homogeneous information. We all know the same things and in the end we don’t know anything. The capacity for analysis among new generations is scarce thanks to the concentrated power in the hands of news agencies that are obviously controlled by specific interests.

Looking at our peoples… Latin Americans… Africans… We, the young people, think only about escaping. There is no solution that can save us. Those who have the privilege of studying know that they have no chance in their own country. They know that their lives will be in slavery, living to pay the rent, the week’s food, and, in the end, paying off the national debt that is completely not theirs, generated by usurious loans with the complicity of puppet governments and after a long period of colonial looting… they’ve had the rope around our necks for decades.

In recent years, since Seattle in 1999, an army of counter-reporters has grown on all sides. The network has become our weapon of communication, of information, of gathering. Something has changed in these recent years: the Mapuche community launches a news story that an alternative radio station in Rome reads on its top news program. We know, step by step, what happens in Chiapas, Bolivia, Argentina, and as if that is just a small thing, the mass media can’t tell us lies so easily anymore. What happened in Spain after the March 11, 2004 attack is clear evidence.

New reporters, helping to reclaim our historic memory, our identity, our truth, and our need for justice…

Manuela is seeking ways to finance her travel from Rome to Bolivia for the J-School. Please support her scholarship via this link:

Please use this link if you would like to support Manuela’s scholarship with a donation in euros:

Teo Ballvé

Teo Ballvé, 25, is an editor of the NACLA Report of the North American Congress on Latin America (and webmaster at www.nacla.org), in New York City. He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In his own words:

I need information to feel a part of this world. Without at least an inkling of what is going on, I would feel too detached from life. I draw on this sustenance to make my decisions in life, so collectively journalism makes a huge difference. It’s not hard to find bad journalism, the damage it does is reflected in the numbness among members of the general public to what should boil in them outrage and disbelief. Bad journalism airbrushes problems until they’re invisible. Only when a very pronounced rupture in what is expected occurs do bad journalists turn their attention to problems that have long simmered.

Most of my work is with text. But I have never had any formal training in journalism, which is most likely, an advantage. I want to gain skills, confidence, and experience in what I write.

Learn more about Teo in his letter to Narco News readers, Where Do I Find América? Please support his scholarship via this link:

Gregory Berger

Gregory Berger, 30, of New York City, has lived six years in Mexico producing radical independent media. He also teaches and tours in U.S. and Canadian universities showing and discussing his documentary films about Latin America’s social movements. One recent work, the political comedy “Gringothon,” will soon premier on the Internet at the J-School student and faculty site, SalonChingon.com.

In his own words:

During the invasion of Iraq the term “embedded journalism” entered popular discourse in the United States and around the world. The United States’ armed forces offered protection and access to reporters who would agree to file their dispatches from within the shelter of a military unit. It was assumed by many that this was a new development, and in a strictly technical sense, it was. But it was by far not the first time that journalists, en masse, have chosen the vantage point from which their reporting comes to serve and protect their own personal, political, and economic interests. As long as there have been journalists, the human beings who take on this profession have chosen their allies. In the current age of empire, America has an army of de facto embedded journalists operating around the world. The New York Times is one such military unit, and Venezuela is one of the battlefields.

Please support Greg’s scholarship via this link:

Amy Casada-Alaniz

Amy Casada-Alaniz, 32 (she’ll be celebrating her next birthday at the J-School), is a professional translator and freelance writer in Vandalia, Ohio, in the United States.

In her own words:

Just like in the ancient world written language was not taught to the masses in order to keep people in a state of awe and impotence… what people are not allowed to know, or given the chance to understand, or expected to accept on faith can be used to keep them down. Our US forefathers like Alexander Hamilton believed that the majority of people are not capable of understanding what is best for them in general, and this mindset rules today. We are told often that in government, it is best that we not know everything that goes on. We are taught that we should leave some things to “the experts.” This authoritarian and paternalistic thinking causes the stunting of human potential. We become a mass that needs a leader and rules all the time. This thinking presupposes the possibility of individual human autonomy. Very few people can imagine a society without laws, government, or cops. When we give our responsibility over to laws, governors, and cops (ideals, even…) for long enough we lose the ability to resolve immediate issues ourselves. Ultimately, we lose the ability to think for ourselves, to know even how we want to spend our time…

Learn more about Amy through her letter to Narco News readers, In the Factory of Journalism… with a Head-full of Dreams. Please support her scholarship via this link:

Sean Donahue

Sean Donahue, 29, of Lawrence, Massachusetts (historic home of the seminal Bread and Roses factory strike of 1912), directs the Corporations and Militarism Project
of the Massachusetts Anti-Corporate Clearinghouse, and has reported for Counterpunch, for Z Magazine, and for the daily Milenio of Mexico City, among others.

In his own words:

In totalitarian societies, governments keep the truth from people by directly silencing dissenting voices. In ostensibly democratic societies, those in power keep the truth from people through more complex propaganda techniques. Whenever possible, those telling difficult truths are simply marginalized or ridiculed. But when those truths do emerge, “democratic” governments respond by creating their own official version of the story in which facts are decontextualized and inter-mingled with rationalizations and half-truths, people telling an alternative version of the story are acknowledged but denied the opportunity to present their full story, and the people whose lives are most effected by the policy in question are left out of the discussion altogether…

I would like to be part of the investigative journalism work team, because I want to learn more techniques for directly uncovering the truth about the activities of governments and corporations. I have some experience writing for online publications and would like to do more Internet journalism.

Please support Sean’s scholarship via this link:


Nicolau dos Santos Soares

Nicolau dos Santos Soares, 23, of São Paulo, Brazil, is a reporter for Forum magazine, editor of Visão Oeste (“Western Vision”), and directs the books division of Publisher Brásil.

In his own words:

In Brazil, most journalists come from the higher social classes. They bring with them some prejudices and preconceptions that certainly will be reflected in their work. My family comes from the working class. That also influences my point of view. But, considering, as I do, that it is impossible to be completely objective, to forget your culture and history when you go to work, diversity becomes a very important value to a serious media. Different points of view are necessary to guarantee more democratic coverage of society. Journalism is the path I choose for my life.

Please support Nicolau’s scholarship via this link:

Tigran Feiler

Tigran Feiler, 23, has spent two years living and reporting from Guadalajara, México, for periodicals in his native Sweden.

In his own words:

I am sad to say that most of the journalism I see is bad and damaging to the world in the sense that it doesn’t tell the truth and if it does so, only parts of it. A clear example came during the attempted coup in Venezuela in April 2002. The correspondent of the Swedish radio network in Latin America was saying: ”nobody on the streets of Caracas seem to miss Hugo Chávez.” The reporter was saying this from Santiago de Chile, thousands of kilometers away. The erroneous statement became obvious when people from the poor neighborhoods starting to take over the streets and demand the return of Chávez. The reporting in this particular case got a lot of criticism but the problem is that for the majority of the people, what they hear/read/watch first is what they remember and few take in the corrections. That is why the ”official” version is the one that often prevails, although proven wrong.

Please support Tigran’s scholarship via this link:

Daniel Fleming

Daniel Fleming, 21, of Campinas, Brasil, reports news for radio and via the Internet in his city.

I value the power of radio and Internet a lot. They are two different technologies but they have in common easy access and large reach. The Internet in Brazil still is not so popular, however radio is inexpensive and widely utilized by the less affluent classes of society. It can be understood by the great masses of semi-illiterate people for understanding the events of the day. Radio is very effective for journalism. I’m interested in radio because of the need to bring new debates with new information to the population…

Please support Daniel’s scholarship via this link:

Alexandra Flores

Alexandra Flores, 24, lives in La Paz, Bolivia, and is a native of Cochabamba where she helped lead the citizen uprising known as the “water wars” that successfully drove the multinational Bechtel corporation from the water supplies and faucets of the city.

In her own words:

The extraordinarily important thing to my future as a journalist was my active participation as a neighborhood leader in the “Water War” of Cochabamba in 2000, just when I was halfway through my journalism studies. Those events awoke my critical attitude toward what happened. I learned that the famous impartiality of journalism doesn’t exist, and that the best weapons are investigation and documented criticism. From that moment, I began to see the other side that the university doesn’t show us, listening to a different story than what they tell us in the academic classrooms. I began to question decisions, and statements that were spoken but not backed up by facts….

Please support Alexandra’s scholarship via this link:

Maria Eugenia Flores Castro

Maria Eugenia Flores Castro, 24, of Cochabamba, is a member of the Bolivia Indymedia collective and an organizer for the popular cultural youth group Tinku Juvenil.

In her own words:

In my country, many journalists, including on TV and radio stations, haven’t told the truth about what occurs in social movements and conflicts… For me it would be very helpful to be able to share experiences of the struggle for journalistic work with other colleagues throughout the continent.

Please support Maria Eugenia’s scholarship via this link:

Sarahy Flores Sosa

Sarahy Flores Sosa, 17, documentary filmmaker of Tepoztlán, México, attended the August-September 2003 program of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, and returns this year to complete her studies.

In her own words:

A decade ago the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN, in its Spanish initials) appeared because of political and social problems. I was seven years old then, and without realizing it I was already involved in this movement. A year ago the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism gave me the opportunity to go to Oventik, Chiapas, (EZLN territory) to attend the birth of a new kind of Zapatista community, the Caracoles.

During this trip I worked producing a documentary with Andrea Daugirdas. In the next year I plan to enter film school, now that I am finishing high school. Producing documentaries with the support of Narco News has taught me many important things and I’m very happy to know that there is a place where freedom of speech is practiced.

Please support Sarahy’s scholarship via this link:

Vladimir Flores García

Vladimir Flores García, 29, of México City, collaborates with Indymedia in Mexico City, Chiapas, Guatemala, and throughout Latin America, and as a radio reporter with the national university radio (AM 860).

In his own words:

I’m a chilango (from Mexico City) by birth, and my family’s origins are transient – or, to say it another way, indifferently mixed. Rather, we arrived in Mexico City in a scattered manner as a product of the (systematic) abandonment of the Mexican countryside. But now we press on, building our nation from the corners of this place.

I have been educated my entire life in public schools, and consequently owe my collectivist thinking and seed of rebellion to those who defend free and public education… I never went to communication or journalism schools… that of the Auténticos of the Chapare will be an authentic first for me. I have taken up microphones to participate with my comrades in this great labor of telling our own story. And so we are now learning together to build tools of communication that maybe, with love and resistance, will materialize in a community Independent Media Center.

Please support Vladimir’s scholarship via this link:

Pablo Francischelli

Pablo Francischelli, 23, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a journalism student at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

In his own words:

A commitment to the truth and to investigation is the basis of citizenship and journalism. I feel an ethical commitment to my people and my nation, which, in the final analysis, is what I am: I am my people and I am my nation. That is what guides me to find the truth.

Please support Pablo’s scholarship via this link:

Jacques Gomes Filho

Jacques Gomes Filho, of São Paulo, has worked in daily newspapers, magazines, and in Community Radio. He is a documentary filmmaker currently co-producing a work filmed in Bolivia about the struggle of the coca growers.

In his own words:

I chose coca as the theme of the documentary, identifying in it the factual opportunity to illustrate a strategy of imperialist domination consistently applied to poor countries. The prohibition of coca proves a view of the wreckage with which this strategy imposes itself on Andean and perhaps Latin American nations. To prohibit the planting or sale of coca, as I understand it, is nothing more than an alibi for an intervention that, on first analysis, is military, but also hides its greater cruelty of intervening in the culture and economy of a nation. To make this intervention visible is one of the objectives of my work.

Please support Jacques’ scholarship via this link:

Gissel Gonzales

Gissel Gonzales, 27, of Cochabamba, is a student at the Camilo Orruel Quillacollo School of Journalism.

In his own words:

In school I already felt that something was wrong in this world. I experienced in my own flesh and blood the social inequality that the political caste imposes… Until one day the intolerable injustice of a government reached its limit: In February of 2000 the people rose up in defense of Water and Life. The fight continued through April of that year, where for the first time in my life I felt that my place was in the streets, fighting against the monstrosity of “neoliberalism.” It was there that my spirit as a communicator surged forward, but a communicator from below, who reports the hunger of your brothers and the thirst for justice for which your mother cries out. I now live with my grandparents and practice journalism: ever since April 2000 my life has changed. Now I live with the people from below, workers, men and women who fight to survive. My place in this world changed… It is as one comrade said to a government minister during the Water War, when asked, “and, who are you people?” His response: We are the ones who install cable TV in your house, who transport your kids, who connect your electricity, who bring you water, who clean your house, who collect your garbage, who cook your food, who bring you to work, who educate your children… that is who we are.

Please support Gissel’s scholarship via this link:

Sarah Harris

Sarah Harris, 21, of Evanston, Illinois, is a Northwestern University student, a DJ at WNUR 89.3 FM radio, and co-producer of the documentary El Gas No Se Vende (“The Gas Is Not for Sale”) shot last autumn during Bolivia’s popular uprising.

In her own words:

I was in Bolivia during a turbulent time (in fact, times are still turbulent); In September and October 2003, the anti-Goni protests occurred. Participating in some of these protests, communicating with and interviewing many Bolivians from all walks of life, and collaboratively making the film that I mentioned above all helped me become better at the process of journalism. For instance, during my independent study, I learned a great deal about how to make and keep contacts, how to remain persistent and keep a positive attitude even when an investigation is lagging, and how to communicate across language and cultural barriers. Some interviews were extremely difficult, especially the ones conducted with the family members of the protest victims and the injured. Nicole, my film partner, and I went to a section of El Alto numerous times to speak with the family members and victims who at that time (early November) were in hunger strike, demanding reparations from the government. These were faces that were difficult to listen to, difficult to witness, along with the poverty in general in El Alto and the faces affected by that poverty. At the same time, I felt honored to be one with whom they shared their stories. El Alto is an amazing place, poverty being one characteristic that should be looked at, but not a complete picture… Conclusively, this experience and these months in Cochabamba, La Paz and El Alto made my neighborhood more encompassing, my world much smaller, and my heart and mind much more sensitive to news, events and people outside of my figurative “house.”

Please support Sarah’s scholarship through this link:

Sterling Harris

Sterling Harris, 24, of Los Angeles, California, is a history student at Santa Monica College. When his radical bookstore in Long Beach closed, he headed for Argentina and Ecuador to study Spanish and found himself amidst, and drawn into, the vibrant social movements of that country.

In his own words:

What I have found in our institutions of higher education has sickened me. There is this supposed higher dialogue going on between the intellectuals in the political science departments. What it amounts to is a lot of pompous nonsense, in an attempt to make politics and economics less accessible to the general population as a whole. I hate to see this type of trend, and I want to fight it. I want to make easily understandable information accessible to everyone, so that they can know what’s going on.

Please support Sterling’s scholarship through this link:

Amber Howard

Amber Howard, of Bellingham, Washington, first became involved with Narco News through Students for a Sensible Drug Policy in 2001. Since then, she has studied Spanish in Spain and in Peru, where she also taught English.

In her own words:

I have learned through my education that it pays to speak out in class, in the political realm and in life in general. I see us, as a world population, in a time where dissent is crucial and independent media as the vehicle for change. My traveling experience has shown me different models of how to do things, how to live. Most importantly, I understand that our system is completely arbitrary and needs revision. I believe the best way to achieve this is via the voice of the people… Learning to speak Spanish I feel will also make me a better journalist because I understand a whole other way to communicate, to express ideas and the subtle connotations can be. I love how different languages offer unique feelings evoked in the heart and being of the reader… I feel a passion to investigate and to tell the truth. I see the faces, the hands outstretched, the faint, desperate, cries of everyone who really deserves that truth. I want to tell the truth because I can.

Please support Amber’s scholarship through this link:

Yasmin Khan

Yasmin Khan, 26, is a reporter for the daily Santa Fe New Mexican.

In her own words:

Journalism makes a difference in my life on a daily basis. Just recently, I wrote several profiles on people in Santa Fe who work for low wages. One of the people I wrote about was a man Manuel Munoz, who had been working cleaning up an auto body shop. He had irregular, unsteady hours and could not pay his bills. After my story ran, a plumbing company in town offered him a full time, permanent job as a plumber for a good wage. I have been so happy about this one small win, I feel like I am finally making a difference, not only as a journalist, but as a person who believes there is too much injustice in the world. I believe my job is to give a voice to the voiceless, to speak where others are silent.

Please support Yasmin’s scholarship through this link:

Baylen Linnekin

Baylen Linnekin, 31, works in Washington DC as a writer and assistant web content provider for the Drug Policy Alliance.

In his own words:

I believe that a journalist’s job is to seek and print the truth, regardless of how unpopular that truth may be. The ongoing U.S. war in Iraq was fueled by bad journalism. Had the New York Times not consistently featured factually erroneous stories hyping the alleged weapons capabilities of Iraq on its front page, and had the awestruck minions of journalists who follow the lead of Times not reprinted these lies, the Bush administration may not have gained the support of U.S. lawmakers and the public to launch its illegal war. There is no stronger motivation to seek the truth than to realize that media, government, or business, are lying to you.

Please support Baylen’s scholarship via this link:


André Lobato

André Lobato, 20, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, studies journalism at the Pontifícia Universidad Cátolica de Rio de Janeiro, with a passion for documentary filmmaking.

In his own words:

What is the ethic of a journalist? Should it be impartiality? Isn’t that a schizophrenic pretense? These are questions toward a deeper question: What is ethics in a multi-faceted society like our own? The ethic of respecting differences lives side by side with different concepts of ethics. How does being lovers of facts already make our work subjective? The modern theories of deconstruction of the truth shock and weaken journalistic legitimacy… While modernity, backed by quantum physics, knows that it can’t define space and velocity, the journalist, backed by the fact that he knows what (or who, or when, or why, or how) does just fine. He writes a political report and seeks opposing sides, opposing truths, opposing motives. The journalist is ethical in his modern right not to be ethical. I personally consider this nauseating. He doesn’t lie or invent: He omits.

Please support André’s scholarship via this link:

Inga López

Inga López, 34, of La Paz, Bolivia, is a former reporter for Channel 4 RTP TV in La Paz.

In her own words:

In Chile during the coup d’etat of Pinochet, my father was held prisoner for three months in the stadium. I went to visit him in the prison when I was three years old knowing for the first time after three months that he was alive. I still remember that… It is important to bring to the viewer the problems that occur not only in our country, for example, what happens in the Chapare… all the abuses, the massacres that the governments commit in the name of the War on Drugs, these should be made known before the public and the entire planet so that this work can stop these attacks and bloody crimes that occur in Bolivia.

Please support Inga’s scholarship via this link:

Ben Melançon

Ben Melançon, 24, Framingham, Massachusetts, is completing his thesis for this Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Massachusetts.

In his own words:

We need for pervasive authentic journalism to enable people to see the possibility of winning a free and just (hence equal) world, in which they personally are better off… The goal is clear: to have people make the decisions that affect their lives. The first step is also clear: people must be able to communicate and build their own agendas, freed from intermediaries representing established power. This is where the questions arise. How do we put authentic journalism in the hands, on the ears and eyes, and from the mouths of every person, of ourselves? Every step requires tremendous organization. A replacement for the media, authentic journalism, must be the first step and eternal lifeblood of establishing freedom, fairness, equality, and democracy.

Please support Ben’s scholarship through this link:

Leny Olivera Rojas

Leny Olivera Rojas, 25, of Cochabamba, is a member of the Bolivia Indymedia collective and the popular cultural youth group Tinku Juvenil, and studies information technology at the Universidad Mayor de San Simón.

In her own words:

I have been involved for five years in the Tinku network where social themes… the interdisciplinary issues of the environment and culture have been part os something that I always wanted to do. Knowing the independent media with a different way of doing this work has awoken in me a better hope of succeeding in the global struggle. That’s why we keep building Bolivia Indymedia, together with others, to be able to know what happens in other countries with independent media. From this point of view it seems urgent to me to have people committed with political causes in the field of journalism because that brings real support to the fight of we the people who seek a more just and unified world.

Please support Leny’s scholarship via this link:

Gerardo Rojas

Gerardo Rojas, 27, of Barquisimetro, Venezuela, is a producer and reporter of radio and TV news in the multi-media network Voces Urgentes (Urgent Voices) of his city, a correspondent for aporrea.org, and a member of the national board of directors of the National Association of Community, Alternative, and Free Media (AMCLA, in its Spanish initials).

In his own words:

Our work tries to share experience with groups capable of developing different kinds of media all at once. We speak of media synergy, which means no more than meeting the full potential of Community Media. We insist on the importance of emphasizing content, and that is what should be respected and adapted to all possible kinds of media.

Please support Gerardo’s scholarship via this link:

Ronald Sebilo-Tibbits

Ronald Sebilo-Tibbits, 27, a native of South Africa, is a radio journalist with WPVM (103.5 FM) in Asheville, North Carolina.

In his own words:

With full recognition and respect for the urgent problems that face so called “third world or developing” countries I would like to pay particular attention to the successes and accomplishments of these countries. Some of my favorite films are Amandla about music and revolution in South Africa and The Revolution Will Not Be Televised about the coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Both of those films capture the true spirit of human triumph. I would like to capture those moments in life. I recognize journalism and media not only as a tool for exploring and investigating reality but also as a powerful tool for creating reality. As important as it is for people to know what problems they face in order to overcome them it is just as important for moral self assurance to know what you have done right.

Please support Ronald’s scholarship via this link:

Julia Steinberger

Julia Steinberger, 30, of Switzerland, studies physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has worked with the Boston Indymedia collective, various alternative radio stations in Boston, “and virtually all the independent media in my area,” and had no fear of speaking aloud immediately after, and about, the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

In her own words:

During the 10 years I’ve spent in the US, I’ve seen bad journalism harming this society and the rest of the world over and over again. The bias is so ingrained the journalists probably don’t even have to make a conscious effort; it is work-by-formula and accepted truisms that don’t hold up to the smallest scrutiny… I need to know what is going on in the world around me, what is happening to other people close and far. I enjoy watching documentaries and reading investigative articles, as well as creating my own works of journalism. I think that the work of communicating between people about each other’s lives and endeavors is vitally important and I want to participate in it.

Please support Julia’s scholarship via this link:

Romina Trincheri

Romina Trincheri, 27, of Rosario, Argentina, is a student (completing her masters degree) and teacher at the National University of Rosario. She is a pioneer in the movement toward a policy of Harm Reduction, that is, reducing the harms associated with illicit drug use under prohibition, and works with the Argentina Harm Reduction Association, among others. Read her letter about the drug war and the media to Narco News readers here.

In her own words:

(Publisher’s Note: One of the many “trick questions” on our application was an essay requirement, asking applicants to critique a New York Times report by Juan Forero about our professor Jeremy Bigwood’s uncovering of evidence of U.S. government money sent to a partisan political group in Venezuela. Romina’s response especially impressed us.)

Can a journalist be ethical and honest in the context of the communication policies of the New York Times? Perfecting the question, we can think more about it: If Mr. Forero had been ethical and honest in his interview, would his newspaper have published his work? The other voices that are intentionally silenced there form part of an exclusionary injustice machine strategically operated by Big Media. The “model reader” that finishes reading the interview, remains submissive when he doesn’t ask questions back at Forero, about the loose and abandoned threads of his story, and the absence of other viewpoints. An authentic journalist, conducting an interview, must exhaust all possibilities for questions. He must make plain use of the power that the exercise of freedom of the press brings…

Please support Romina’s scholarship via this link:

Natalia Viana

Natalia Viana, 25, of São Paulo, Brazil, is editor of the national news section at the monthly magazine, Caros Amigos.

In her own words:

I believe that a journalist, when she is a true journalist, is one in flesh and blood, she can’t escape it. One of the jobs I have here in the magazine is as coordinator of the interns and this has taught me how to recognize, in their faces, who is a journalist and who is not. To be a journalist is to be totally inside the lines of text, to sleep with them, to speak about them with colleagues, to reflect, to try to dominate them, to understand them, better them, prove them. It is to see the world in a singular manner, always observing and analyzing the media coverage of others…

Please support Natalia’s scholarship via this link:

Jennifer Whitney

Jennifer Whitney, 31, of Portland, Oregon, is co-editor of We Are Everywhere (Verso, 2003) about the worldwide anti-globalization movement, and of Que Se Vayan Todos: Argentina’s Popular Uprising – an eyewitness account of the financial meltdown and the ongoing grassroots rebellion.

In her own words:

When I lived in Seattle and was organizing the WTO actions, and the health care and first aid component to those actions, I ducked into the Independent Media Center during the protests to get an update that I could spread on the streets. I saw photographs of the projectiles being fired at protesters by the police, and then, hours later, saw a television report in which the police chief and the mayor denied the existence of any projectiles being fired. Not only was it the first time that I had, with my own eyes and in such a visceral way, seen such blatant misinformation disproved even before it was spun. It gave me great hope to see people like me, through not an enormous amount of effort, do such a thorough job of showing city officials to be so completely dishonest that they both lost all credibility (the police chief was the fall guy for the blundered security of the events and lost his job immediately; the mayor was voted out in a landslide soon after). The subsequent lack of good writing (journalism or otherwise) about those actions has led me, slowly, to commit to writing and journalism at a level I had yet to do before. And my continued interactions with independent media makers keeps me inspired to involve myself more deeply in this work than I ever imagined possible.

Please support Jennifer’s scholarship via this link:

Andrea Wilkins y Martínez

Andrea Wilkins y Martínez, 21 (she’ll be celebrating her next birthday at the J-School), of Riverside, California, majors in journalism at Riverside Community College.

In her own words:

To be perfectly honest, I can’t think any kind of speech that should be prohibited at the Journalism School. I want to know people for who they really are so I can make a wise choice when deciding whether or not to listen to their advice. For example, if someone is a bit prejudiced, I want to know. I would rather someone be completely honest with me – that includes professors – so that I can make a sound decision on their character and the validity of their words. I might be offended but I would rather know this than have that person hide it. As for offensive humor, I can’t think of any off the top of my head; it all boils down to how a statement is made. You can take something nice like “sweetheart” and turn it into something patronizing or you can take something offensive like “cabrón” and turn it into a cariño. I have pretty thick skin so not too much gets to me. In any case, I would like people to say what’s on their mind so I get to know the real individual rather than the politically correct individual.

Please support Andrea’s scholarship via this link:

If you would like to support all our scholars, the school and Narco News, together, please do so today through The Fund for Authentic Journalism via this link.

Your goodwill toward, and your investment in, these talented journalists and scholars will come back a thousand times to you through their good works, reporting to you the facts and truths that the Commercial Media too often distorts or obscures. Without your help, some may not make it to the J-School and the preparation they receive (and give) there, and the growing network of Authentic Journalists across these continents that, through Mutual Aid, friendship, alliance, and teamwork, grows stronger and more effective every day.

As a Narco News reader, you receive the results of their investigations (and ours) for free. We don’t make you look at advertisements, product logos, obnoxious “pop-up” ads, nor do we charge you for subscriptions. We don’t steal or duplicate reports by others. We give our all to bring you original, hard-hitting, investigative journalism, news, and commentary. We operate on the principle of the gift, not the exchange. And we are still here today, reporting on the drug war and democracy from Latin America, because many of you also live by that high principle of giving in a world too often dominated by takers. Your gifts are much appreciated, and I’m confident that you and we together won’t – we can’t, in good conscience – let any of these talented voices be left behind. Thank you in advance for supporting them and advancing the Authentic Journalism renaissance forward.

Cosponsored By:Transportation Provided By:
UMSS
Universidad Mayor de San Simon
LAB S.A.
Lloyd Aereo Boliviano

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America