|English | Español||September 1, 2014 | Issue #67|
One Authentic Journalist’s Brave Struggle with... Herself
“I kinda sorta want you to donate to the School of Authentic Journalism”
By Katie Halper
Journalist and social humorist Katie Halper (right) with fellow 2010 School of Authentic Journalism graduates Noha Atef and Edwin Reed-Sanchez.
I’m seriously torn. I don’t know what to do. The last time I felt this conflicted was when Arizona signed SB 1070 into law. Sure, it was a sad day for Mexicans, and ethnically ambiguous Mediterraneans, and democracy, and equality all that, for sure. At the same time, it was a great day for me and my twittership. By commenting (within 140 characters) on the miscarriage of justice that was—and is SBS—I actually gave birth to my own litter of retweets, replies, and followers. Knowing I could not remain silent about my inner turmoil, I spoke out, and took the the tweets, writing “New #AZ law is DEF racist, xenophobic, bad 4 immigrants/country/humanity. BUT it’s brought me lots of new followers.” I’m so conflicted!
Once, again, I face a moral, ethical, political and personal dilemma. As someone who graduated from and will be teaching at the life-changing School Of Authentic Journalism, and as someone who believes in independent and fearless journalism, I want to ask you to support the School of Authentic Journalism.
You can donate online at this link:
Or you can send a check to:
The Fund for Authentic Journalism
PO Box 1446
Easthampton, MA 01207
At the same time, as a political comedian whose muse is the corporate, unethical media, do I really want to bite the hand that (while slapping and strangling most of the world) feeds me (if not literally, then at least egotistically)?
The more authentic journalism there is, the harder it will be for me to create my comedy. Imagine a world where I will have to sift through quality reporting before I get my hands on the schlock that is comedy gold. It’s already annoying enough to get sidetracked by great journalism by on Haiti by authentic journalist scholar Ansel Herz while I search for Pat Robertson’s meteorological morality tale on the root of Haiti’s earthquake. And the more Wolf Blitzer talks to Ansel, the less I can blitz the Blitz! Some of my jokes just won’t work as well in a more authentic media world. For instance, how can I mock the country and media for its obliviousness to the coup in Honduras when J School grad and Narco News Reporter Erin Rosa is actually covering it? You better stay away from Lanny Davis, Erin! He’s mine!
The school doesn’t just foster amazing journalism, but, even worse, fosters people as individuals and collaborators (yawns!). It even outs its students and teachers, bringing out their creativity and hidden talents. Again, this sucks for me! My Semitic comedy is a lot less special when you have people like graduate and teacher Noha Atef in the mix, who not only risks her life running a brilliant blog on torture in Egypt, but is charming, hysterical and an amazing mimic! Plus I had to share a room with her. Having to share a room with Noha really rubbed my face in it. And since the school encourages great relationships and friendships, Noha and I are great friends, she stayed with me over the summer and we just might be the key to peace in the Middle East, all of which is just salt rubbed into my wounds!
I don’t want to be a big funny progressive fish in a small media pond. The more fellow travelers, or swimmers, the less I stand out as the big kahuna! But, then I remember, the great lessons, values, commitments that make this school possible and that are in turn made possible by the school: I think a rising tide lifts all boats and fish. I realize, united we stand, divided we fall. I sing out, no man is an island, except, apparently, Paul Simon and/ or Art Garfunkel, in which case they’re more like an archipelago. While the myopic selfish part of me wants to appeal to you to fund FOX news, I urge you, I implore you, I beg you to support the School of Authentic Journalism because by helping the school, you’re not just helping the media and helping the world. Of course those are two noble causes, but they are amorphous, intangibles, and thus, kind of a waste of your money. Support the school because you will make my work, my vision, another epic video, a concrete yet invaluable contribution which may actually be the one thing that could save the media and the world.
- The Fund for Authentic Journalism