<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 August 27, 2014 | Issue #67


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Distortion is the Enemy of Social Movements

Supporting The School of Authentic Journalism Will Help Bring Our World into Sharper Focus


By Ellie Ismailidou
Class of 2012, School of Authentic Journalism

March 20, 2012

There is one attribute that seems to tell people all the wrong things about me: ‘Greek’. I am a 26-year-old professional journalist, trained lawyer and novice filmmaker. And I am Greek, at a time when being Greek seems to mean being lazy, reluctant to change or even violent – at least according to the way a big part of international media has portrayed my people over the past two years.

The details of the infamous ‘Greek crisis’ are no secret – the soaring public debt, the uncontrollable unemployment and the deficit targets missed one after the other; the severe austerity measures introduced every couple of months along with each new bailout package; the rising social unrest, the violent chaos on the streets and the deaths of innocent citizens. This, however, is not the whole picture.

Three years ago, as my country first started descending into chaos, I began my journey as a professional journalist. I took my first steps as a reporter for an independent start-up news website back in 2008, when the notorious Greek riots broke out, following the murder of 16-year-old student, Alexandros Grigoropoulos.

At this point on my journey, I have been offered the unique opportunity to attend the School of Authentic Journalism in March 2012. I am eager to learn about Strategic Journalism and Civil Resistance, at a time when accurate coverage of social movements is needed more than ever.

Over the course of the past three years, I have reported on Greek socioeconomic issues for print, online and broadcast, mainstream and independent, Greek, Spanish, US and Norwegian media. I have covered diverse types of social struggle – from violent anti-austerity demonstrations that led to the death of three innocent individuals in May 2010, to the unprecedentedly peaceful Greek ‘Indignant Citizens Movement’ that occupied public places for three months, from May 2011 to July 2011. Civil resistance is far from a theoretical notion for me. It is what I have been closely experiencing and reporting on for the past three years.

Attending the school will allow me to share the insight I have acquired and learn from the experiences of activists and journalists from all over the world, who are striving to organize or cover social movements. This creative interchange will give all of us the tools to overcome the bumps on the way and manage how to approach civil resistance in an in-depth and effective way.

In an attempt to decipher Greece’s fiscal and social problems, the majority of international media has focused on a rather oversimplified interpretation of events. Complex issues, such as the social implications of severe austerity, the role of foreign creditors in the perpetuation of the Greek “debt binge” during the past decade and the speculators’ gains from the current sovereign crisis, are often ignored. Also ignored are the hundreds of thousands of citizens protesting peacefully, demanding social justice and opposing the decimation of social welfare and collective bargaining.

Numerous civil movements in 2011, such as the Spanish Indignados, the Greek Indignant Citizen Movement, the Mexican Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity and the US Occupy Wall Street, to name but a few, have proven that ordinary citizens can indeed organize non-violent resistance. The question that we need to answer is how we can make this resistance last in order to bring about real change in society.

There is something you can do to help young journalists like me acquire the necessary training to faithfully report the facts; to holistically address complex issues; to promote worthy causes and to spread the word for non-violent resistance; to create networks so that their work can reach the maximum number of people. You can support the School of Authentic Journalism.

You can donate right away online via this link:

http://www.authenticjournalism.org

Or by sending a check to:

The Fund for Authentic Journalism
PO Box 1446
Easthampton, MA 01027 USA

The School doesn’t charge any tuition and provides scholarships for 40 students of different ages from all over the world, who want to learn how to serve authentic journalism and thus serve the public.

Please make a contribution to the Fund for Authentic Journalism and support my scholarship and the scholarship of other aspiring authentic journalists from all over the world.

Ellie Ismailidou

Athens, Greece
Class of 2012, School of Authentic Journalism

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