<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 May 30, 2017 | Issue #67


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Announcing 20 Scholarships for the July 4-7 School of Authentic Journalism in Mexico

For this Intensive Training in Reporting on Social Movements, Completed Applications are Due on May 22


By Sandra Muñoz
Class of 2015, Deputy 2016 Director

April 26, 2016

The School of Authentic Journalism will hold its thirteenth session July 4 through 7 near Mexico City. Scholarships will be granted to twenty writers, reporters, communicators, bloggers, artists, filmmakers, photographers, editors, radio conductors & producers, investigative journalists, community organizers and webmasters who communicate about social movements and want to do it more effectively.

The program is an intensive four-day training session that will share skills and techniques for writing, reporting, photography and video and on how to promote information via the Internet and other media. Scholars are also trained in the underlying strategy, tactics and planning of successful social movements.



Sandra Muñoz reads a news story at the 2015 School of Authentic Journalism. Photo DR 2015 by Antonio Hernández.

I attended Narco News’ School of Authentic Journalism as a scholar last year. What I learned here gave me confidence to start planning my own photography projects. I learned ways to showcase my work and make it more engaging. I learned there are others who also have the will to make a positive change in our communities. This realization is very powerful and lasting. I know that other scholars left the School with the same impression, with a renewed sense of purpose, and more trust in the possibilities ahead of them.

When the School’s founder and president Al Giordano asked me to write this announcement, I was excited to think how many of you are out there who share the School’s vision and can win the same opportunity to learn, grow, improve technical skills and create a sense of community.

If you want to change the world, and you have interest or talent for video, photography, social media, reporting or other communication skills, the School is for you! The School is for us, the ones that want to help our movements, who want to help communities win battles rather than just march around and lose them again and again.

More than 500 people have attended the School in the past 12 years. It is the only school I know of that charges no tuition and where the professors are volunteers (and most of them are graduates of the school).

This year Al asked Greg Berger (class of 2004 and the school’s Admissions Director) to captain the fundraising drive on Kickstarter to raise the resources to make the school possible. The drive was a success! It is a source of pride for all of us involved with the School, to know that so many people believe in this project.



Litza Jalla Fernández explaining the concept of “Alliance Spectrum” during the School of 2015. Foto DR 2015 por Karina González.

Soon we’ll announce the full slate of professors. Confirmed so far are:

Mercedes Osuna, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México:

During the first years of the Zapatista indigenous rebellion in Chiapas, Mercedes directed Enlace Civil, the NGO that trained and sent, on invitation, national and international human rights observers and journalists to Zapatista communities to learn and work with them. Among her trainees: Our school’s founder, Al Giordano.

Johanna Lawrenson, New York City, US:

Johanna and her late husband Abbie Hoffman organized a successful environmental movement to stop a megaproject along the St. Lawrence River that divides Canada and the US in the 1970s, and now runs the Abbie Hoffman foundation, teaching the organizing techniques pioneered by the United States’ most famous political dissident of the last half century.

Bill Conroy, Seattle, US:

Narco News’ senior investigative reporter is well known to readers for his hard-hitting journalism that has exposed countless public officials, police agencies, corporations and others in drug war and border corruption.

Like Giordano, they have experience winning battles against powerful interests.

The school’s beloved social directors Tiberio Tinarelli (with the project since the first school in 2003) and Maia Facen will be back as well to, among other tasks, judge the annual “happy hour” theatrical competition between the professors’ team and that of the scholars. (Last year’s school was the first time in the school’s history that the professors won that battle

Each professor has organized or reported real political battles and social movements. At the School of Authentic Journalism, we believe that those who can best teach us to win with social movements are those who have already done so.

Many of the other professors will be people like Al and I: journalists and media makers who have walked many years alongside social movements, learned from them and applied their lessons to our way of doing authentic journalism.

Al Giordano is well known to his readers all over the world, especially in Latin America, Mexico and the United States. His 2001 court victory in the Banamex vs. Narco News case won press freedom protections for all Internet journalists. His journalism has helped countless movements achieve their goals and helped stop numerous harmful corporate projects and even topple tyrants.



Professors and scholars in a team dynamic, attending the class “How to Write a News Story” Photo DR 2015 by Karina González.

Fabiola Rocha (class of 2013) is the Director of the School of Authentic Journalism, a writer, a video maker, a dramaturge, and an experienced leader of training sessions in nonviolent civil resistance throughout Mexico. This is a school that trains journalists to think from both sides of the camera – both as communicators and as organizers – to be better able to report on the strategy and tactics of movements as they are happening.

Greg Berger, as director of Narco News TV, is the talent behind so many of the videos that go “viral” because in addition to being informative they’re humorous and fun. He and the school’s video team will train scholars in each step of the process from developing the concept for a video, writing it, filming, editing, post-production and promotion.

Also returning as professors in 2016 are many of the bylines you already know from Narco News: Uriel Pérez, Alex Mensing, Abril Davila, Antonio Hernandez, Karina Gonzalez, Ivan Ulchur-Rota, Jocelyn Quiles, as well as some graduates returning as professors for the first time, including political cartoonist Augusto Mora and and photojournalist Eliza Arrieta, as well as others not yet confirmed.

We will announce more of this year’s professor group soon – some will have graduated just last year and will return this year to learn to teach what they know. That’s how this School has always rolled: training and building leadership not just in the skills but also in how to teach those skills.

More than 500 people have attended the School in the past 12 years.

As global trends such as grassroots movements, changemaking, and community organizing keep growing, media’s importance keeps increasing and it is fundamental that movements have communicators prepared to support them.

How can you apply to the school? Simply send an email to sol2016@narconews.com and we’ll send it out right away. This year’s school is Spanish only and the application must be returned in that language. We hope in years to come we’ll be able to raise the larger resources needed for a longer bilingual school but we’re grateful that readers have contributed the $30,000 needed to make the 2016 school happen.

The application is long and includes an essay question. Part of the reason for that is to weed out lazy people or those who don’t really want it enough.

Completed applications are due at 11:59 (Pacific Time) Sunday, May 22.

Applicants will be informed in mid-June as to whether they’ve been accepted for the class of 2016.

On behalf of the entire team at Narco News and the School of Authentic Journalism, we hope you’ll apply and encourage communicators and organizers of talent and conscience to do so.

Once again, the application and the school this year are in Spanish, it’s due May 22, and can be obtained with an email to sol2016@narconews.com.

Sandra Muñoz
Class of 2015, Deputy 2016 Director

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