The Narco News Bulletin

July 18, 2018 | Issue #67 - Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America

The great experience of community

At the School of Authentic Journalism the relationships between journalism, nonviolence and social justice was invaluable

By Aran Shetterly
Class of 2014, School of Authentic Journalism

May 18, 2015
This report appears on the internet at

Despite battling insomnia and suffering a nearly constant low‐grade asthma attack (something that is a too‐common part of my life during the Mexican dry season), the School of Authentic Journalism in 2015 was an unique and exhilarating experience.

Aran Shetterly, a graduate of the 2014 School of Authentic Journalism
Most of the work I do happens at home at my desk. My professional interactions with people are too often by email and phone. While efficient, these modes of communication don't build community. Despite all our technological advances, the gift of community still happens best face‐to‐face‐to‐face and in spaces that promote and nurture it.

The technical coaching at the School of Authentic Journalism was helpful, but for me the chance to take a step back and think and talk about the relationships between journalism, nonviolence and social justice was invaluable.

There were several things that made the experience particularly rewarding:

● First, that we were not expected to be "militantes" and toe a particular line;

● Second, the focus on technique, tactics and quality rather than ideology;

● Third, the precedent established quickly for open and complex "true" storytelling;

● Fourth, the expectation that the beautiful setting, good food and drink, and camaraderie, were meant to produce pleasure;

● Fifth, that this pleasure was not meant to erase the hard things in the world, but rather to help us think about them and renew ourselves to face them;

● And, sixth, the smart, open, big‐hearted people - profesores y becarios - invited to participate.

All of these together cooked up a great experience of community, an experience that continues to take shape inside me.

I have no doubt that this experience is affecting my choices and actions going forward and the depth with which I try to represent the world in my writing.

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