The Narco News Bulletin

June 20, 2018 | Issue #67 - Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America

The Authentic Path

The School of Authentic Journalism: Rescuing Journalists since 2003

By Fernando León
Class of 2010, School of Authentic Journalism

May 11, 2015
This report appears on the internet at

I think I never really noticed that the people I admire were journalists. I knew they had done journalism at some point, but it was a long time before I realized that was the point of their life when they fought to change society. Ricardo Flores Magón, Rodolfo Walsh, Jorge Masetti, Antonio Gramsci, Clarice Lispector, Yulian Semionov: they all took to their pens and paper to call out, organise and reveal with a "v" and rebel with a "b".

Fernando León, grad and professor at the School of Authentic Journalism. Photo NFR (R)

In that sense, their pens and their journalism became a way to organize. Honestly, when I heard of Narco News about 10 years ago, my first thought was that it had the same essence of the "Regeneración" newspaper by the Flores Magón. When all's counted, Narco News and "Regeneración" fight with the same weapons: words and truth.

Since 15 years ago, Narco News uses these weapons every day. From Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, this newspaper has reported social movements and struggles that build a fairer and more just reality day by day. To do this, since 2003, Narco News started to teach journalists from around the world so that they could also be there and would take Authentic journalism to their struggles.

The School of Authentic Journalism is the place where these journalists get trained, through intensive training, the journalists who attend get to hear first hand about other experiences and other processes. From 2003 to the date, the School has had 7 different editions. I have been lucky enough to come to three of them, and I can say that they have all changed my life forever. I am certain I am not the only one who thinks this.

Sometimes, people ask me "What do you do?" and I answer "I'm a journalist". "Oh, and where did you study?", they ask, "In the School of Authentic Journalism", I reply. "Is that like alternative journalism?", "No, on the contrary: it's authentic journalism". Like the School's founder Al Giordano always says: "Alternative journalism is the other one, the shit one".

I never "studied" journalism in an "official" institution. I studied journalism at its sources: on the streets, with people, at the School of Authentic Journalism. Yes, I also went to university and had other schooling. And yes, I live convinced that university is rubbish and that you have to leave that bubble to learn anything real.

Luckily Narco News celebrates 15 years of rescuing people from that collegiate bubble. Okay, you can go to university, lock yourself up for 5 years, pay your fees, get a diploma and keep churning out the same things. But there's another way and that path needs our help to keep getting bigger.

In this world we need spaces like "Regeneracion" and Narco News, and specially places like the School of Authentic Journalism. It is necessary that the school lives on and nurtures authentic journalists and multiplies them around the world. The opportunity to do this is in each of us around the world. We can give up a couple of weekend beers, or a Valentines Day present and donate to Narco News. At the end of the day, we will be sure that we are helping to multiply this fantastic work.

Join the Kickstarter campaign or go to to learn more about the school.

Fernando León

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