The Narco News Bulletin

June 24, 2018 | Issue #67 - Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America

Your donation today will make the School of Authentic Journalism possible in 2016

As soon as we pay the bills for the School's 2015 edition, Narco News will share plans to do it all over again in 2016

By Iván Ulchur-Rota
School of Authentic Journalism class of 2013

January 20, 2016
This report appears on the internet at

The School of Authentic Journalism is important to me. I went in 2013 and since then I've said many times that I learned more in three weeks at the School of Authentic Journalism than in four years- and over 30 thousand dollars in debt-in college. The program is intense, demanding and very practical. It focuses on the success of social movements from across the globe and the communication strategies that empowered them.

JIván Ulchur-Rota, class of 2013, returned to the School of Authentic Journalism in 2015 as a video professor. Photo D.R. 2013 by Antonio Hernández.Photo by Antonio Hernandez.
The school's overlap between social organizing and journalism is not gratuitous. In an increasingly over-mediated world, it is imperative to strategize grassroots communications. For this last session, one of the pivotal themes was the appropriation of social media as both a potential catalyst for community organizing and a systemic distractor and alienator. We looked at the recent example in Guatemala, for instance, of how to effectively bypass the mass media production of meaningless food for apathy or fear and, instead, take advantage of new platforms to coordinate collective actions.

I was invited to return last year as a professor (I teach video production for a neighborhood news network in Manhattan). Right after the end of this year's media-detox session, the news was waiting with a reality shock. In reaction to the attacks in Paris, Facebook had turned "solidarity" into yet another one of its functions. The French flag filter became the knee-jerk, automatic response, allowing-and encouraging- consumers to express their thoughts, condolences or horror, passively from home. To me, this reaffirmed that we urgently need more training in media that engages, and involves the public creatively and with a direction.

At the school I learned that a conscientious media is meaningless if it neglects strategy or if detaches itself from its social base. In doing so I've met some of the most passionate, intelligent and committed people I've met in my life. This project is a testament to our capacity to organize, build and forge true solidarity.

The School of Authentic Journalism team prepares to announce the 2016 scholarships and assemble the resources to make it happen again. But first we need to finish paying the debt for additional costs incurred in carrying out the 2015 school last November. I recently pledged $10 a month for the next year. Whatever you can afford - large or small, a one-time donation or a year-long monthly pledge - please click the Fund for Authentic Journalism website and make a contribution today:

As soon as the bills are fully paid on the 2015 school, we'll announce the next one.

We count on you to make it happen again. Please donate.

Iván Ulchur-Rota
Class of 2013, Professor 2015

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