The Narco News Bulletin

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

The Dream of the School of Authentic Journalism Exists Once a Year

Each year when the dream ends and I wake up, the lessons I've learned and the people I've met remain

By Alex Mensing
School of Authentic Journalism, Class of 2013

March 3, 2016
This report appears on the internet at

The past three years of my life have been punctuated by a recurring dream. It happens once a year, stretches my imagination and plants seeds of creativity (and action) in my mind.

In the dream, I converge with a varied group of people from far-off places in a large city. We arrive all at once and introduce ourselves, yet we seem to already know each other quite well.

We climb aboard a bus and travel to a beautiful place, far away from the city, calmly waiting for us. We toast with an elixir prepared by two mysterious hosts, and we set to work.

Wise teachers narrate a long history of struggle between good and evil, a struggle in which they played a part. Young people fighting today's battles study the past and think, collectively, about the present and future. Scenarios are imagined, skirmishes are arranged and played out, strategies are discussed, weapons and tools fashioned, sharpened, honed. Mentors and mentees speak for hours over warm coffee and cold libations, their roles blur, old ideas and new ideas dance together into the night.

This dream exists. It is called the School of Authentic Journalism, and each year when the dream ends and I wake up, the lessons I've learned and the people I've met remain. My toolkit for working for social change has improved and my network of allies, friends, and mentors has grown.

The School of Authentic Journalism is a place created by those who believe that journalists and organizers - roles played by many who often do not even consider themselves as such - can use careful study and planning, training, creativity, words, images and sounds to organize and support social movements to be successful. And it can be fun. In fact, it MUST be fun.

But in the waking moments between schools, while we are all working hard in our respective corners of the planet, we need to garner the support for the dream to carry on.

Last year hundreds of people donated generously to make the School happen. It was a huge success. This year we need to raise $30,000. We've made it happen before, and we can do it again, but we truly need your support.

This school has provided me with the tools, the inspiration, the community and the confidence to work more creatively and effectively. Since graduating from the School in 2013 I have written about various social movements, participated in organizing and viral media with Central American refugees in Mexico, and joined the fight to end for-profit detention of refugee families in the US.

But there are so many battles to be fought, movements to be won and worlds to be imagined. More people need these skills. They are searching for them as you read this. This dream needs to grow.

Please make a contribution towards the 2016 School of Authentic Journalism.

Thank you so much.

Alex Mensing
School of Authentic Journalism, Class of 2013

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