Narco News School of Authentic Journalism





FEBRUARY 10 to 20, 2003


Thanks to a grant from the Tides Foundation, six starting journalists and/or journalism students will be chosen by Narco News to come to Mérida on the Yucatán Peninsula of the Mexican Southeast in February 2003 for a ten-day intensive workshop in authentic journalism by the makers and colleagues of The Narco News Bulletin and the Mexican daily newspaper Por Esto!.

Scholarship winners will receive airfare to and from the seminar, food and lodging, and will attend all events during the ten-day seminar for free.





This seminar will include hands-on work by each student as a journalist:

Scholarship recipients will participate in Narco News' extensive online coverage of the historic first-ever drug legalization conference with participants from throughout América, North and South, titled OUT FROM THE SHADOWS, hosted by the Autonomous University of Yucatán.

That event will take place February 12 through 15 in Mérida, capital of Yucatán state, featuring former Colombian attorney general Gustavo de Greiff, leaders of the coca growers unions in Bolivia, attorneys, scholars, legislators and experts on drug policy from the drug war "hot spots" in our hemisphere. The conference, like the seminar, will be bilingual: for Spanish and English speakers alike. Scholarship students will cover these events as reporters and publish their news stories and analysis on the online newspaper.



Then, beginning on February 16, students will attend participatory discussions led by Narco News publisher Al Giordano with experienced journalists and communicators. Sessions will be held in English and in Spanish, with translation provided. Participants will tour the facilities of Mexico's third-largest and fastest-growing daily newspaper, Por Esto!, speak with editor-publisher Mario Menéndez, and the team of reporters and photographers who documented large-scale cocaine trafficking activities on the lands of Mexico's wealthiest banker.

Menéndez, Giordano and Narco News were victorious co-defendants in the "drug war on trial" case in which the New York Supreme Court ruled in their favor against Banamex-Citigroup and established a landmark legal precedent extending the First Amendment protections of "Sullivan v. New York Times" to Internet journalists.

The seminar will include presentations by First Amendment attorneys who defended that historic case in the United States and in Mexico, and by Internet pioneer John Gilmore of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, including an analysis of how journalists, especially online journalists, can make full benefit of the New York court's decision.


Mario Menéndez Rodríguez -- Gary Webb -- Renán Castro Madera -- Annie Harrison -- John Gilmore -- Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar -- Jeremy Bigwood -- Gustavo de Greiff -- Maria Botey Pascual -- Jules Siegel -- Peter Gorman -- Lisandro Coronado Alcocer -- Gonzálo Subirats García -- Maximilien Arvelaiz -- Juan Ramírez -- Valerie Vande Panne -- Anthony Lappe -- Stephen Marshall -- Luis Gómez -- Dan Feder...

You can read more about them, see their photographs, and read about some other invited guests at:

Students and Faculty of our J-School will also attend one of Por Esto! editor Mario Menéndez's Community Assemblies. Por Esto!, the third-largest daily in Mexico, is the only daily in América that invites the public to critique and advise the newspaper face to face with its publisher and staff.

We are contacting other important authentic journalists to invite them to join our faculty. The list of faculty (above) is thus incomplete, subject to change, and open to your suggestions, too.

Some of the faculty members have agreed to make their presentations barefoot and in bathing suits on a sleepy Caribbean beach sipping cold liquids from coconuts.



The six scholarship recipients will be chosen by publisher Al Giordano in consultation with our partners at Salón Chingón, the Narco News Team, the Por Esto! News Team, and our Faculty, to find "the six biggest potential journalistic troublemakers and truth-seekers on the planet," from a variety of regions, languages (Spanish or English) and tendencies. Interest and familiarity with the Narco News project, the authentic journalism movement, Internet and other media, as well as possession of a writer or communicator's "voice" and talent, a sense of humor, and a commitment to authenticity in journalism and democracy will be weighed as positive, but not exclusive, factors in reviewing applications and choosing the six scholarship recipients. We will also consider the applicant's possibilities of continuing to work with the Narco News project, or in other media, reporting on the drug war in Latin América.

At a time when commercial journalism is in a state of crisis, we're looking for a dream team help us cover an important news event - the first América wide drug legalization conference - and to receive training in the craft and ethics of authentic journalism as practiced by Narco News, Por Esto!, and others we admire.

We also want very much to hear from journalism students and beginning journalists what you think about the crisis of our profession and how to best carry forward the Authentic Journalism Renaissance.

To receive an application form - it's due on November 15, 2002 - send an email to



If you think you're part of the future of authentic journalism, use the application form to persuade us that you ought to be one of the Authentic Six.

Letters of recommendation (email only), inquiries and suggestions regarding the Narco News Authentic Journalism Scholarships should also be sent to our colleagues at

If you are chosen for this scholarship part of your training will include your own journalistic work as a Narco News correspondent reporting on, interviewing the participants, and analyzing the OUT FROM THE SHADOWS convention.

You'll receive private coaching, review, critique, and advice about your work from experienced journalists on your faculty.

Likewise, you'll be covering your own journalism classes for Narco News - reporting what the journalists, opinion-makers and students are saying about the crisis of journalism in our times and potential solutions. There will also be sessions on technical skills. Thus, you'll also be disseminating the nuts-and-bolts basics of the training sessions to a larger body of readers.

Journalism is about persuasion and coherence, too: Just convince us, in plain or creative language, using any form of media, that you're what we're looking for when we want to point to somebody and say, "see, the Authentic Journalism Renaissance is alive and well." Tell us what you think about how the drug war in our América is reported, and what you personally would like to do, journalistically, about it in 2003 and beyond. And tell us a little bit about what you want to learn from experienced journalists and communicators. That will help us design the program to the students' needs and those of the readers who will be "taking the courses" online.


Distribute this announcement to potential scholarship recipients you know, as well as at journalism schools, workplaces, and independent media websites, publications and broadcasters. Applicants may be of any age or experience level but must be fluent in either Spanish or English, and be experienced in the use of email. Scholarships are open to print or online journalists, and also to those working or studying in all forms of media, broadly defined, including photojournalism, video-journalism, filmmaking, long-form non-fiction writing, radio, and other means of communication.

Deadline for applications will be November 15th.

Winners will be informed on or near December 1st, and will be flown to and from the Yucatán Peninsula as our guests from February 10 through 20, 2003.

Beyond the six winners of the scholarship, a yet to be determined number of additional applicants will be invited to attend the seminar free, some with partial scholarships.

The Narco News School of Authentic Journalism reserves the right to set all terms of the program and to accept or reject participation by anyone for any reason.

This event is a trade free zone; a cultural exchange, not a moneymaker. Much of the seminar will also be made available online at free of charge to the public and to authentic journalists and readers everywhere.

Lea Ud. ésta página en Español

Deadline for applications: November 15, 2002

Read the Opening Remarks

from Your College President

To receive an application, in English or in Spanish, send an email to:

Authentic Journalism: The Next Generation