<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
 English | Español August 15, 2018 | Issue #32

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Al Giordano

Opening Statement, April 18, 2000
¡Bienvenidos en Español!
Bem Vindos em Português!

Editorial Policy and Disclosures

Narco News is supported by:
The Fund for Authentic Journalism

Site Design: Dan Feder

All contents, unless otherwise noted, © 2000-2011 Al Giordano

The trademarks "Narco News," "The Narco News Bulletin," "School of Authentic Journalism," "Narco News TV" and NNTV © 2000-2011 Al Giordano


Narco News Reborn

A $30,000 Matching Grant, and a New Model for Authentic Journalism

By Al Giordano

January 1, 2004

Happy New Year, kind readers… I bring good news. Here’s the short version:

Narco News will begin publishing again – “reporting on the drug war and democracy from Latin America” – in a matter of weeks.

You can take that to the bank, literally: Narco News is coming back.

In gratitude to all of you who made this happen, we will shortly be opening the floodgates of publishing at Narco News to our reliably expanding circle of Authentic Journalists, volunteers, and donors.

You used to be able to read it. Now, many more of you are going to be able to help write it, too.

If you’ve helped us (or if you soon will help us) with your time, with your talent, or with your money, then we invite you to become one of our hundreds – and eventually, a thousand or more – of “co-publishers.”

This will bring you, among other opportunities, the ability to comment, immediately and without advance moderation, on the news stories we report, and to do some reporting and commenting of your own on the Latin American beat for all our readers.

You’ll still be able to count on our pool of Authentic Journalists in Latin America for news and reports from the front. In fact, you’ll be reading more reports, from more of us, than ever before.

Additionally, Narco News is “going interactive.” No newspaper that we know of has yet opened the doors to participation by the readers in the extreme ways that we are about to do it. Over the next few weeks, as we reassemble our team of Authentic Journalists, we’ll also be conducting a public dialogue with you, a consultation, to determine how we reconstruct this monster together.

Introducing: The Fund for Authentic Journalism

First, let me introduce you to our new fiscal sponsor, The Fund for Authentic Journalism, which will now allow our journalists the press freedom of having a newsroom that keeps “the money side” separate from the editorial side of the newspaper.

The Fund for Authentic Journalism has taken on Narco News and the School of Authentic Journalism as its first two projects. The Fund is now registered in the state of Michigan, and has applied for 501c(3) nonprofit tax-exempt status with the federal government of the United States; we believe that approval is likely to come in a matter of months.

Any contribution you send today to The Fund for Authentic Journalism will be doubled, by a pending matching grant from the Tides Fund for Drug Policy Reform, up to a total of $30,000. We are already almost one-third of the way to that goal. With your participation, we hope to meet that challenge by Narco News’ fourth birthday, on April 18, 2004.

As a “matching grant,” we may only receive this total if we raise an equal amount from you. Help us cheer the triumph of Authentic Journalism, again, over Big Money’s attempts to boss all media, and join in the celebration with a contribution of any size, no matter how small or large, and send it to:

The Fund for Authentic Journalism
P.O. Box 71051
Madison Heights, MI 48071 USA

Or, you can donate, via credit card, through the Fund’s website:


Your contribution today will be doubled by the matching grant. If you give fifty bucks, your donation will become a hundred dollars. If you give $250 dollars that will effectively make for a $500 dollar contribution. Very small contributions – a dollar bill, a five-dollar bill, a ten or a twenty… – are now doubly important to this effort.

Your contribution, once the check or online payment clears, will be reflected in the charts over at The Fund for Authentic Journalism website that will measure our progress toward our goal.

That’s not all. Your contribution of any size, no matter how small, or even if it’s not a financial contribution but, rather, in the form of your donated time and labor, will bring you deeper into our circle: Your voice will be invited onto Narco News in a way that has never been attempted by any media organization.

The Birth of Donor Democracy

Narco News is, in a matter of weeks, going to unveil a new model that we call Donor Democracy in journalism, in which all contributors – of money or labor – shall become co-publishers.

Co-publishers will be invited to comment on the work of our journalists, and all shall have an equal voice in the dynamic, interactive, public assembly that this newspaper is about to pioneer. We’re going to keep two big truths at the front of this discourse: One, that all donations, no matter how small or large, bring equal weight and access, and; Two, that donations come in many forms, not just with money.

Over recent years Narco News grew very rapidly…. too rapidly… And we, the team of Authentic Journalists who investigate, report, and translate the news could not keep up with the size of the explosion of our own making.

We suspended publication on October 18th, and turned to Civil Society: to you, the readers.

You responded with advice and ideas, many of which we are already implementing. You formed a new organization, The Fund for Authentic Journalism, to take over the fundraising side of the operation and protect our journalists from outside pressures. And you contributed more than $9,000 in pledges (without even a guarantee that we would live to publish again, thank you, especially, for your faith and hope), plus an offer that we announce today of a $30,000 “matching grant” that, in addition to bringing Narco News back to report the news in a matter of weeks, will create the conditions to make us never-again dependent on large donors to do our job.

Whether you gave, over the past four years, ten dollars or ten thousand dollars, or if you gave no money at all but instead contributed your labor to report a story that we published, or if you studied or taught at the School of Authentic Journalism, or if you volunteered your help as a graphic designer or computer programmer, or if you organized an event for us, you will be offered a free co-publisher’s account on Narco News. That account – subject to a very few but firm guidelines to keep us legal and never boring – will entitle you to comment freely and immediately, without having your comments screened in advance, on all Narco News stories and features. We will still retain a moderated letters or comments section so that other readers, too, can make their voices heard whether or not they are donors.

Let’s be clear: We are not going to charge money or require paid subscriptions to be able to read Narco News. All content on the site will continue to be free-of-charge to all readers everywhere. But we will offer special interactive features for contributors, regardless of the size of your contribution, or whether your contribution was with money or with labor, that will allow you, too, to speak through our newspaper.

Already, more than 200 of you gave to Narco News, through our former fiscal sponsor, LiveArt1st, or you gave to our “Drug War on Trial” defense fund. Already, we count with scores of Authentic Journalists that have published good work on our pages, or have participated in our J-School. If you are one of those folks, who have already helped build and defend this online newspaper, you can sign up right away for your co-publisher’s account. Simply use this link to help us verify your identity and historic contribution, and your online co-publisher’s account will already be waiting for you a few weeks from now once we begin publishing again.

As longtime readers know, our way of doing Authentic Journalism was greatly influenced by the “democracy from below” model begun, serendipitously, ten years ago today by an uprising by the indigenous Zapatista rebels of Chiapas. That model gave birth to Narco News and the Authentic Journalism movement (and, not inconsequentially, to a globalized movement against top-down globalization). We’ve also incorporated other grassroots models for political change, from the Bolivarian Circles of Venezuela to the indigenous models of El Alto, Bolivia, to the community assemblies of the daily Por Esto! in Mexico, and elsewhere, into our new Donor Democracy model.

For the first time, we see innovations occurring in the United States that suggest a new model for financing media and journalism. In fact, this happened a year ago in South Korea. But these Donor Democracy models have not yet, until today, been attempted in American journalism: rather, it’s in the political realm that the seeds of economic democracy have begun to sprout. We have watched and learned, in recent months, by watching the ways that organizations like Moveon.org, MeetUp.com, and some of the U.S. presidential campaigns, as well as “bloggers” in general, have opened the floodgates to a more authentic participation from below. The democracy-from-below movement has now crossed over the border into the United States and is evolving to meet the specific needs of electoral political change. Why not incorporate these innovations into the publishing of journalism, too?

Political fundraising, for example, has been transformed on the Internet: this year marks the first time that small donors have begun to overwhelm the few large donors that once bought and paid for an entire political system in Gringolandia. A paradigm shift has occurred in how politics and campaigns are financed. This is exactly what we must do to Narco News, first, and, consequently, to all of journalism: take away the power of Big Money. With your participation, we’re now going to apply that model to a new way of financing journalism and media: by creating the space for the many – the readers and Civil Society – to literally take power from us, and from others. Help us generate this people power, and you will share it with us.

Obviously, the needs of a guerrilla army in Chiapas are different than those of an electoral campaign, whether in the USA or in Brazil or in Venezuela. Likewise, the needs of an international online newspaper, of its journalists who do a dangerous job putting integrity first, of its readers, and of its journalism students, are all going to share some elements while others will be necessarily unique and distinct. But, basically, we all have one thing in common: By opening the floodgates to a freer, more autonomous, participation by Civil Society, everybody wins.

Thus, in four to six weeks, when Narco News begins reporting again, and the Fund for Authentic Journalism is fully operational, the floodgates are going to open to you.

What Happened Last Fall?

In our first three-and-a-half years of publication, we fast became influential enough to, at times, positively change the course of history from Mexico to Venezuela to Bolivia and elsewhere, simply by documenting, reporting, and translating, the true facts of the news stories that the Commercial Media ignored or, too often, distorted.

Narco News became huge, but we had not become big enough to protect our own journalists from the backlash that came when powerful forces realized that the simple existence of a slingshot called Authentic Journalism was breaking their Goliath and undemocratic plans for our América.

After we beat back the attack by billionaire bankers against our freedom of the press, in December of 2001, a landmark legal precedent came in the form of a court order that won First Amendment rights for all Internet journalists in general, and specifically, by name, for us, it seemed to many (including to us) that our good luck made Narco News invincible.

Well, we were not invincible.

We were just a small, rebel, band of journalists with a mission, a vision we called authenticity, and a large following to which we gave our all without asking anything in return.

But as we grew and changed, the response of the world around us changed, too. We were fortunate, in 2002 and 2003, to have been able, through the largesse of a few, to scratch together around $60,000 to feed our journalists, to reimburse some of our travel and expenses to report these stories, and to train up-and-coming journalists through the School of Authentic Journalism. But those funds came from a very few sources, the largest (but not all) of which mainly liked our reporting on a single issue: the drug war in Latin America.

Ending drug prohibition is an issue that is at the core of our mission, as we explained in our Opening Statement. It remains so today. We have been second to no one in giving our blood and toil to this fight. Many of our journalists and I have been fighting that battle for three decades. But being on the battlefields throughout Latin America soon gave us access to a very important piece of direct information: that if drug policy reform is going to continue advancing in Latin America, it is only going to advance in the way it already has: through the growth – and defense – of Authentic Democracy in the region. Every step back into the dictatorial and colonized regimes of the past constitutes a reverse of progress on drug policy, among all other human events, too.

It was only natural that the “drug war” beat became part and parcel of the democracy beat, and vice versa. The first turning point came in April 2002, in Venezuela, when Narco News played what many journalists throughout the world said was a pivotal role in exposing the attempted coup d’etat in that country. The readers – whose increased attention could demonstrably be measured in “hit counts,” in links to Narco News from other websites, in email, and in letters to the editor – understood why that was important. Global attention and response to our little website grew drastically in those days. Virtually all of Latin America understood the importance of that story as well.

From the defeat of that attempted coup, there came, rapid fire, election cycles of 2002 in three other countries… in June, it was Bolivia… in October, came Brazil and Ecuador… that demonstrated to the world that a sea change is underway in Latin America, and that it is advancing through the ballot box. When we said this political shift would happen, back in 2000, and that it would have consequences for the US-imposed “War on Drugs,” few believed us. Today, everybody – even the enemies of the process – agrees that it’s a fact. We reported extensively on those changes from the ground in those lands. By December 2002, the enemies of this democratic renaissance made a final stand with an attempted economic coup in Venezuela, that the Commercial Media called a “strike” but was, in fact, a top-down lockout by the rich against the working and poor majority.

We reported on that, too, and that’s where our problems – leading to troubles much greater than a mere billionaire lawsuit had ever caused us – began.

One of our largest donors, upon whose generosity we had become, in retrospect, too dependent, suggested to us – shortly after we helped defeat that coup, at a time when our readership cheered and skyrocketed in numbers – that he wanted to see less Venezuela news and more of what he considered to be single-issue drug policy reporting in Narco News. We never saw it as an either-or matter. More than half of our news reports were already focused exclusively on the drug war. Our small, inadequate, budget still meant that our journalists were producing so many of what he and others considered to be pure drug policy stories that, if our journalists were paid at all, we were working for less than minimum wage, under the poverty line.

Labor is money, too. The “money value” of our labor, in fact, by any market standard, exceeded all financial contributions to our work from all donors. We were still covering the rest of the Big Story – about democracy – gratis, by donating our time and labor. No honest publication can or should try to pull pro-democracy reporting and drug policy reporting apart. Those that have done so have fallen into the same inauthentic traps that have the Commercial Media simulators sinking in dishonesty’s quicksand today.

We kept our eyes on our mission, as we defined it, and we did not change our editorial priorities, so perhaps not surprisingly we apparently lost that major donor in the process. He felt, as he expressed in an email to one of our journalists, that he did not want to pay for what he called reporting on “Latin American communism and socialism.” Our own sensitivity to the McCarthyist overtones of that statement aside, he has a right to his opinion and his priorities. But we honestly disagree. We would have preferred to carry on that conversation in the light of public view. Well, now that all donors, small and large, past and present, will have equal access for your voices to be heard on Narco News, perhaps that conversation will someday continue in the only place where it belongs: not in the shadows, but in the sunlight.

What one person calls “Latin American communism and socialism,” we view as democracy. When change is reflected and measured “the American way,” at the ballot box, and the election is fair and free, that’s democracy. We never endorsed candidates or political parties: we don’t see that as part of our mission. Our credo is to let the people decide. But when an authentic election happened anywhere in our América, after years of dictatorships, coups, and electoral fraud, we always weighed in on the side of fair and free elections, and of constitutional rule where they are fair and free.

This seems like a no-brainer, but it must be said aloud: At a time like now, when those pro-democracy changes are demonstrably bringing about changes in public attitudes and drug policy in Latin America (as we have already demonstrated in hundreds of news stories), reporting on the change itself is necessarily a big part of reporting truthfully and accurately on the drug war. (That Latin America is proving “single issue” politics to be a self-defeating form of myopia, especially when it comes to drug policy reform, will hopefully, someday, be as accepted an important truth North of the border as it is to the South.) But, still, our editorial independence had its price: Our refusal to conform our editorial content to a very large donor’s expressed wishes apparently lost us half of our previous annual budget, and left our journalists in the field dangerously unprotected.

So, by last October, we had to make a decision that many in Latin America have also had to make throughout history when faced with differing desires from above. As Zapata phrased it: to live on our knees, or to die on our feet.

Luckily, and thanks to so many of you, we stayed on our feet without having to die.

Like the fighter Mohammed Ali, pounded by the bigger, stronger, boxer, George Foreman, during that famous championship bout in Africa, we stayed on the ropes for various rounds, in a seemingly suspended state, but still on our feet, to be able to come back today with our knockout punch against all would-be censors in the future.

We turned to Civil Society two months ago, to ask you what to do…

And Civil Society has responded… Ali Bumaye!

Narco News, I repeat, will be reporting again, soon.

How soon? That’s, in part, up to you, but, in any case, it might well be within a month.

How Did We Come Back?

This part of the story is more fun and joyous: Shortly after Narco News suspended publication nine weeks ago, another of our major donors, Professor George Salzman, in Oaxaca, Mexico, had a different point of view, and he brought it into the sunlight. From his personal website and email list, he launched the Civil Society campaign to save Narco News.

Then, a reader in Michigan, Andrew Grice, joined that campaign and took on a very historic role. Grice joined Salzman and others in exercising authentic grassroots leadership, and has, together with other longtime friends and allies, now formed a new organization – The Fund for Authentic Journalism – that has made the resurrections of Narco News and the School of Authentic Journalism its first two major projects.

The formation of The Fund for Authentic Journalism (it’s filed in the state of Michigan, and begun the process to apply for 501c3 non-profit, tax-exempt status) now allows us to maintain the wall between the “money side” and the “editorial side” of journalism that is the keystone of all journalistic ethics, and, indeed, the First Amendment priority of all authentic democracy.

We, as Authentic Journalists, feel that we got the best gift of all for the New Year that now arrives: We won our long-term editorial independence. ¡Olé!

As rank-and-file readers and supporters kicked in small donations, Grice contacted each of our previous major donors seeking help in the Civil Society campaign. The leader of one of them, Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance in New York, responded to Grice positively, saying he and his organizations would try to help.

Some days ago, the Tides Fund for Drug Policy Reform – affiliated with Nadelmann’s DPA - took a heroic move and raised its maximum grant to Latin American organizations from $25,000 to $30,000, toward our work, and, additionally, made it a “matching grant.” That means that if we raise – from you, kind reader – an additional $30,000, we will have our basic minimum budget for 2004, and will be able to report as much or more of the news as we did last year, and we will be able to continue to train the next generation through the School of Authentic Journalism.

Professor Salzman’s Civil Society campaign has already brought in $4,200 (most of which went to pay our debts to the journalists that we owed for work already done, and to keep our website archives online, thank you all very much): we are awaiting word on whether those $4,200 in funds may be counted toward the Tides matching grant.

Additionally, we have just received an additional $5,000 in immediate contributions. The Tides matching grant will turn that into another $5,000… so we are already at least one-sixth of the way toward meeting our minimum annual budget.

What we need from you, now, is an immediate flood of donations to jumpstart Narco News again, and to bring more of that matching grant into our war chest.

The bottom line: In early 2004, as soon as humanly possible, Narco News will begin reporting again.

You did it.

Much to the chagrin of the drug warriors from Washington to Wall Street, of the inauthentic Commercial Media correspondents, and of usurpers of authentic democracy who cheered our apparent demise, Narco News now stands at the threshold of a comeback.

We’d also like to thank our previous fiscal sponsor – LiveArt1st – and its treasurer Andrea Smith in New York for having supported us so competently over the past four years. LiveArt1st, which supported many writers, journalists, actors, and artists, in our work, closed its doors and its bank account yesterday: please do not send any more contributions there. Instead, send your Narco News jumpstart contribution, today, making your check out to The Fund for Authentic Journalism.

We’d like to publicly thank everyone in Civil Society who refused to allow Narco News to die, especially Professor George Salzman, Andrew Grice (who is now treasurer of The Fund for Authentic Journalism), the Tides Drug Policy Reform Fund, and each of you who have participated and donated in the Civil Society campaign to save Narco News.

The goal is to expand the “narcosphere” to 1,000 donors, most of them with modest contributions of money or time: one thousand people who will stand up for Authentic Journalism and become part of its renaissance. Very shortly, on the new website of The Fund for Authentic Journalism, there will be a chart measuring the response to the first goal of the Fund: 1,000 donors. The progress toward meeting the $30,000 matching grant will also be measured and updated.

Our goal is to meet that $30,000 by our fourth birthday – April 18, 2004 – and to have one thousand donors by the end of the year. We need to show the world – not just potential major donors but also our competitors in the Commercial Media – that there is real grassroots support for Authentic Journalism and for the specific mission of Narco News: reporting on the drug war and democracy from Latin America. We ask you to help us demonstrate to everyone that there is a grassroots base that understands that the issues of ending the US-imposed War on Drugs, and of promoting Authentic Democracy and Authentic Journalism, rise or fall together: that the “single issue” approach to politics and journalism alike is no longer viable in a globalized world.

We know that you “get it.” We can measure your wisdom by hit counts of readership, and your many comments over the past four years: the people understand that tragedies like drug prohibition, as with other threats to human rights, free elections, a free press, the environment, the rights of workers, indigenous, and everybody else in América’s no-longer silent majority, can only be dismantled through authentic democracy and authentic journalism.

We have already broken the mold of the obsolete and corrupted versions of journalism and social organization. Now we need to construct the new model, and demonstrate how it can work.

Rome was not rebuilt in a day, and neither can Narco News return to full speed immediately. Like any bird with a huge wingspan, the hardest work is in getting off the ground. We estimate that it will take four to six weeks to reconstruct our war machine of Authentic Journalism and begin reporting again. We have already signed some key Latin American journalists who you already know and love to be fulltime members of our core news team. Dozens of them will soon be “blogging” the news, daily, on Narco News’ interactive pages from all corners of our América. But – since we don’t yet know exactly how fast or slow the matching funds will be arriving – we need your contribution, today, preferably with the immediacy of an online credit card contribution: our core journalists still lack the minimum resources to allow us to meet in one geographic location, during this month of January, to finalize our game plan for 2004.

This is probably my last fund appeal to you. In the future, when it comes to fundraising, you’ll be hearing instead from Andrew Grice and other supporters of The Fund for Authentic Journalism. Andrew has the baton now, and the hat to pass around.

I’ll still be soliciting your ideas, talents, labor, and journalism, which are just as important as funds to Narco News and the Authentic Journalism renaissance. In sum: your warplane now has two wings.

What Do Readers Want?

Your key role in this new model will be constructed in consultation with you, our readers and friends.

For example:

  • Would you like to participate in more expansive, faster-moving, “real time,” comments sections on Narco News?
  • Would you like to meet other Narco News readers in your town, through “Narco News Circles,” assembled in a new model that borrows from MeetUp groups and Bolivarian Circles alike?
  • Would you like to, as a member of Narco News Circles, be able to travel throughout Latin America, North America, and other parts of the world and meet similar new allies and friends wherever you go who share our common interests and goals?
  • Would you like to attend the next session of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism? Would you like to see it happen in the coca-growing Chapare region of Bolivia? Or do you know a great up-and-coming Authentic Journalist who you’d like to recommend for a J-School scholarship?
  • Would you like to read, and comment, on Narco News web logs by our Authentic Journalism scholars and others knowledgeable about the drug war and democracy in Latin America, published and updated around the clock, responding to and correcting all the daily distortions by the Commercial Media, with your comments, too, in English, and Spanish, and Portuguese, with real-time translation in multiple languages?
  • Would you like to, as a reader, voting with other readers, make the decisions about which of those bloggers’ comments, or comments by co-publishers responding to them, are so worthwhile that they will be linked from page one of Narco News or the other websites in our growing community of Authentic Journalism? (That’s right: we’re even ready to share the Front Page with you. What other newspaper would do that?)
  • Would you like to be an intern, or a reporter, for Narco News?
  • Would you like to learn Spanish, or English, or Portuguese, and the skill of how to translate América’s major languages, and participate in the team that translates the “narcosphere” of web logs and reporters’ notebooks from Latin America and elsewhere?
  • Would you like to be able to chat online with other members of Narco News Circles?
  • Would you like to participate, with webmaster Dan Feder, as a computer programmer, on our tech team, helping us to design, redesign, and meet the needs of Civil Society to participate in the Authentic Journalism renaissance?
  • Would you like to attend and participate in assemblies, discussions, Fund for Authentic Journalism events, Salón Chingón parties and salons, School of Authentic Journalism forums, or similar events, in your city, town, campus, or elsewhere?

These are just some of possibilities that we’re already hard at work to bring you. Some can be accomplished very rapidly and economically. Others will require your energy and participation. Others, still, will require meeting our initial goal of $30,000 by April 18, 2004, and then moving forward to exceed and expand upon that goal.

But first, it’s going to require your response, and a healthy response from others, to become founding members of The Fund for Authentic Journalism’s “Authentic 1,000.”

Members of the “Authentic 1,000” will be cordially invited to participate in many projects like those, above.

We’re lucky: Narco News already has the most ideal foundation – this would be much harder to do from scratch – upon which to construct the new model:

  • A legacy of 900 original news reports and translations in the Narco News archives, which are extensively cited, weighted, and linked, from other publications, and remain a favorite of search engines everywhere. Narco News also remains the only publication on our beat with all our reports linked from Google News, a favorite daily news source among journalists everywhere.
  • The single-largest readership of any online publication of any kind that reports on the drug war in English, or Spanish, or Portuguese… or any online publication that reports on Latin American democracy in English… and the only one, obviously, that does both.
  • A base of more than 200 small donors to our previous efforts, including the Drug War on Trial legal defense fund in 2001.
  • The support of The Fund for Authentic Journalism to implement the “money side” of our work (and shield our journalists from having to cross that line).
  • Thirty graduates of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, and our top-shelf network of Contributing Writers and Professors.
  • An active, online, community of commentators who have already participated in the Readers Forums at Narco News, and at my blog, BigLeftOutside, among other online locations.
  • An historic New York Supreme Court decision protecting our First Amendment rights as members of the free press.
  • A base of more than 2,300 subscribers who actively signed up for our free alerts lists in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, currently based at Yahoogroups.

Journalism Is A Power to Be Shared

Today, this is my core message to you, the readers and the good people of Civil Society who refused to allow Narco News to disappear:

Journalism is power. As Authentic Journalists, we seek to construct and share that power with the people, and, where possible to do without endangering or corrupting our selves and our reporters, or, heaven forbid, to become boring, to create, with your collaboration, a space through which you can take the power we’ve constructed and make it yours.

Our previous model worked a crack in the system: Serving the many through the largesse of the few, and the sharecropper labor of our journalists, and by doing it in a compelling manner that did not, like too many other worthy ventures, lose the public by becoming boring. And it really worked.

But it only worked until we got so big that the crack was slammed shut.

The next phase of Narco News will continue with the same vital mission – Authentic Journalism that serves the many, reporting on the drug war and democracy from Latin America – but through a different power source: the participation and largesse of the many, with The Fund for Authentic Journalism as the physical plant of that power source, the greatest power source that ever existed: the people.

The floodgates will fully open in early February.

By opening these gates, we know that our project will evolve and change.

Most importantly, it will be changed from the only direction that we can accept and still maintain our integrity: from below, from the people, from Civil Society, and never by dictates from the wealthy. The media has endured too much of that already, and democracy is dying because Big Money has ruled all media.

As to how it will change, I invite your comments at a public brainstorming session on my web log, in these weeks of January prior to restarting Narco News:


That discussion will help determine how Narco News comes back from the grave, including how the Narco News Readers Comments section and other participatory ideas mentioned above will be opened wider, to make Narco News a new model for public participation in journalism.

You have already helped us to rewrite the book of how journalism can and should be practiced. Our first three-and-a-half years were quite a ride.

But as our friend, co-defendant, and co-chair of the School of Authentic Journalism, Mario Menéndez Rodríguez, says when he begins his each of his newspaper’s public assemblies in towns across the Yucatan peninsula:

“I have my truth, you have your truth, and only together can we make a bigger truth.”

Now, we ask you to participate in rewriting the newspaper that overturns and destroys the old, corrupted, models of media, journalism, and activism, and brings forth a new and better model.

It’s already happening – from Latin America and, now, even in North America – in politics with new models for democracy that are being constructed from below.

We’re here to make sure it happens in journalism and media, too.

From somewhere, again, in a country called América,

Al Giordano
The Narco News Bulletin

Narco News is supported by:

The Fund for Authentic Journalism
P.O. Box 71051
Madison Heights, MI 48071 USA

The Fund receives online donations at this web page:


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