<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 #34

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Al Giordano

Opening Statement, April 18, 2000
¡Bienvenidos en Español!
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“The Training Camp In the War to Defend the Imagination”

The Narco News J-School Puts the Tools Into Our Hands

By Sean Donahue
2004 Narco News Authentic Journalism Scholar

September 17, 2004

Dear Reader,

When I first told a close friend, the editor of a literary magazine I often publish my work in, that I was going to the School of Authentic Journalism in Cochabamba, she replied “Oh great, another good poet wasted as a fucking journalist!”

Sean Donahue
Her reaction said a lot about how we have come to view journalism in the U.S. – as something toothless and irrelevant, lacking in insight and analysis, and completely oblivious to context. The mass media in our country have become stenographers to power, and the alternative media is all too often marked by shrill rhetoric and sloppy reporting.

The School of Authentic Journalism has been instrumental in bringing about a renaissance in journalism – training reporters whose work is intelligent, well-researched, and informed by a sense of humanity, a sense of justice, a sense of humor, and a sense of context. Ours is a form of journalism that is unafraid to declare which side it is on, obliterating the pretense of false objectivity that makes mainstream journalism both sterile and dishonest. But our loyalty is to a radical vision of democracy, not to any party or leader, so while we focus much of our attention and our rage on the fascist projects of George Bush and Alvaro Uribe and their ilk, we are also unafraid to criticize Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales for mistakes made on the road to liberation.

Diane DiPrima wrote that “The only war that matters is the war against the imagination.” The elites have gained power not through brute force alone, but by manipulating the way we see our world and the way we see our relationships with each other, and by convincing us that their system of total control is the only way to bring order to the world. But pockets of memory remain in Chiapas, in Bolivia, in Venezuela, of another kind of world, where power is shared, the order grows organically, and chaos is embraced as a part of the dance of life rather than as something to be obliterated. And some of in the U.S. are rediscovering that truth as well.

As Ani DiFranco said, “Any tool is a weapon if you hold it right.” The School of Authentic Journalism gives people like me new tools, and helps us learn how to hold them and where to aim. It is the training camp for a new generation of guerillas in the war to defend the imagination.

In every insurgency there are those who fight on the front lines, and those who remain undercover, slipping into the general population and finding ways to supply and fund the revolution. That’s where you come in.

The School for Authentic Journalism runs on a shoe-string budget, working hard to put every dollar directly to work training journalists and helping them get their work out into the world. But we have to fight hard for every dollar, because there aren’t a lot of big foundations and high donors lining up to finance a project dedicated to transforming our culture. That’s where you come in. We need everyone to give as generously as you can. So dig deep into your pockets, and support your troops in the war for the imagination!

Please make a donation for Narco News to continue this work, online, at this link:


Or by sending a check today to:

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


Sean Donahue
2004 Authentic Journalism Scholar
Lawrence, Massachusetts

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America