<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
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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

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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


Meet the 2010 School of Authentic Journalism Faculty

A Dream Team for the Next Generation of Authentic Journalists

By Al Giordano
President, Narco News School of Authentic Journalism

September 17, 2009

In memoriam: Gary Webb (1955-2004)

Your correspondent once had a dream in which he was the father of twins named Anarquía and Libertad. In a more recent dream they appeared again, all grown up, informing that they, too, wanted to work as authentic journalists, and would I please point them in the right direction?

To whom would I send them to learn the ropes?

Helena Klang (class of ‘03) at a press conference with former Colombian attorney general Gustavo de Greiff during the j-school session in Mérida. D.R. 2003 Jeremy Bigwood.
I wouldn’t send them to an official “journalism school,” no way, after which they’d have to unlearn so much of what they would be fed there (and they or I would, additionally, end up deep in bank debt). The better idea would be to send them out across this hemisphere to study and understand how this work is done from the masters of this field we call authentic journalism.

First I would send them to Mexican state of Yucatán, to its capital city of Mérida, to learn from the maestro himself, Mario Menéndez Rodríguez, publisher of the daily Por Esto! and founder of the Authentic Journalism renaissance. I would ask don Mario to recount his years as a war correspondent covering guerrilla movements throughout Latin America and also in Africa and Southeast Asia, including the time he was captured by the Colombian Army and sentenced to death, and how international solidarity got him out of that fate at the eleventh hour. And I would ask don Mario, now 72, to share the story of how he founded and built what is now Mexico’s third largest daily newspaper in the very years of the 1990s and 2000s that the rest of the newspaper industry began to fall apart.

Professor Charlie Hardy interviews Mario Menéndez Rodríguez during the daily Por Esto! town meeting public assembly in Tixkokob, Yucatán D.R. 2003 Jeremy Bigwood.
And I’d want them to learn about how that fledgling newspaper developed such a strong bond with and loyalty from its readership by holding town meeting assemblies in every corner of Yucatán, where hundreds and sometimes thousands came out to air their grievances (including any they might have with the newspaper itself) knowing that whatever they said would be published in the daily.

But I’d probably also lament that those assemblies haven’t happened in six years due to the efforts by both the Mexican state and organized crime – frivolous prosecutions, lawsuits, gunshots and military grenades exploded in the doors of the newspaper offices – to try to silence the newspaper and its publisher, and would probably grouch to Anarquía and Libertad that they’re already too late for the “good old days” of the birth of the Authentic Journalism renaissance.

Renán Castro addresses the School of Authentic Journalism’s visit to Por Esto!’s Cancún offices. D.R. 2003 Jeremy Bigwood.
And I would ask don Mario to put them to work alongside the team at the daily Por Esto!, courageous investigative journalists in its Cancún newsroom like Renán Castro and Lisandro Coronado Alcocer and to learn about the case of Banco Nacional de Mexico vs. Mario Menéndez Rodríguez, Al Giordano and Narco News, our victory in it, and how it established the first legal precedent, in 2001, that extended First Amendment protections to Internet journalists.

Each of those journalists were part of our founding class, in 2003, of the School of Authentic Journalism.

Journalist Safety in Conflict Zones

Since reporting about powerful interests and those who challenge them can be dangerous work, I might sometimes worry about the safety of Anarquía and Libertad. I’d want them to know how to maximize their own security and, as importantly how not to inadvertently bring harm upon the people or communities they visit to report on.

Mercedes Osuna
So I would send them seventeen hours up the road from Cancún to Chiapas. And I’d have Mercedes Osuna give them some tough love about how to conduct themselves – and how not to – when walking alongside social movements, as she did for me so many years ago. Osuna spent six years as director of the NGO, Enlace Civil, that trained and sent thousands of human rights observers and independent journalists into rebel indigenous Zapatista territory (and she would sometimes have to go into the jungle to pull some out of there when their reckless behavior or indiscretion endangered others).

Jeremy Bigwood
From there, I’d send them to Washington, DC to study under Jeremy Bigwood, who himself was imprisoned as a journalist in Perú by the Fujimori-Montesinos regime in the last century, among other singular experiences, also as a guerrilla war correspondent in Central America. While he taught them about personal safety, I’d have him add a quick course in how to use the Freedom of Information Act (with which he has done so much, including when he helped unearth the documents that proved that US agencies were behind the 2002 coup d’etat attempt in Venezuela). And also to teach them some basics in how to organize themselves, their files, their photos, their notes, in which he has uncanny talent for balancing many tasks at once.

Reed Lindsay
Then they’d need to learn the basics of writing a news story: the famous, if ancient, “who, what, where, when, why and how” of journalism. I’d wish I could transport them back to our 2004 j-school in Bolivia and the workshop held there on that theme. And I’d kick myself for not having videotaped it, much less put the video up on YouTube, but, alas, there was no YouTube way back then. So, being in the present, I’d have to send them, while in Washington, to the offices of TeleSur where its new US bureau chief, Reed Lindsay (School of Authentic Journalism class of ’03), who has just returned from reporting in Honduras, after years of reporting from Haiti, Venezuela, Bolivia and elsewhere. And he would teach them, when writing a story, what a “lede” is, what is a “nut ‘graph,” and such.

Natalia Viana
Then off to Sao Paulo, Anarquía and Libertad would go to learn more of those skills from Natalia Viana (class of ’04) who has reported for several major magazines and wire services from Brazil to Great Britain. And then to Los Angeles, California, where George Sánchez (class of ’03), in addition to helping them know how to craft a story, can regale them with another kind of war story: the daily battles of any journalist working on the staffs, as George did, of several major daily newspapers in these recent years when the industry began to implode.

Dan Feder
I’d also want them to learn how to be creative about their writing, and to know how to pen also in the style of reported opinion columns so as not to bore the reader. That would bring them to either Bogotá, Colombia or Boston, Massachusetts to find Laura del Castillo (class of ’03) and her golden pen. And from there to Caracas, Venezuela they’d go to walk the populated and impoverished hills around the city with Charlie Hardy (class of ’03), the former Catholic priest who lived 17 years in those slums. Charlie would not only teach them a lifetime’s knowledge about creative writing, but also about how to speak with people and most importantly how to listen to them.

Bill Conroy
To expand their hard news reporting skills I would send them to to San Antonio, Texas to learn from Bill Conroy (class of ’04) – the dean of whistleblower journalism – to deepen their investigative reporting skills. Then back to Boston to study with Dan Feder – former managing editor and designing webmaster of Narco News – and then down to Bogotá with Teo Ballvé (class of ’04) who among other jobs has been editing the NACLA Report from there. I’d ask Erin Rosa in Colorado (who reported from Bolivia for us earlier this year) and French journalist Anne Vigna, in Mexico, to flesh out for them what it is to walk a beat in journalism, to study and develop a mastery of your subject matter, and to meet regular deadlines to get the news to publication.

The 21st Century Journalist

Erin Rosa
And because, increasingly, a journalist of any kind has to be multi-media, the first thing I’d do is teach them how to use the cameras on their cell phones. Oh, wait. I don’t know how to do that myself! Reading manuals about technology, I’ll hope, will be easier for Anarquía and Libertad than for me, but I’ve found that a great many reporters and writers don’t know how to do that either. We need a coach to walk us through it.

And so I’d send them to Oaxaca, Mexico to study with telecommunications engineer Bruce Miller Earl on how to best put these cell phones to use. While there, I’d want Bruce to teach them how one’s cell phone can also become one’s worst enemy; that, with GPS tracking, a regime can use satellite technology to hunt a journalist down, too. I’d ask Bruce to teach them how to bypass such systems of surveillance and to understand exactly how they work.

Jill Freidberg
Once they learned how to shoot photos and video from their cell phones, I’d send them to Noah Friedman-Rudovsky (class of ’03) in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, who along with Jeremy Bigwood and others would show them how to take a good photo and to process it on the computer. Then back to Chiapas or Honduras they’d go to learn similar skills from Tim Russo of Comppa (Comunicador@s Populares por la Autonomía).

And from there, to documentary filmmakers Gregory Berger (class of ’04) in Mexico and Jill Freidberg in either Seattle, Washington or Oaxaca, Oaxaca, who have told many an urgent story, and compellingly so, in film. I believe, and have written before, that these two filmmakers have reinvented the genre of documentary filmmaking. Someday the world may catch up. What is most interesting is that they’ve each done it in different ways, and created two new branches on the tree of authentic journalism.

Documentary filmmaker Gregory Berger (class of ‘04) receives his diploma from professor Sunny Angulo (class of ‘03) in Cochabamba, Bolivia. D.R. 2004 Jeremy Bigwood.
From cradle to grave, an image shot on a camera later needs a narrative – a story with a beginning, a middle and an end – to put it in context and cause the viewer to want to care about it and do something about it. Making a documentary film, long or short, is much like writing a news story. It can have its own narrator, or it can be produced in a style that has the protagonists of the film narrate it in word and deed. I’d want them to learn both methods. Beyond the many tech skills they would share, the above-mentioned professors could also teach them about how to walk alongside social movements with a camera in ways that both get the story while not causing greater problems or dangers for the people in those communities.

By now, Anarquia and Libertad would be absorbing a lot of information and knowledge and it would be time for them to learn what may be the most important lesson of journalism: How to work with others, in a team. During the 2004 School of Authentic Journalism in Bolivia, a team produced a documentary on the coca leaf and the people who grow it titled Chew on This, in just ten days. Berger was part of that team, as were Barrett Hawes, and Amber Howard, all class of ’04.

Teamwork and the Class of ‘06

Quetzal Belmont, Teo Ballvé and Barrett Hawes on the Yucatán Peninsula in January 2006 reporting for the Other Journalism with the Other Campaign. D.R. 2006 Ellen Fields.
It was that spirit of teamwork and mutual aid that guided us in 2006 when in lieu of holding a j-school we went on the road in Mexico for six months with a project we called The Other Journalism, reporting on the national listening tour by Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos. We produced six video newsreels plus more than 350 original news reports and more than 700 translations of them in six languages. Our emphasis was on listening to the stories of the people in each of the places we visited. It was a gargantuan effort, involving more than sixty journalists and translators. That’s where Narco News staff reporter Kristin Bricker first began working with us, as well as video journalists Ellen and Jim Fields in Mérida, Yucatán, and Joshua Bregman, as well as the aforementioned Berger, Freidberg, Feder, Ballvé, Hawes, Howard, Belmont, Conroy, Sánchez and The Other Journalism’s director, Mercedes Osuna. I think of all of them as part of the class of ’06.

Quetzal Belmont reporting in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, during Subcomandante Marcos’ first public meeting outside of the state of Chiapas. D.R. 2006 Ellen Fields.
It was, in effect, a j-school on wheels. In addition to publishing so much quality journalism and making the struggles of so many communities across Mexico visible to the entire world, we all learned a lot from each other about all the aspects of journalism by doing it. I would have TV and radio news producer Quetzal Belmont tell our up-and-coming journalists about the sad day she had to take the late Alexis Benhumea to the hospital after he was struck in the head by a tear gas canister, in the town of Atenco. And Barrett Hawes, Amber Howard and I would share our experience of being caught in a small riot between two political factions in one corner of Mexico and what was done in the immediate moment to maximize the safety of the team while also continuing to film, the ethical discussion that came later on whether to publish the footage or not, and why we decided not to.

Paloma García
And I’d want our young journalists to know about radio and in particular community radio and some of the basics of how one reports and enunciates for that medium and also the nuts and bolts of how small communities erect transmitters and towers to create their own radio. So I’d sit them down with the aforementioned Tim Russo and also Andrew Stelzer (class of ’03) and Sunny Angulo (class of ’03) to learn about that. And while they’re with Sunny – the anchorwoman of The Global Report – I’d ask her to coach them in how to conduct themselves while on camera on television. And then I’d send them back to Caracas to hear the same from TeleSur reporter and anchor Lourdes Zuazo. Because even a print or Internet journalist must sometimes go on television to talk about a story, and he and she therefore must understand the medium and how to work it. And then to Buenos Aires, Argentina to be coached by investigative journalist Paloma García of public television channel 7, also a veteran of TeleSur.

When I mention, full of pride, the video newsreels we’ve produced collectively in Bolivia and Mexico, if I had one self-criticism it would be that we didn’t always produce them fast enough for maximum impact while the news in them was still fresh. And so I’d also send Anarquía and Libertad to Jesse Freeston of The Real News, in Washington, DC who produces two or three viral videos a week, usually in less than a day, like this recent one he did on the Honduras civil resistance:

Frankly, a lot of us have become pretty good at producing video newsreels but we lack the speed to do it literally overnight. News cycles do not sleep, and speed is a weapon in information wars, too. So during the 2010 j-school we will all learn – students and professors alike – how to accomplish that by doing it in real time, so that a session like the ones described above – say, Reed, Natalia and George explaining how to write a news story – will happen on, say, a Monday and by Tuesday there will be a ten or fifteen minute viral video on the Internet summarizing the highlights of that panel or class. This will not only serve as excellent on-the-job training but also will make the lessons available to everybody that wants to learn them anywhere in the world.

Luisa Ortiz Perez
Anarquía and Libertad would also have to learn how to best make use the Internet, including the participatory Narcosphere. And I can think of few better than the hard workers I chose to lead the Narco News tech team: webmaster David B. Briones and Newsroom Coordinator Chris Fee, with an assist from the webmaster that designed our site and later editor of the publication, Dan Feder. And I’d have them talk with Helena Klang of Rio de Janeiro (class of ’03) about how to get more attention for one’s work on the Internet. And with Ben Melancon (class of ’04), administrator of The Fund for Authentic Journalism, and recipient of a Knight Journalism grant, on how to raise resources for such work. And I’d have them huddle with Luisa Ortiz of Mexico City, online editor at esmas.com, also an expert at bypassing traditional technologies.

Let’s Talk

Oscar Olivera
And then I’d love to have all of these journalists and talents over to the house for a few evenings to converse, together, in group discussions on the ethics and philosophies of authentic journalism: What is democracy? What is press freedom? How should society and democracies regulate media, if at all? How do the countries in our hemisphere stack up when it comes to press freedom? How does an authentic journalist fund his and her work? And what are the challenges when our work is funded by commercial media, or by government media, or by NGOs and issue organizations, or by private philanthropists, or, as in the case of the majority of Narco News’ funding, by small donations from the readers. That’s an important discussion that all journalists need to keep having.

Finally, there would still be something missing from these lessons, if I didn’t send Anarquía and Libertad to a few more masterminds to complete their training: As civil resistance movements gain steam across this world of ours, it becomes more and more vital that authentic journalists understand the strategic dynamics of popular struggle. That is to say: how political battles are won and lost.

Celeo Alvarez Casildo and Karen Vargas
For those most important lessons I would send them to union leader Oscar Olivera in Cochabamba, Bolivia, strategist in the Water Wars of 2000 and the national blockades of 2003-2005 (and also a veteran School of Authentic Journalism professor, class of ‘04). And also the founders of the School of Leaders in La Ceiba, Honduras, the husband and wife team of Celeo Alvarez Casildo and Karen Vargas, to help instill the ethic that there is a difference between a leader and a boss, and that journalists have learn not just how to write a lede, but how to lead, too.

Ivan Marovic
I would send them to Great Britain to speak with professor Howard Barrell of the Cardiff University School of Journalism, who was an organizer and information gatherer for the African National Congress in South Africa in the seventies and eighties and saw it shift from an armed insurgency to a nonviolent struggle, and Howard could tell them how that helped the ANC defeat apartheid. And I’d have them hear from one of the smartest and fastest and most creative – and, often, humorous – political organizers I’ve ever met: Ivan Marovic of Serbia, one of the youths most responsible for the nonviolent campaign that toppled the Milosevic dictatorship in 2000.

Jack DuVall
And because early in life I learned most of what I know about the dynamics of political change through participation in nonviolent struggles, and later in life I find myself returning to that study as more social movements in the countries where we report have moved from armed to unarmed struggle, I’d gather up a collection of the leading strategic thinkers and actors on nonviolence and civil resistance, its history, strategy and tactics: Jack DuVall, executive producer of the PBS documentary series A Force More Powerful, professor Roddy Brett of the Universidad de Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia (and author of books on Guatemala’s long civil war and aftermath), professor Stephen Zunes of the University of San Francisco, author of Nonviolent Social Movements, and also Vanessa Ortiz, senior director of civic and field learning for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. And we’d have a big ol’ discussion on how, historically, social movements have won many gargantuan battles with a different kind of weapon, and the role of authentic journalists and communicators in those histories.

Stephen Zunes
And of course, I’d want to poke my own nose into some of these discussions and lessons to help them along, but the education of Anarquía and Libertad, with all that travel through South, Central and North America is already going to be very expensive, perhaps as costly as that of, or more expensive, than what is offered by the institutional journalism schools.

Anne Vigna
Now, here’s the even better news: We won’t have to send Anarquia and Libertad or any other up-and-coming journalist all over the hemisphere to meet each of these tutors individually in their own lands, because we’re bringing them all together for ten intensive days of February 2010. Them, and also a few more surprise guests to be announced, all present in the same campuses along the Yucatán Peninsula, to learn, to teach, to exchange ideas and resources, to hone our skills and our ethics, and – with the assistance of j-school social directors Tiberio Tinarelli and Maia Facen, of Italian and Argentine birth and located in Mexico for many years now – have some fun while doing an enormous amount of work, too.

And what of those community assemblies called by Por Esto!, the only daily newspaper in the hemisphere to hold them, but which ended in 2003? That part of the Authentic Journalism renaissance that, in bitter moments, I thought might be over? One of the ten days of our upcoming j-school will be spent accompanying Mario Menéndez and the team at Por Esto! as they convene their first town meeting in six years, in a Yucatán community to be announced. For the Authentic Journalism renaissance, these are the good old days.

Oh, and this just in: from the office of Miriam Martínez, Assistant to the Minister of Communications and Information of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Blanca Eekhout (class of ’03), to my email box:

Dear Al,

Good Afternoon.

Please receive a cordial greeting in the name of Minister Blanca Eekhout.

This is to thank you for the invitation that she participate in the next School of Authentic Journalism, hoping that the development of these activities brings multiple satisfactions, for its valuable contribution and its grand disposition to construct a better world.

At the same time, it is my job to inform you that you may include her in the School’s agenda on the date of your choosing, reminding that should any change in schedule be needed we will alert you promptly…

Thanking you for all your consideration and esteem, I am,


Miriam Martínez
Assistant Minister

Blanca Eekhout (class of ‘03) returns to the School of Authentic Journalism in 2010 as Venezuela’s Minister of Communications and Information. D.R. 2003 Jeremy Bigwood.
That’s right kids (of all ages). You will also, should you impress us with your application, have the great privilege and opportunity – if her responsibilities don’t get in the way – to meet and converse with one of our first and best students, the one who helped build and maintain a community television station, Catia TV, in the popular barrio of Caracas by that name, even before she later helped write the law that made it legal to do so.

Blanca Eekhout was 31 years old in April of 2002 when armed soldiers barged into her community’s TV station and simultaneously took the nation’s public TV station while they kidnapped its elected president. And it was Blanca, wrench in hand, who organized her neighbors to march down to the public TV station, break the padlock off the gates, turn on the transmitter, the cameras and other equipment, and announce to the nation that their president had not resigned, as the commercial media had claimed, that he had been kidnapped, and to come down from the hills and retake their country.

And the people came down from the hills and toppled that coup d’etat in three days.

Like, I expect, many of the students that will win scholarships to the next Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, February 3 to 13 in Mexico, Eekhout came to our 2003 j-school as a student but taught us all plenty. Just a few months ago, in May 2009, she was named as her country’s cabinet member in charge of media policy.

Lourdes Zuazo
And my final word of advice to Anarquía and Libertad before sending them off for their education in authentic journalism would be: don’t expect to agree with every single thing every one of these teachers (or I) says. That would be impossible, because being all smart and independent minded people, they don’t all agree with each other on every damn thing! As Mario Menéndez Rodríguez often says when defining authentic journalism: “You add your truth to my truth and, together, we can make a bigger truth.”

One of my truths is that I do not have twins named Anarquía and Libertad or any children at all. A life of community organizing and then journalism took the space of other choices. But in lieu of Fathers Day cards and Christmas sweaters from Anarquía and Libertad, I have an email box that fills, hundreds of times a year, with letters from young people in Spanish, English and some other languages, too, who want to practice authentic journalism, who want to work with us, intern with Narco News, and learn this craft. We don’t have the budget to take on all or even most of them. So we created the School of Authentic Journalism to recruit and train the very best.

Amber Howard and Natalia Viana (both class of ‘04) interview a Bolivian military official while reporting a story during the School of Authentic Journalism. D.R. 2004 Jeremy Bigwood.
Years ago those emails had names like Reed Lindsay, Blanca Eekhout, Dan Feder, Laura del Castillo, Natalia Viana, George Sánchez, Sunny Angulo, Helena Klang, Noah Friedman-Rudovsky, Gregory Berger, Quetzal Belmont, Amber Howard, Ben Melancon and Andrew Stelzer. They included some experienced hands like Bill Conroy and Charlie Hardy who applied to be students and were then invited as professors. (For this coming session, there is at least one professor on our faculty who applied and didn’t get selected, but later we learned the error of that by watching his work.) They and our professors attended these ten-day intensive boot camps in authentic journalism and then went out into the world to practice it. Anarquía and Libertad do exist, but within those colleagues and, now, peers. And I could not feel better about it or be prouder.

Here is the roster for the faculty of the 2010 Narco News School of Authentic Journalism:

Mario Menéndez Rodríguez * Blanca Eekhout * Jeremy Bigwood * Mercedes Osuna * Reed Lindsay * Bill Conroy * Oscar Olivera * Karen Vargas * Celeo Alvarez Casildo * Ivan Marovic * Lourdes Zuazo * Howard Barrell * Luisa Ortiz * Charlie Hardy * Laura del Castillo * Dan Feder * Natalia Viana * Gregory Berger * Jill Freidberg * Noah Friedman-Rudovsky * Sunny Angulo * Roddy Brett * Quetzal Belmont * Renán Castro * Lisandro Coronado Alcocer * Paloma García * Amber Howard * Barrett Hawes * Teo Ballvé * Helena Klang * Jesse Freeston * Ben Melancon * Jack DuVall * Vanessa Ortiz * Erin Rosa * Anne Vigna * Tim Russo * Ellen Fields * Jim Fields * Bruce Miller * George Sánchez * Andrew Stelzer * Joshua Bregman * Kristin Bricker * David B. Briones * Chris Fee * Al Giordano

Vanessa Ortiz
And, as before, there may be some who apply as “students” whom we decide to add, instead, as professors. And we may yet invite a few more teachers with additional experiences and perspectives to bring to the table.

I don’t know of any other school of journalism, or any school at all, that counts with more professors than students, in which no student pays tuition, at which no professor is paid a salary (and most pay their own costs of getting there and being there), at which and every scholar will have at least one personal faculty advisor.

This is a different kind of school, one that recruits a different kind of student, not based on his and her ability to pay, but on his and her true merits.

Por Esto! editor Renán Castro leads a discussion at the daily newspaper offices during the 2003 School of Authentic Journalism. D.R. 2003 Jeremy Bigwood.
Most heartening is to watch, after these j-school sessions, is how the students and professors stay in contact with each other, visit each other, forge lasting bonds (there have been four marriages and two children that came from these j-school bonds that, like the mythical Anarquía and Libertad might become potential scholars at j-schools future), not to mention that our international network of solidarity has gotten a few of us out jail or other trouble that stemmed from our journalism. Most j-school graduates now have a port in any storm in most corners of the American hemisphere. And many – certainly, the names you’ve read above – have made good use of it.

In the six years since we founded the School, we have, together, created and strengthened a culture of authentic journalism.

And we’ve done this at the precise hour when commercial journalism is falling apart and is no longer trusted by the people.

One model of journalism has failed.

The Other Journalism is replacing it.

If you look at yourself in the mirror and see someone like these authentic journalists and communicators I’ve just mentioned, or if you strive to carry on their (our) struggle, then please request an application and fill it out by November 1, 2009.

To receive a scholarship application in English, write to: app@narconews.com

To receive a scholarship application in Spanish, write to: sol@narconews.com

Likewise, if you know somebody like the hard workers I’ve just mentioned – and these few sentences that describe them don’t tell even of all the skills and experiences they each count with to share – then point that talent toward us, and push him or her to take the plunge to apply for one of these 24 scholarships.

Or if you just believe that this School is a good idea and an important cause, we’re raising $20,000 in small contributions from readers, friends and supporters to make the 2010 School of Authentic Journalism happen. You can donate right now, on line, to The Fund for Authentic Journalism at this link. Or you can send a check to:

The Fund for Authentic Journalism
PO Box 241
Natick, MA 01760 USA

Your contribution will be tax deductible and every dollar you give, up to $20,000, will be doubled with matching support.

We’re looking for 24 up-and-coming talents with social conscience. (If readers surpass that fundraising goal, we’ll take on more students, too.) And we’ll give our all to help them be better, faster and more coherent in this work.

There is no other program like this on earth. Someday, we hope, there will be many. But right now, we are somewhat painfully aware that the present and future of authentic journalism depend heavily on people like us and people like you who support our work.

“With great power,” as Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker, “comes great responsibility.”

Investigative journalist Gary Webb (1955-2004) addressed the 2003 School of Authentic Journalism in Mérida, Yucatán. D.R. 2003 Jeremy Bigwood.
Ponder that, and we hope to see you in the Yucatán February 3 to 13 of 2010.

Again, you can apply for a scholarship to attend the School of Authentic Journalism by sending an email to app@narconews.com, or to apply in Spanish to sol@narconews.com, and we’ll send you the application, which is due on November 1, 2009. And we’ll announce at least 24 scholarship recipients on or around November 15 to attend the School from February 3 to 13 of 2010.

And see you on these pages where we continue reporting, “day in, day out,” as the late Gary Webb (class of ’03) once wrote, that those made uncomfortable by our reports “can grit their teeth and suffer” Narco News’ reporting as we “actually make things happen, as journalists are supposed to do.”

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