The Narco News Bulletin

August 15, 2018 | Issue #67 - Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America

Truthful Media is One Antidote to Violence

There is an Urgent Need to Sustain Ethical Reporting

By Jacqueline Serrato
School of Authentic Journalism, Class of 2013

April 20, 2013
This report appears on the internet at

A paranoid immigrant, my father felt that he had to prove to the system that his family was well-intentioned and that his children would grow up to be American lawyers and doctors and bankers who would permanently distance him from the stagnant poverty of the rancho. Hoping that I would pick up some English on behalf of the whole family, he would order me to hand-copy articles off the major Chicago newspapers, a ritual that strained my relationship with the language at a very tender age, but also lunged me into the realm of writing.

Newspapers and what they spoke never really became easier for me to read, however. Even as I checked in and out of crowded public schools, the fact remained that our local newspapers were not designed for the consumption of working families. For our voice to be included, communities of color had to undergo police or youth violence that was worth reporting. As for Spanish-language media, they literally translated traditional sources.

Certain areas in the city have been trained to interact with the media only in the face of tragedy. Neat and polished reporters appear quickly to cover the basics on the weekend's homicides and to explore the people's suffering before the camera, only for the stories to be primarily seen in the wealthy parts of the city. "Gang-related" and "gang-affiliated" are loosely used in crime stories to brush off any accountability and the complex nature of urban violence.

Racially and economically split up by viaducts, train tracks, and other infrastructure, Chicago politics maintain this historical segregation in the way they allocate city resources. With unemployment at an all-time high and hundreds of public schools threatened to close, we have a large demographic of frustrated youth within defined boundaries that, when crossed irresponsibly, result in the alarming rates of gun deaths. As a result, local violence is perceived by others and even ourselves(!) as a problem inherent to us and unlikely to change.

Truthful media is, therefore, one antidote to violence. Informing the public of the way current systems affect our lifestyle, exposing the various dimensions of the human experience, and defining our future place in society is ideal journalism. I trust you understand the urgent need to sustain ethical reporting. Please support the School of Authentic Journalism and all media makers and truth seekers like myself for the informed betterment of our immediate surroundings and the world.

Make a donation today by clicking this link

Or you can send a check to:

The Fund for Authentic Journalism
P.O. Box 1446
Easthampton, MA 01027
United States


Jacqueline Serrato

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