On the Highway to a New and Better World… but Out of Fuel
The Risks of Authentic Journalism Are Clearer than Ever, but Greater Danger and Harm Awaits Us All if We Are Unable to Do This Work
By Al Giordano
Publisher, Narco News
November 7, 2006
The year 2006 doesn’t stop, not in Mexico, nor elsewhere. The dramatic and historic events, the losses and victories, flap by like kilometer markers, each leading to the next at greater velocity… Chiapas… Oaxaca… Atenco… Mexico City… Tijuana… Juarez… so many other places, peoples, pains and pleasures… and you’ve been there with us every stop and story along the way via the pages of Narco News.
Mexico, the land where this international newspaper was born six (almost seven) years ago, provides a mirror of what will occur soon everywhere, and has happened in many other lands already: The looting of the land by the powerful who now come for every last ounce of strength in our collective hands, the resistance to that destruction, the repression, police raids and political imprisonments, the stolen dream of democracy and the advanced technologies of election fraud, the simulation of “the news” by the mass media, the attempts to block people and ideas with walls and laws… an Other Campaign listening to and linking together the voices from below, a machete held high toward the heavens, a popular assembly that holds its ground for five months against all the brute force that power can muster… a friend and colleague dying on the street as his camera falls sideways and continues to record the gunshots…
If at the beginning of this rollercoaster year you doubted us when we wrote that history is being made in Mexico, you probably don’t doubt it now.
The necessity to report that history honestly is larger than before. More eyes, ears, and consciences are paying close attention, learning from it, applying it to their and your own struggles, large and small. The importance of getting the story right, and the consequences of failing to do so, grow daily. So do the complications of having to cover so many stories in so many places that are part of the real-time narrative. To say, kind reader, that we are overextended and outgunned in this work would be an understatement.
Behind this electronic curtain are also the stories we don’t get to tell, because they are about us, and the story is never about the reporters, or should not be. The sacrifices that every member of this team makes daily, giving their (our) all, spending the last of our hard-earned savings to volunteer our labor, going hungry and thirsty at times, fatigued, sometimes struck by illness, overwhelmed often by the scale of cruelty and suffering that we encounter, besting obstacles and encountering small miracles and generosities along the road… Human hands bring you the news, facts and information that the robots and machines have tried so hard to keep from you.
A few days ago, Dan Feder, your Webmaster and Managing Editor for the past four years, completed the training of his two replacements (because his shoes could not possibly be filled by just one pair of feet) in our newsroom somewhere in a country called América. Let me introduce you to them:
Your new Webmaster is David Briones, a native of El Paso, Texas, of high technical talent and social conscience. He is assisted, now, by our Newsroom Coordinator, Chris Fee, of Cincinnati, Ohio, a longtime Narco News co-publisher and volunteer with the Fund for Authentic Journalism, who will be sharing the tech duties here as well as assisting all our 293 co-publishers, our readers and supporters in your participation in this project. These newest members of the team have landed somewhere in América and are now hard at work for you and for all the colleagues reporting you the news.
Upon completion of their training, Dan then came to the border state of Chihuahua and boarded the Other Campaign’s independent media bus, replacing me on my shift along that road, where he begins his work anew as reporter in the field. He joins other Narco News reporters, photographers and videographers on that bus, but our mobile unit – a separate, usually rented, vehicle so vital to deepening our news coverage in each place, to uploading their stories rapidly and getting them the supplies they need to do that work – could not go a single kilometer farther: we ran out of gas and resources this past week in the (more expensive) Mexican North.
So, like in any other MASH unit, we’re practicing triage, the Solomonic division of too few resources among too many stories that, like patients each wounded by the lies of the Commercial Media, need our attention. We’ve had to make fast decisions on our feet as to where to shine the flashlights of our arsenal of work tools of Authentic Journalism and the people who work them. While in Northern Mexico the road team carries on (now restricted, for the first time since January, to the movements of a single bus shared with other alternative media) our work – and its urgency – has exponentially increased.
Way down south in this same country, in Oaxaca, our work covering the popular uprising has been and continues to break the information blockades of the Commercial Media. Others, still, are reporting the stories from Mexico City, Atenco, Chiapas and other corners of the larger rebellion taking form. And others continue reporting from the rest of the hemisphere, as well as translating this work into so many languages.
There are times – this is one of them – when I ask myself how we will possibly be able to keep it up, not just in the quantity of stories we report, but also maintaining the quality and veracity of them that marks the way we do journalism without sucking up to governments or businesses and their money. If we have to make cuts, where shall the first be made? The buck stops here with your publisher: My step-down off the Other Campaign trail and back into the newsroom is in part a consequence of that lack of resources.
Because one key thing we’ve learned is that here, on this team, there can be no “I.” There is only “we.” And if somebody has to get down off the highway to go hunt the resources to keep these reports coming, to keep this team on so many roads and streets, and to speak with you honestly about what is lacking, that job falls upon the one who has been here longest, with each and every one of you along the way: the one whose fingers type these words to you now. It is nearly impossible to hunt for resources from a moving caravan. And so I’m back in the newsroom now, living frugally and in one place, at least until we find them.
Obviously, there is something you can do to stop the bleeding before we have to make other cutbacks in our coverage. Please click the following link, to The Fund for Authentic Journalism, and make a contribution, as generously as you can, right now:
Or send your donation to:
The Fund for Authentic Journalism
P.O. Box 241
Natick, MA 01760
We ask you to make your contribution in the name of life and of the living: to make possible the continued work by those who are still here to do it.
The risks of this work, given the sad turn of events in recent days, are clearer than ever. Nobody, absolutely nobody, on this team is backing down from fear or worry. To the contrary, the burden is heavier on each of us, because we know that the consequences of not doing this work will mean greater danger and harm to us all if we don’t do it.
From whatever corner of this earth where you read these words, whether you have many resources or very few, you can do something to keep the news flowing. You may not have to expose yourself to the bullets and the threats (such as those made specifically against Narco News the other night on the Oaxaca radio station of its falling tyrant) that your journalists in the field face. But your mutual aid to them will, definitively and demonstrably, provide greater mobility (and therefore, security) in their doing it.
I know that when I have to write these appeals (instead of writing the reports from the field that I live to write) that I am not merely asking for money. When we see the cumulative effect of so many small contributions, in many cases from readers and people we have never met in person, it is also then that we are assured that we are not alone in this work.
Thank you for enduring another appeal. You know I’d rather be reporting the news than writing one. And thank you for seeking the truths from below, for looking beyond the lies of the Commercial Media, for making and keeping yourself well informed of the immediate history that pushes up against the borders of your countries, too.
Again, because it is so urgent, please make your contribution online today at:
Or send it to:
The Fund for Authentic Journalism
P.O. Box 241
Natick, MA 01760
The most important person in any authentic news organization is the reader. That’s you. Let’s see this immediate history through, and assure, together, that its profound truths are not silenced.
From somewhere in a country called América,
Al Giordano Publisher,
Narco News is funded by your contributions to The Fund for Authentic Journalism.
Please make journalism like this possible by going to The Fund's web site
and making a contribution today.
- The Fund for Authentic Journalism
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