What is authentic journalism?
The School of Authentic Journalism teaches us that the most powerful instrument of change is story telling
By Mariana Rebuá Simoes
Class of 2010, School of Authentic Journalism
April 25, 2015
What is authentic journalism?
I heard the phrase for the first time in 2009 when a man I came to know as Al Giordano walked into a classroom at the college I attended. He gave a talk about the work he was doing covering social movements in Latin America and mentioned something about a school for journalists he put together in Mexico every year.
He called this program “The School of Authentic Journalism.”
I was nineteen and starry eyed and had never heard of anything like it. From what I could tell, this wasn’t a conference. It also wasn’t one of those gimmicky internship opportunities they sold to college kids. So what the hell was this?
Fast forward to 2010. I’m having lunch somewhere in the city of Mérida, Mexico. I’m listening to Mario Menéndez, editor and chief of the newspaper Por Esto! tell a room full of students attending Al Giordano’s school how he founded his well‐respected paper. This man had faced intensive censorship from the government; he had traveled the world in search of stories and had risked his life to continue printing the paper every day despite several attempts to silence him.
This man was, in my eyes, an authentic journalist.
Mariana Rebuá Simoes, class of 2010 School of Authentic Journalism
In the five times that I attended the school since then, I learned that Mario Menéndez was only one of many journalists whose involvement with civil resistance and community organizing had turned them into authentic reporters.
The term no longer has one definition for me. With each new class that joins this ever‐growing community, the term “authentic journalism” gains new faces, stories and pasts.
So how do you become an authentic journalist?
You make sure that projects like the School of Authentic Journalism stay alive and well. This is not an institution that thrives on tuition. The goal of this program is to give people scholarships to attend a crash course on how to become a better reporter by learning from those who cover social movements all over the world.
The School of Authentic Journalism also teaches us that the most powerful instrument of change is story telling. I listened to Mario Menéndez’ story, wrote about it, and passed it on. At its core, that’s what the term “authentic journalism” is really about: Committing to spreading the word!
So now that you know that a program like this exists, it’s your duty to pass it on and ask others to help make sure it keeps forming generations of reporters committed to telling authentic stories.
Join the Kickstarter campaign or go to authenticjournalism.org to learn more about the school.
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