Faculty of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism The Founder of the Authentic Journalism Renaissance: Mario Menéndez Rodríguez... Mario Menéndez is the editor and publisher of Mexico's third largest daily newspaper, Por Esto!, and formerly the editor-publisher of the most circulated magazine in Mexican history, ¿Por Que? (circulation in the late 60s and early 70s: Two million per issue, in a country that reads only one million daily newspaper copies a day combined). He is the inventor of the term "Authentic Journalism," and the first daily newspaper publisher in América to hold regular assemblies of his readers to solicit their advice as to how the newspaper can better serve the community. One of the required courses in our ten-day journalism training program will be attendance at one of don Mario's public assemblies in a Yucatán community. (Photo: Copyright 2002, Por Esto!) The Ricardo Flores Magón Chair of the School of Authentic Journalism: Gary Webb... Gary Webb is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and the author of Dark Alliance, based on his groundbreaking series in the San Jose Mercury News in California. Brutally attacked by some members of the commercial media - and betrayed by his then-boss Jerry Ceppos - for having disclosed U.S. government involvement in cocaine trafficking, he is the Comeback Kid of Authentic Journalism, now publishing again. (Photo: World Wide Web) Faculty as Dream Team Renán Castro Madera... Renan Castro is the editor of the Quintana Roo edition of the daily Por Esto! in Cancún, Mexico, and headed the investigative team that found evidence of cocaine trafficking on the coastal properties of Banamex-Citigroup director Roberto Hernández Ramírez. Powerful interests have tried to bribe him (he turned down $300,000 dollars!), kill him (gunshots fired), they've invaded his family's home, but he stays the course, 365 days a year, he's producing the dominant newspaper of his region (Photo: Copyright 2002, Por Esto!) Annie Harrison... Annie Harrison has been covering the deeds and misdeeds of law enforcement organizations for twenty years. She has reported for many news organizations including Agence France-Presse, CNN, BusinessWeek, The Nation, The Guardian, Narco News, National Public Radio and its affiliates. Current work includes coverage of U.S. government operations against California's medical marijuana community and post 9/11 attacks on civil liberties. On the days when she's not arguing with editors, Annie is writing a book about the sex industry. When I, your college president, was a rookie journalist, I learned from her about how to navigate through a decaying media industry without losing one's dignity, spirit, and soul. She has just landed on the island of Jamaica, from where she will report on the historic marijuana legalization law now moving through that nation's Parliament. (Photo by John Gilmore) John Gilmore... John Gilmore is an Internet pioneer and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). He helped invent Sun Microsystems, the "alt" newsgroups on the Internet, and is the plaintiff in the "Gilmore vs. Ashcroft" case now before the U.S. District Court of San Francisco, challenging the federal requirements that air travelers present identification. He's a philanthropist and supporter of Narco News, and the EFF filed an amicus brief in the Drug War on Trial case that provided important language for the New York Supreme Court decision extending the First Amendment to the Internet. Best of the Bay declared John a San Francisco Bay Area "Local Hero" and described him as "a member of the nascent digital activist vanguard, whose definition of 'progressive' combines the concerns of libertarians, free-speech agitators, and crypto-anarchists, with a healthy dose of NORML's pro-legalization ideas thrown in for good measure." (Photo: World Wide Web) Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar... Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar is a columnist for the national daily La Jornada of Mexico City whose training as a journalist included five years as a political prisoner in Bolivia, accused of being comandanta of the (alleged) Tupac Katari guerrilla army. In 2001, Narco News and its readers participated in the campaign to win her freedom to leave Bolivian soil. A Mexican by birth and mathematician by training, she is the author of Retracing the Labyrinth: Introspection in Contemporary Femininity, published by Comuna Press, La Paz, Bolivia. She's one of the smartest people I've ever met, a lot smarter than me. (Photo: Copyright 2002, Mexico City, by Al Giordano) Jeremy Bigwood... Jeremy Bigwood is a renowned Washington DC journalist, experienced war photographer and the United States' leading expert on utilizing the Freedom-of-Information Act to liberate censored government documents. He's also a better photographer than I am, and one of the many reasons to have him on the faculty is to snag some free photo-journalism classes for your college president to attend. (Photo: Jeremybigwood.net) Gustavo de Greiff... Gustavo de Greiff is the Colombian attorney general who captured the narco-trafficker Pablo Escobar, put 14,000 traffickers behind bars, won high praise from the U.S. government, and was the subject of a favorable feature story on CBS News' 60 Minutes program, until in 1993, when he called for the legalization of drugs. It was then that he witnessed first-hand the abuses that occur when dishonest government sources and commercial media work hand in hand against the truth and the interests of the public. He was Colombian Ambassador to Mexico in 1997 and 1998, and today is a professor at the Colegio de México in Mexico City (Photo: Copyright 1997, Colombian Embassy, Mexico City, by Al Giordano) Maria Botey Pascual... Maria Botey Pascual is a newspaper reporter with the daily Por Esto!´s bureau on the island of Cozumel, a published novelist in her native Catalan language, and author of our recent Narco News series from San Salvador Atenco. She was the first member of the Narco News Defense Team when we were sued by narco-bankers and suffered a cyber-attack by the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld, LLP, when they tried - unsuccessfully, to shut down Narco News. I'm not sure we'd still be here, publishing, if not for Maria's efforts. She is currently reporting from prisons in Chiapas, Mexico, for an upcoming Narco News series of global importance. She is author of the book In Search of Burnt Mountain published by Columna Press in Barcelona, Catalonia (Photo: Copyright 2000, in Viñales, Cuba, by Al Giordano) Jules Siegel... Jules Siegel is a graphic designer and author whose works have been published in Playboy, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Best American Short Stories, and Best American Magazine Verse among others. He was a consultant for both Playboy and Penthouse. Three of his books are in the Artists Books Collection of the Museum of Modern Art. He is publisher and editor of Cafecancun.com. He is also the journalist who provoked an apology from the New York Times editorial page in April 2002 for its distorted statements on the attempted coup d'etat in Venezuela. (Photo: Copyright 2002 by Anita Brown) Peter Gorman... Peter Gorman is a veteran Amazon reporter and High Times editor with more than 15 years experience covering the War on Drugs, both nationally and internationally. During the last several years, he's found one of the most innovative methods a journalist can have for shaking information from sources: he opened the Cold Beer Blues Bar in Iquitos on the Amazon River and just started listening as everyone from the DEA to DynCorp contract pilots and mercenaries sings along with Billie Holliday's "Candy is Dandy But Liquor is Quicker," drinks beer and blurts out their stories to the bartender. Last Spring, he got an important series of scoops when a CIA-downed missionary airplane fell into Peter's front yard. In the last couple of years he's been privy to the massive defoliation campaign in Colombia and Ecuador called Plan Colombia/The Andean Initiative that is going to provide such excellent satellite imagery for oil company exploration once it's done. (Photo: Copyright 2002, by Peter Gorman) Lisandro Coronado Alcocer... Lisandro Coronado is the managing editor of the Quintana Roo edition of the daily Por Esto! in Cancún, and member of the investigative team that found evidence of cocaine trafficking on the coastal properties of Banamex-Citigroup director Roberto Hernández Ramírez. (Photo pending: Lisandro and the Por Esto! news team are working overtime this week reporting on the damage from Hurricane Isidore and the indifference by government authorities to the plight of the farmers and others on the peninsula.) Gonzálo Subirats García... Gonzálo Subirats is the photo editor of the Quintana Roo edition of the daily Por Esto! in Cancún, and took the historic photos of evidence of cocaine trafficking on the coastal properties of Banamex-Citigroup director Roberto Hernández Ramírez. I'm planning to snag some free photography lessons from him in February. (Photo: Copyright 2002, Por Esto!) Maximilien Arvelaiz... Max Arvelaiz is communications advisor to President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, the first government that has legalized Community TV and Radio stations, making Venezuela an historic laboratory of Authentic Journalism. A Frenchman of Venezuelan descent, and a survivor of the April 2000 failed coup attempt by commercial media and other rogue forces, Max, 28, is one of the planet's most important architects of what an Authentic Media in an Authentic Democracy does. The commercial media in Venezuela has publicly blamed the collapse of its credibility on Max Arvelaiz: He'll explain how the Authentic Journalism Renaissance underway in Venezuela came from below, from the masses of Civil Society, how it happened, what is happening now, and what comes next. (Photo: Copyright 2002, Miraflores presidential palace, Caracas, Venezuela, by Al Giordano) Juan Ramírez... Juan Ramírez is a Free Speech attorney in Mérida who won significant press freedom battles for Por Esto! expanding the rights of all journalists in Mexican and U.S. courts. (Photo: Pending.) Valerie Vande Panne... Valerie Vande Panne is coordinator of the OUT FROM THE SHADOWS conference and a frequent contributor to Lip, High Times and The Week Online. (Photo: Copyright 2001 by Doug McVay, outside of Ari Fleischer's propaganda bunker, Washington, DC) School of Authentic Journalism Partnership with Guerrilla News
I'm also very pleased to announce that the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism and our students will be fortunate to participate in the first of what we hope will be many creative partnerships on specific projects with the Guerrilla News Network and its website, GNN.tv.
As USA Today recently observed: ""It's times like these, when questioning government policies is characterized as near treasonous, that one appreciates the skillful dissent displayed by the Guerrilla News Network. In hard-hitting articles, video clips, and even a music video collaboration with Eminem, GNN portrays a nation's inner demons to be as insidious as any terrorist."
Anthony Lappe... Anthony Lappe is the editor of the Guerrilla News Network's web site, GNN.tv. The site features original news, interviews, commentary, innovative video and an active forum for dissent and investigation. The site averages more than 10,000 unique visitors a day from around the world. He has written for Black Book, Details Gear, New York, The New York Times, Houston Chronicle, and Salon.com, among others. In television, he worked as a correspondent for The New York Times Video News International (now NYT-TV). In 1996, he received two grants from the U.S. government to help train reporters from the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation in the West Bank. Later, he was a breaking news producer for Worldwide Television News (WTN) and a documentary producer for MTV News and Specials. He is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. (Photo: Courtesy of Guerrilla News) Stephen Marshall... Stephen Marshall is the creator and director of GNN's NewsVideos, music videos for people who think. His "Crack the CIA" won the 2002 Sundance Online Film Festival award. GNN's NewsVideos have been seen on television channels and film festivals around the world, and produced the new "White America" video for rapper Eminem. Previously, Stephen created Channel Zero, the world's first global VHS newsmagazine. The Village Voice wrote, "Leave it to a Canadian to revolutionize television." The Toronto Star called Channel Zero, "A mind blowing trip, one neither CNN nor 60 Minutes would ever take." In 1997, Marshall produced the provocative series "The Electronic Eye: Canada as a Surveillance Society" for the CBC's The National. (Photo pending.) Our Senior Faculty Member
One of the guiding principles of what we practice (and now, teach) as basic to the Authentic Journalism Renaissance is the principle that our Senior Faculty Member taught me:
Before one can be a good journalist, one must be a human being.
Not a "better human being" than the population at large, nor a member of an elite caste, nor, goddess forbid, a "role model" (a term that, by definition, is condescending to Civil Society), as too many of today's commercial journalists seem to feel is part of their status: Just, simply, it suffices to be "a human being." Period.
If you don't understand what I mean by this, not to worry: We have as our Senior Faculty Member one of the most experienced teachers of this principle still alive on earth today....
don Andrés Vásquez de Santiago... Andrés Vásquez de Santiago, at 93, is the elder member of the Indigenous National Congress in México, comprised of 56 of Mexico's 62 indigenous ethnicities, and with Comandanta Ramona of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, one of its founders. He is a long time social fighter and the closest advisor to Narco News. He has traveled with your college president through 13 of México's 32 states and opened doors to many of the people and places that formed the development of Narco News and the Authentic Journalism Renaissance. This will be our first time in the Yucatán region together. You can read more about don Andrés here. (Photo: Copyright 1998, Tepoztlán, Morelos, in the kitchen of the late artist Micaela Treitz, by Al Giordano)
For five years, each time that don Andrés and I have said goodbye he's insisted, like Mick Jagger, that "this could be the last time, maybe the last time, I don't know." And he says that his participation in our faculty could be his final public appearance. I doubt it, but just in case, I want our students to meet him and record his words for generations to come.
This wide and diverse faculty seems awfully large for six or seven students. I'm hoping that, by February, the student body can be much larger. We're going to work extra hard in the coming weeks and months to secure more resources to provide more students with full or partial scholarships, and, as I mentioned before, beyond the scholarship recipients, other impressive applicants will be invited to attend this J-School gratis if you can get there on your own ride. Many members of our faculty are already planning to be in Mérida to cover the OUT FROM THE SHADOWS summit, and are so eager to meet you, work with you and hear what you have to say that they are coming at their own expense.
The above members of the faculty have already confirmed their attendance and participation. I just have two words for them: Thank you.
I've also invited these great teachers and journalists, who at press time have not yet confirmed their participation, but who are so outstanding that I will do everything possible to get them to our campus:
Cynthia Cotts... Cynthia Cotts is the "Press Clips" Columnist for the Village Voice in New York City, who ever since she exposed, in 1992, that the Partnership for a Drug Free America was funded by alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical companies (thus causing U.S. TV networks to cease giving free air time to this corrupt industry special interest group), has been the drug policy and civil liberties reporter I have most admired. Now she's expanded to reporting about the media: Her column in the Voice is a must-read for all journalists in New York and elsewhere, journalism's version of the Statue of Liberty, holding the torch high over the New York City skyline. I met her after a presentation I gave at Harvard University in 1992, and I've been graced with her wisdom and friendship ever since. (Photo by Andrew J. Miller) Thomas Lesser... Thomas Lesser is a First Amendment attorney and was counsel to Narco News in the New York Supreme Court victory, establishing, for the first time, that Internet journalists have the same press freedom rights under law as the New York Times. He's kept me (mostly) out of prison for the past 25 years, starting in 1977 when as a 17 year old minor I was released into his custody by New Hampshire authorities who had arrested 1,300 of us for blocking construction of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant. This lawyer, and not any doctor, got me to 42. (Photo: 2001, New York Supreme Court, Manhattan, by IndyMedia New York) Barry Crimmins... Barry Crimmins is a renowned political satirist whose essays frequently appear in the Boston Phoenix and dozens of other alternative publications. He also appears regularly on Pacifica's WBAI radio in New York and tours in live performance with his hilariously serious one man show, Dawn of a New Error. His first book is due to be published in the fall of 2003. Any time the weight of Journalism's Civil War depresses me, I dial Barry, and he gets me back on my feet again. Every Authentic Journalists needs a Barry Crimmins. For more info http://www.barrycrimmins.com (Photo: Courtesy of Barry Crimmins) Ethan Nadelmann... Ethan Nadelmann is director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the sponsor of the Tides Foundation grant that makes these Authentic Journalism Scholarships possible. He's also an articulate advocate and writer who has published columns in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Denver Post, Foreign Affairs, National Review, Rolling Stone, American Heritage, Daedalus, Science, and the New Republic, among others: He has met more deadlines and worked with more editors than many journalists, and he's the preeminent encyclopedic source on the story of the rise and fall of drug prohibition. (Photo: Drug Policy Alliance)
We're inviting others, too, to join this line-up. (Did I forget you? Sorry, a college president's work is never done: Drop me a line. It may just be that I thought you wouldn't be interested, or don't have the time to join us in February. Surprise me.)
And we'll keep you posted as our next faculty members confirm their participation.
The Narco News Team
Of course, we in the Narco Newsrooms have a lot to say about journalism, too, and will be active participants and presenters in our J-School program.
Luis Gómez... Veteran Mexican journalist for the past 14 years, Luis Gómez reported for the Mexico City magazine Macrópolis and covered the 1990 elections in Nicaragua as well as news events in Spain and Cuba. For the past five years he has reported from La Paz, Bolivia, where he founded and staffed various periodicals and magazines. In 2000 he started, together with Bolivian journalists, the popular and authentic bi-weekly El Juguete Rabioso ("The Rabid Toy")... and today is Narco News' Andean Bureau Chief. He's on his way to Brazil right now to cover the historic elections there for Narco News. (Photo: Copyright 2002, Narco News Agency) Dan Feder... Dan Feder is the Webmaster and Associate Publisher of Narco News, and joined our staff from that of Boston Universitys award-winning Student Underground newspaper. As a reporter, editor, and graphic designer at the Underground, Dan kept his schools PR hacks working overtime with relentless coverage of the mistreatment of sexual assault survivors on campus and the administrations union-busting outrages, among other stories. An accomplished web programmer, Dan is now hard at work redesigning the Narco News online newspaper. (Photo: Copyright 2002, somewhere in a country called América, by Al Giordano.) Al Giordano... I am publisher of Narco News. I moonlight with a Dobro guitar in nightclubs somewhere in a country called América to subsidize this project, and am author-editor of Authentic Journalism 101, an online textbook and anthology for beginning and practicing journalists, available beginning today, gratis to all, and posted under my opening remarks as your college president. This is the first time I have posted my photo on Narco News: Can you tell which one is me? (Photo: 2001, in the Chapare region of the Bolivian Amazon, on the day we won our New York Supreme Court case, with your school mascot, "Ari Fleischer.") Lea Ud. Ésta Página en Español (Click back to previous page to read more, or click here to start from the lead of this story: Opening Remarks by College President) For an Application to the School of Authentic Journalism Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org For more Narco News, click here The Shadow Faculty for the Bollinger Committee