The Narco News Bulletin
January 20, 2018 | Issue #67
narconews.com - Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America
We're on a roll, kind readers. Narco News' School of Authentic Journalism is coming back, again. The next session will be held May 11 to 21, 2011, in Mexico City and surrounding mountains.
This will be the largest School of Authentic Journalism to date, with 40 students learning from 36 (or more) professors (many of whom are themselves graduates of the school since 2003, and all of whom consider ourselves permanent students, too). This session will build upon the February 2010 school's work with intensive training in production of viral video, investigative and online reporting as well as deepening our understanding, as journalists and communicators, of the strategic dynamics of the social movements and civil resistances that we report.
Oscar Olivera at the 2004 School of Authentic Journalism in Bolivia. - DR 2004 Noah Friedman-Rudovsky.
We're especially thrilled that Oscar Olivera of Bolivia - who due to sudden developments in his own country could not attend last February's session - has reported to us "I will definitely be with you in 2011, that's a promise." Oscar is known far and wide as a key organizer of the city of Cochabamba's successful 2001 struggle to expel Bechtel Corporation from control of its public water supply, a watershed moment for all struggles on earth against mighty economic interests. A longtime union leader and social fighter, Oscar will bring his years of experience as a strategist and organizer to the school to help us all become better reporters on social movements.
Renny Cushing, of Seabrook, New Hampshire, co-founder of the Clamshell Alliance which in the 1970s gave birth to an international movement against nuclear power, trained and inspired me as a community organizer when your correspondent was a teenager. He has also served multiple terms as a state legislator and currently directs Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights, a national anti-death penalty movement. Renny has an organizing style reminiscent of The Preacher in John Steinbeck's novel, The Grapes of Wrath. You might say he was Preacher to my inner Tom Joad. I know he can teach, too, having learned so much from him.
"My work with civic organizations involved in peace building between Israelis and Arabs, and between Jews, Christians and Muslims, has taught me that the problems don't stem from the individual level. Conflicts result not from 'existential' hatred supposedly fuelled by incompatible values causing 'clashes of civilizations,' but from the dispossession of the ones by the others - dispossession of key resources whose control is determinant in the shaping and strengthening of structures of power."
These are the kinds of social dynamics that we who want to be good reporters on social movements and struggles must better understand to be able to do our work with competence and excellence.
Stephen Zunes, at the 2010 School of Authentic Journalism.
Other outstanding teachers from the 2010 school will also be joining us again:
Milena Velis, class of 2010 returning as a professor and video department co-chair in 2011, with Jim Lawson at the School of Authentic Journalism last February.
Mercedes Osuna, human rights defender and organizer from Chiapas, Mexico returns, too, to teach safety for journalists in conflict zones among so many other lessons.
And, as is already tradition in this school, we're very proud to premier some of our 2010 graduates as a professors in 2011...
Mercedes Osuna with Mario Menéndez Rodríguez at the 2010 School of Authentic Journalism.
DR 2010 Noah Friedman-Rudovsky.
Noha Atef receives her diploma from Al Giordano at the 2010 School of Authentic Journalism. - DR 2010 Noah Friedman-Rudovsky.
Richard Bell and Bill Conroy at the 2010 School of Authentic Journalism.
Natalia Viana and Amber Howard of the Class of 2004 interviewed a Bolivian Colonel on the military's coca eradication operations. In 2010, and again in 2011, Natalia co-chairs the Investigative Journalism department at the School.
Everyone's favorite fantastic fun support staff will be returning too: School of Authentic Journalism social directors Maia Facen and Tiberio Tinarelli (mixers of the best mojito in all the Americas), jack-of-all-trades Victor Amezcua, Johanna Lawrenson (who with her late husband, the American dissident Abbie Hoffman, were the first to take me to Latin America as a young community organizer), and Laura Tilsley Garcia of The Fund for Authentic Journalism.
As in 2010, the 2011 School of Authentic Journalism is only made possible thanks to the support of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, which again offers $20,000 in matching support if you, our readers and supporters, donate that amount in smaller donations to The Fund for Authentic Journalism. We're especially appreciative of its director, Jack DuVall, himself an award winning television producer, who believes in the importance of organizing a new generation of authentic journalists to report accurately on the strategies and tactics of movements that the Center teaches. We hope he'll be able to join us, too, in Mexico.
Tiberio, one of the School's social directors, mixes mojitos behind the bar while students and professors from far away places meet and learn from each other. - D.R. 2010 Jill Freidberg.
Please help us sponsor the 40 scholarship recipients of the next generation of the School of Authentic Journalism - and gain $20,000 in matching support - by making a contribution today.
You can make it online, right now, via this link:
Or you can make a check out to:
The Fund for Authentic Journalism
PO Box 1446
Easthampton, MA 01027 USA
Everybody complains about the media, but we know of no other program like ours, that actually does something about it by replacing its ranks with better, faster, more coherent and more honest journalists: authentic journalists! We're very proud, for example, that last week when British police were on his trail, the WikiLeaks founder chose one of our graduates to grant his exclusive interview, knowing that she would report it accurately, competently, honestly and at the high quality that would make sure his exact words were heard around the world in multiple languages.
Finally, this part of this announcement is directed at our next generation of students.
During mealtimes at the School of Authentic Journalism, the air is filled with conversations in Spanish and English (and quite a bit of Spanglish). Lasting friendships are made that lead to many future collaborations in authentic journalism, too. - DR 2010 Noah Friedman-Rudovsky.
The School of Authentic Journalism charges no tuition. Unlike other schools, we're not looking for people who can afford to pay us. This isn't a business. For those students who can't otherwise afford to attend, we subsidize your air travel, food and lodging. Many students have returned home from the School with cameras, computers and other equipment donated by our readers, too.
2010 plenary session at the warehouse of the daily Por Esto! in Mérida, Yucatán. - DR 2010 Noah Friedman-Rudovsky.
In it, you can see that we're not your typical academic institution (I never graduated from any college or university, much less an official journalism school, and I believe it gave me a head start and an edge up on most journalists who did.) This school doesn't grade you, judge you, pass or fail you. We have learned that a horizontal learning process works better than all the pompous nonsense that passes for higher education these days. By horizontal we mean that the "professors" learn from the "students," too, and many students end up leading plenary sessions and other classes when they have skills and experiences to share, too. In fact, did you know that the professors aren't paid? We do this because we love it. The School gives us the chance to give something back, and to assure that our craft - which before the School of Authentic Journalism held its first session in 2003, was a dying one, but now thrives anew - continues on long after we're not around to do it ourselves anymore.
On the "smokers bus," moving between campuses at the 2010 School of Authentic Journalism.
In this video, of February's inaugural session, our two youngest students, Geovani Montalvo, then 18, of El Salvador, and Mariana Simoes, then 20, of Brazil, prepared interview questions to ask their School president. And that's how the 2010 School began, not by giving a sermon or a speech, but by answering questions. Check it out, and decide if you want to be part of something like it:
And if you do want to be part of it, don't tell yourself that you're not good enough, not experienced enough, not privileged enough, not lucky enough or not anything enough to win this scholarship. Email us for an application form, fill it out, and email it to us by 11:59 p.m. (Pacific Time) on Sunday, January 23. And within two weeks from then, forty of you will be receiving calls inviting you to attend.
School of Authentic Journalism session, February 2010.
For an English language application email email@example.com and for a Spanish language application email firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll send it to you immediately and hope to hear back from you by January 23.
Likewise, if the School isn't for you, but you know of a person of talent, conscience and passion who you think should attend, encourage him and her to apply. You, too, kind reader, are part of our intercontinental scouting staff!
The School of Authentic Journalism is a lot of fun, but come prepared to work hard, too, in teams with other students and professors. All students are required to complete at least one work of reporting, written or on video, during the ten days of the session. D.R. 2010 Jill Freidberg.
It's a wonderful thing, this School. And that comes from a guy who always hated school, who concluded that it was interfering with his education, and went, instead, to the streets and back roads, where everyday people who organize and struggle to win were the faculty. Maybe you feel the same way. That would be another hint that the School of Authentic Journalism might well be the place for you, too.