The Narco News Bulletin

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

The School of Authentic Journalism taught me how to make my own journalism a little more real

We learned to get the real stories from the real people

By Kevin Mwachiro
Class of 2011, School of Authentic Journalism

May 8, 2015
This report appears on the internet at

I attended the School of Authentic Journalism 2011 not knowing what to expect. I initially thought I'd be with my kind of mainstream journalists and was quick to brandish my BBC association.

Kevin Mwachiro, journalist and grad of the School of Authentic Journalism
No sooner had I arrived than I realized that being a journalist for the BBC didn't matter to a majority of my fellow students. Auntie, as the BBC is warmly known, represented the kind of journalism that the SAJ was trying to counter. I was going to learn about people and issue‚Äźcentred journalism. Lesson One.

I was surrounded by individuals who were passionate about changing the societies that they lived in. They had taken risks, been at the front of picket lines, been arrested and even exiled! They were passionate about causes and passionate about getting "real" stories from real people out into the public. Lesson Two.

My background in journalism is in broadcast media, radio specifically, but I was given the opportunity to learn new skills and found myself behind the camera and learning how to shoot film. I consider teamwork a necessary evil and the SAJ was all about pulling together and making things happen. We were encouraged to get our hands dirty and were made to feel that the strength of the school and what we got out of it was dependent on what we as students put in. Lesson Three.

The two weeks in Mexico were some of the most memorable in my life. I learnt lots. I expanded my network of friends. I picked up some Spanish along the way, learned about causes and how to creatively champion those causes through the media and peacefully. But more than anything, I learned to make my own journalism a little more real. Lesson for life!

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