Donate Your Video Camera, Laptop or Work Tools to Authentic Journalists

By Al Giordano

In this age of fast changing communications technology, many of our readers and supporters, like us, are in the position of having to upgrade at times to a better video camera, laptop or other work tool. Someone will get a new and shiny High Definition (HD) camera and the old mini-DV or DV or flip cam then sits in a closet, unused. Sometimes that happens to old laptops or digital cameras or external hard drives, too.

But at Narco News and its School of Authentic Journalism, we make use of those tools, too. In February 2010, we’ll be training 31 students from 24 countries intensively in how to use these modern-day weapons effectively to produce videos, documentaries, websites and investigative journalism. Many of these students come from lands with battered economies and don’t yet have a camera or a laptop.

And so as 2009 comes to a close we invite y ou to please consider donating any of these tools you can to The Fund for Authentic Journalism so that we can grant them to our soon-to-be graduates to take back to their own countries and more effectively do this vital work of breaking the information blockades, faster, better and with greater coherence.

Because The Fund is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, that means that the value of any tools you donate can be deducted on your 2009 taxes in the United States, too. And The Fund will be happy to provide you with a letter that documents the value of your donation.

Specifically, here is what our students need:

Video Cameras

Any Mini-DV or DV camera, or Flip Cam. (HD cameras can also be put to good use.)

Laptops

We are especially seeking Macintosh laptops in working order, especially from the G4, G5, MacBook or MacBook Pro series. (Our video and documentary teams will be editing on Macs.)

We will also be very grateful for PC laptops in working order, which are just as useful for our investigative journalism and online reporting teams.

Digital Cameras

Any digital camera in working order would also be very much appreciated and be put to good use documenting the news stories our graduates report in the months and years to come.

 

Tripods

Any tripod for video cameras, as long as in working order, will prove vital in this work.

External Hard Drives

Any Macintosh compatible external hard drive of 50 GBs or more, that is no more than four years old, and with a Firewire or USB2 port is needed to store the sheer volume of video that will be shot during The School of Authentic Journalism in February.

Look, above, at our Class of 2010 for The School of Authentic Journalism.

And read about each one of them, at this link.

You know that any camera, laptop or other work tool that is currently not getting good use will be in the right hands if you donate it to them.

If you can donate any of these work tools, these are the authentic journalists that can put them to best use. Think of it as an investment in future news reports, viral videos and documentaries that you’ll be able to read, see and hear, free of charge, online.

If you wish, you can even specify to which of our scholars you would like to donate the camera or laptop or other tool.

In most regions of this hemisphere, we’ll even send someone to your home to pick up the tools you can donate. (In 2004, when musician Krist Novoselic similarly donated a laptop to the School, our graduate Andrew Stelzer – now a professor - who collected it from him at home was cool enough not to ask for an autograph. And that laptop was delivered to a graduate in Colombia, Laura del Castillo – also now, a professor – who previously had no laptop to work with, and proceeded to write a series of powerful news stories with that tool for Narco News.)

And if you don’t have a camera or laptop or any of these tools to donate, please consider making a contribution anyway to The Fund for Authentic Journalism. You can do that right this very second, online, at this link:

http://www.authenticjournalism.org

Or you can send a check to:

The Fund for Authentic Journalism

PO Box 241

Natick, MA 01760

Thanks to you and many generous readers and supporters like you, we have now met over half our goal of $20,000 (which will be doubled by matching support from the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict). We still need to raise about $8,700 more.

Maybe you don’t have $10 or $20 or $50 or $100 bucks to spare right now, but maybe you do have a camera or laptop gathering dust and we’d very much like to make it part of the arsenal of communications that makes possible the reports you read and the videos you see here.

And to our students and professors who know just how much good work you can do with tools like these, I make a special call to get out there and organize to seek a donation of the camera or laptop or other work tool that you need from the many organizations and individuals that want you to do this work and be equipped for it. Often, they just need to be asked. And some prefer to donate to a nonprofit organization. Well, now they can do that through The Fund for Authentic Journalism.

We are arming a splendid benevolent monster this February on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula, where more than 60 authentic journalists will come together and share our skills and experiences with each other, as well as train ourselves to understand better the strategies and tactics of the civil resistances and popular nonviolent struggles that we report.

And for the first time we are opening the doors to the School of Authentic Journalism – via online YouTube style videos that our students and professors will produce together – to share much of our curriculum with aspiring authentic journalists and citizen journalists throughout the entire world in English, Spanish and other languages. Equipment like cameras and laptops that are donated today will concretely be measured in more and better reporting tomorrow.

Be a part of it, from wherever you are. And thank you, in advance, for recycling with us!

Update: Thanks to the wonderful supporters who, upon reading this, already donated two Mini Macs and one digital camera!

Update II: Happy Hanukah, indeed. Field Hand JKC (see comments section) has just donated a 250 GB Firewire hard drive. Dank!

 

Comments

Where do we send?

Al,

 

I think you left out one critical piece of information:  Where are we to send the computer hardware?

Thanks!

@ JCK

JCK - I mentioned that we'll come pick it up almost anywhere you tell us to!

If you'd like to make different arrangements, just write me at narconews@gmail.com and we'll be happy to oblige.

I have an old laptop and

I have an old laptop and also a digital camera if you are interested.

Al, sent an email last nite

Al, sent an email last nite with information about what I have to donate. Wonderful opportunity!

Boy could we use your analysis right now...

Al, you are always so cogent and smart about organizing and social change.  I just posted a new diary this morning at Kos.  I am beyond frustrated with the nihilism beind promoted by some on the left...

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/12/16/815063/-Arianna-Huffington,-White-Privilege,-NihilismHealth-Reform

We could use your voice right now.  I hope that you will consider posting something about the current health care debate soon.

 

 

Thanks and replies

Thank you to everybody who has responded so far to this call. It has brought in four laptops, two mini macs and various digital cameras so far.

Dennis - I sent you and email. If you don't get it write me at narconews@gmail.com

MK - Nice piece. I totally agree with its thrust. Field Hand Tara Brownlee asked me yesterday to comment on this health care bill debate over at Facebook and here was my brief response:

See, I'm just not that into the back and forth over the details of a bill that, no matter what, is only a foot in the door and a huge first step in a process that will take years.

It is more important, it seems to me, that the threshold be crossed past the point of no return - because once the folks start getting even some modest health care goodies they'll never let go - and then the context of future debates will be entirely more positive. It will shortly become political suicide for any pol to then try to take away what has been given, like with Social Security and Medicare and the V.A.

Lieberman's tantrum is a mere speed bump on a much longer road. In the years to come, his efforts will have proved futile, even if he prevails in the first round.

The most important thing is to get a bill - almost any bill - through Congress. That will open a thousand more doors down the line for public options and even eventually single payer.

The tendency of progressives to think every battle is Armageddon or the final word is the infantile part of them that I try to keep a distance from. Get a bill passed. Any bill. And watch the rest flow from there...

That is some crazy stuff going on in the comments' section under your diary. Some anonymous dude is calling Nate Silver "mathematically challenged" which is sort of like calling Drew Brees a lousy quarterback! Teh stupid burns.

I thought Howard Dean (like Arianna Huffington and Ed Schultz) was irresponsible in his comments - interpreted as "kill the bill" even if he didn't go so far as to say that - and of course in forums that allow anonymity it doesn't take many operatives to infiltrate and lead an entire flock astray.

Fortunately, the talking heads and bloggers don't really have that much influence. Something will likely be passed. And folks have to keep in mind that whatever it is can only be a first step.

Stuff

I wouldn't go as far as saying this bill needs to be killed (as there isn't even a final bill yet), but people opposing it have good reasons. First of all, the mandates are nothing more than a huge handout to the health care industry, basically forcing people to put their lives in the hands of companies that time and time again have proven to be unthrustworthy. Secondly, the bill is obviously insufficient: no single payer, no public option, no drug re-importation, no expansion of medicare, an end to denial of coverage that isn't one (a loophole will allow administrations to set limits on what insurance companies spend on people's health). The one, big, good element seems to be the subsidies.

I agee that it's impossible for these social systems to be scrapped completely once they're in place. But relatively little new things are being put in place. And while I agree that structural elements are unlikely to get cancelled, I doubt whether the same goes for the financial streams to these structures. A public option or an expension of medicare would be much harder to overturn, than say the amount of subsidies handed out.

Perhaps this is but the first step, but do you believe that the next step will be taken anytime soon? Half-assed measures aren't exactly a cause for celebration, because the next health care reform might not happen for another twenty years. What happens if this bill is "too successful"? Alleviating part of people's pains, but leaving others miserable, but ultimatly helping just enough people that health care dissapears as an issue, while the system remains dysfunctional. I don't think it's unimaginable that President Palin ;-) would get rid of the subsidies, while keeping the mandates intact.

There's also a lot of deserved criticism at the whole process. Obama showed very little leadership, at times hinting that it was ok to drop important provisions of the bill, making backdoor deals with the pharmaceutical industry and refusing to brownbeat any Dems (although he had no problem with this when it came to his war in Afghanistan). Concession after concession is being made to Lieberman and his centrist buddies, and they're signaling that it's still not enough. And in the meantime, Dems are still empowering Lieberman, by letting him keep his committee's chairmanship. This isn't "change we can believe in", this is "incremental reform that reinforces all that is dysfunctional in Washington".

I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to get it right the first time. And accusing people that support this goal of being "operatives" is just nonsense. It's perfectly normal that a number of people are angry and frustrated at the broken American political system. Especially after they had just gotten their hopes up.

@ Sloan

Sloan - I did not "accuse people that" oppose the health care bill who consider themselves to be of the left as being "operatives." I simply pointed out the obvious: that in sites with anonymous commenters you are being egged on and manipulated by operatives. I don't know which is worse, being the user, or being the used!

Are you saying with a straight face that political rivals would never dare exploit the weaknesses of sites that allow substantial anonymity to "troll" by pretending to be from the left while seeking to divide progressives and undercut support for any reform at all?

Finally, you're mad at the "process" issues, particularly of "caving to Lieberman" and "Afghanistan." Well, so the fuck what? Your upset does not justify playing a game of revenge by scuttling the first chance since 1948 of getting a skeletal health care bill through Congress. I think the people who are playing your game are being childish, holding a tantrum, and working against progress even as you seem to think you are demanding more of it. It's the law of unintended consequences, and you should really hope that the bill doesn't go down to defeat because the backlash on people like Huffington, Schultz and Dean will be significant, especially from the non-white, poor and working class sectors of progressive America that will be most harmed if no bill at all is passed.

You will have effed up a historic opportunity to get the foot in the door, and, if it comes to that, I, for one, will never let you people hear the end of it!

Fortunately, I think you're gonna lose this one anyway.

More stuff

Sloan - I did not "accuse people that" oppose the health care bill who consider themselves to be of the left as being "operatives." I simply pointed out the obvious: that in sites with anonymous commenters you are being egged on and manipulated by operatives. I don't know which is worse, being the user, or being the used!

Are you saying with a straight face that political rivals would never dare exploit the weaknesses of sites that allow substantial anonymity to "troll" by pretending to be from the left while seeking to divide progressives and undercut support for any reform at all?

I just don't think it's very relevant. The arguments that are being being made against the bill aren't faulty ones (neither are arguments in favor, which seems to be centered on achieving what can be achieved), nor are they right-wing arguments. Political rivals don't need to covertly rile up progressives, because they already came at that point on their own.

Finally, you're mad at the "process" issues, particularly of "caving to Lieberman" and "Afghanistan." Well, so the fuck what? Your upset does not justify playing a game of revenge by scuttling the first chance since 1948 of getting a skeletal health care bill through Congress. I think the people who are playing your game are being childish, holding a tantrum, and working against progress even as you seem to think you are demanding more of it.

Acting out of spite is of course never a good idea, but people will always behave irrational when faced with dissapointment and defeat. If Obama had upheld his promises on a variety of issues, and had fought for a better bill, progressives would be a lot more open to reason.

It's the law of unintended consequences, and you should really hope that the bill doesn't go down to defeat because the backlash on people like Huffington, Schultz and Dean will be significant, especially from the non-white, poor and working class sectors of progressive America that will be most harmed if no bill at all is passed.

You will have effed up a historic opportunity to get the foot in the door, and, if it comes to that, I, for one, will never let you people hear the end of it!

Fortunately, I think you're gonna lose this one anyway.

I'm not even an American, so I don't have a stake in this "game". I'm just an observer that doesn't see the point in demonizing a group of well-meaning people, that are completely justified in their opinion that is a weaksauce bill (that has potential to do bad as well). Whether their ideas on how to move forward are right, is another thing.

@ MK

Thank you for a beautiful and powerful diary. It is especially compelling to me today. I got a call from my 30 year old daughter who lives across the country. She has been unable to find health insurance since she aged off of my policy because at three years of age she had a bleed in the right temporal lobe of her brain. She had subsequent surgery, and several years later had a titanium plate put in her head where the skull had not grown back. A year ago she found an insurance company that only asked for a five year history. They covered her for almost a year; yesterday she was notified that they have dumped her after finding out about the plate in her head. She's a young woman who has faced and survived incredible odds, and stands to lose everything -- perhaps even her life. I feel your rage, deeply and personally.

On HCR

Al, I was just dropping by to suggest that a report from you on the recent goings on at the "children's table" is in order now.  I see the beginnings in the comment section here already.

More on health care

Ezra Klein's take posted on Andrew Sullivan's blog today, 12/16: "[If] I could construct a system in which insurers spent 90 percent of every premium dollar on medical care, never discriminated against another sick applicant, began exerting real pressure for providers to bring down costs, vastly simplified their billing systems, made it easier to compare plans and access consumer ratings, and generally worked more like companies in a competitive market rather than companies in a non-functional market, I would take that deal. And if you told me that the price of that deal was that insurers would move from being the 86th most profitable industry to being the 53rd most profitable industry, I would still take that deal. And that may be the exact deal we're getting. The profit motive is not, in and of itself, a bad thing."

Request for video camera

 

I hope to meet someone who can donate a video camera.

We need it for documentation of our granting simple wishes mission in Biliran, Philippines.

Please see our works at this facebook link:

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/profile.php?id=1798613682

Ty very much. God bless.

 

Jun Atok del Rosario

jundelrosario888@yahoo.com

00639204107777

 

 

Add comment

Our Policy on Comment Submissions: Co-publishers of Narco News (which includes The Narcosphere and The Field) may post comments without moderation. A ll co-publishers comment under their real name, have contributed resources or volunteer labor to this project, have filled out this application and agreed to some simple guidelines about commenting.

Narco News has recently opened its comments section for submissions to moderated comments (that’s this box, here) by everybody else. More than 95 percent of all submitted comments are typically approved, because they are on-topic, coherent, don’t spread false claims or rumors, don’t gratuitously insult other commenters, and don’t engage in commerce, spam or otherwise hijack the thread. Narco News reserves the right to reject any comment for any reason, so, especially if you choose to comment anonymously, the burden is on you to make your comment interesting and relev ant. That said, as you can see, hundreds of comments are approved each week here. Good luck in your comment submission!

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

User login

Navigation

About Al Giordano

Biography

Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

RSS Feed