No Newspaper Is an Island: Why We Ask for Your Support
By Al Giordano
It occurred to me, while reading online comments about the end of a six-year TV show that a lot of people liked (something about an island, I've heard), that Narco News was around before that series existed and is still around after its finale.
The sum of the resources we’ve raised and spent to publish cutting edge honest journalism and train a new generation of authentic journalists from so many countries over the course of a decade is certainly less than it costs to produce a single hour of a network television drama: Thousands of reported stories, a landmark First Amendment court victory, so much new talent trained through our School of Authentic Journalism and put to work at Narco News and elsewhere, more recently our expansion into online video journalism and political reporting… none of it happened on a fictional island. It happened and keeps happening right here in the world where you and I live.
In fact, over these ten years, more than TV shows have come and gone, but also so many daily newspapers and other media that once were mighty no longer publish or exist. For the most part they relied on the old model of advertising-supported journalism which set limits on what they could or could not report and pushed them to direct their “product” at the upscale consumers the advertisers wanted to reach, turning journalism’s back on the majority of people who struggle to pay our monthly bills.
We’ve survived and thrived these ten years doing it differently. How did we get here? Only through your support has any of this been possible. How will we keep doing this vital work reporting the struggles for authentic freedom, justice and democracy? If there is one thing I have learned about raising funds during this decade, is that if you want somebody’s support you have to ask for it. And so I am asking you today.
I notice that it’s been some weeks since we asked you for a donation and during that time the Narco News Tenth Anniversary bar graph has nudged only a little bit closer to the $10,000 fundraising goal. We are still more than $2,700 short of what we need to comply with our job of reporting and bringing the news to you.
There is a lot going on behind the scenes here in the Narco Newsroom, too, that will soon bear more visible fruit. You may have noticed that slowly and surely we have begun producing and making available (for free, as always) videos filmed at the 2010 School of Authentic Journalism. If you haven’t already seen Journalism and Civil Resistance: Rev. Jim Lawson in Mexico or How to Write a News Story or Torture in Egypt (about the important reporting done by 2010 School of Authentic Journalism graduate Noha Atef) or Translations with Father Charlie or the lessons in how you can best use communications tools like Wikipedia or Creative Commons licensing or the story of Media from Below: Philadelphia’s Media Moblizing Project, then click those links.
There, you will see and hear not just seven compelling videos that share our work, reporting and lessons learned at the School of Authentic Journalism. You will also be seeing – or have already seen – the first steps in the birth of a new project: Narco News TV. NNTV will be very much like Narco News, except the stories talk and move. Like all our work over ten years, we do that on a shoestring budget, too. Still, it does involve more costs: we’ve had to purchase a bunch of additional hard drives, we’ve brought on a full time video editor from the ranks of the j-school, and bringing NNTV to birth takes up a lot of my time and that of other collaborators.
That’s where so much of the Internet is moving. Five years after the launch of YouTube, the online public increasingly wants its news on video. And while we will always continue with hard-hitting written reports and journalism, we’re moving with the public, too, into the digital television age.
And so, once again, because no newspaper is an island, I ask you to toss a coin or two into the cup. It is through hundreds of small donations that big works are done. Thank you in advance for your next contribution. You can make it online, right now, at this link:
Or send a check to:
The Fund for Authentic Journalism
PO Box 1446
Easthampton, MA 01027
Your contributions to The Fund for Authentic Journalism are tax deductible in the United States and 100 percent of them go directly to support the work of our journalists. The Fund is managed by volunteers, has no paid staff, no office and no bureaucracy. Every dollar you give goes fully to the work of reporting, publishing, training a new generation to do this work, and, now, producing online video reports.
Amazing, that a project so frugal has survived a decade already. With your continued support, we intend to be around as long as society needs authentic journalism and authentic journalists. But authenticity needs you, too. It always has, and always will.
From somewhere in a country called América,