Ten Days Left to Apply for a 2011 Authentic Journalism Scholarship
By Al Giordano
A moment from the 2010 School of Authentic Journalism in Mérida, Yucatán, México: Jim Lawson, right-hand strategist for the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., meets legendary Mexican journalist Mario Menéndez Rodríguez and his family, prior to a plenary session of the School. DR 2010 Noah Friedman-Rudovsky.
The door is still open, but it will close on Sunday, January 23, at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific Time).
That’s when completed applications are due to be eligible for one of 40 scholarships to attend the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, May 11-21, in Mexico City and environs. This ten-day intensive training program is open to anyone of any age (previous scholars have aged from 17 to 65), from any land, as long as you are fluent in either English or Spanish. You can read more about this unparalleled program, its faculty, and curriculum, at this link.
We have so far received requests for applications, as always, from throughout the Americas, from Canada to Cono Sur. We’re also seeing more and more this year from Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia (we’re especially impressed by the quantity of requests this year from Northern Africa, the Middle East and Mediterranean Europe, as our newspaper, which reports mainly events in the Western Hemisphere, was not very well known in that part of the word until apparently recently). It’s clear that the hunger and thirst for a more authentic journalism to replace the commercial media has become global. And we’re doing our best to meet the challenge.
This will be the fourth School of Authentic Journalism. Here’s how it works: Nobody pays tuition. Scholars receive training in online reporting, investigative journalism, viral video production and, this year’s theme, Movement Strategies for Journalists, because reporters that understand the underlying strategic dynamics of how political and social change is made are better, and more accurate, journalists when it comes to reporting those stories.
Scholarship recipients that wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend are also helped with their travel costs, food and lodging. We’re not looking for participants – like too many other “educational institutions” – on the basis of their ability to pay, or whether they’ve attended elite universities, or, frankly, any college at all. To the contrary, we seek you out on the criteria of your work ethic, talent, social conscience, and our sense of whether you’ll keep doing the important work of authentic journalism after the school session is over.
Nothing is so satisfying to us than to watch our graduates out in the world doing good work daily, whether its Ansel Herz, still in Haiti one year after he was caught in the earthquake there, continuing to offer the beacon light of truthful reporting that the international commercial media has abandoned in that land. Or Katie Halper, exposing the hypocrisies in US politics with insight and humor, like Ansel she’s a graduate of the class of 2010. And speaking of good humor, documentary and viral video filmmaker Greg Berger (class of 2004, now a professor at the j-school; his most recent work to go viral is the Spring Breakers Without Borders video, which educates about the drug war in Mexico as it parodies its root causes and consequences) has written you a letter today asking your support to keep the School and Narco News alive. Like many graduates, he’s become an important part of our year-round team. And it’s of course very inspiring to see the role that Natalia Viana, in Sao Paulo, Brazil (class of 2004, also a professor, now), has taken on in becoming the go-to journalist on all matters surrounding the storm around WikiLeaks and the defense of its press freedom.
I could go on and on singing the praises of so many who have come through the School of Authentic Journalism program. And I’ll probably be doing that for the rest of my life, because every generation of j-school graduates excels and advances and builds upon the successes of its predecessors. It’s a school that also builds leadership, as many of the graduates return to teach what they’ve learned to newer students.
And so, if you’ve thought about applying for the School yourself, or know someone who you think should apply, this is a reminder that you have ten days left to obtain and complete your application. These are ten days that, depending on whether you do it or not, can open many, many doors to you and your work, and open new doors for all of us, to be able to count with you as part of our growing international network of Mutual Aid among independent and authentic journalists. It’s a long application, so don’t dawdle: It’s not the kind of thing you can “phone in” at the eleventh hour. It’s a different kind of application, for a different kind of School that seeks a different kind of student and journalist.
For an English language application, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. For a Spanish language application, write to email@example.com. Get it done by deadline, January 23: these are ten days that could shake your world.