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.)


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.



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:

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!


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About Al Giordano


Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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