The Season to Get Serious Again
September 7, 2004
North of the equator, autumn is moving in… Tis the season to get serious again, after summer's joy and merriment… Schools are back in session… Vacation houses are being sealed for the winter… The cooler air brings us back to the challenges of life that, if we were lucky this summer, we were able to put off until now…
South of the equator, this same season was winter… A serious time for serious people… From our Southern Hemisphere campus, newsroom, and environs, more than sixty Authentic Journalists gathered, shared skills, investigated, wrote, filmed, recorded, and reported, scores of original news reports to you about the US-imposed drug war and the struggles for Authentic Democracy…
If you are just now getting back to your work stations, you can read the reports on Narco News…
And you can read still more, plus commentary from journalists and readers, over on The Narcosphere…
And you can see and hear the Narco News video and audio reports over at Salón Chingón…
A busy season, indeed it was, but now we must rebuild for an even busier one.
The Narco News project emerges from this season totally broke. Worse, we're more than $6,000 in debt. And worse, for me, is that most of that debt came out of my own pocket, from the funds I received from a court settlement that were meant for the construction of our permanent newsroom and campus "somewhere in a country called América," where I hope to begin construction soon… Not with your funds, but with mine… That will be my next contribution to this struggle.
It's not always easy to be a project without a permanent newsroom or campus… And it is always more expensive to be at the whim of other enterprises from whom we must rent the space to exist… The housing, feeding, supplying of materials, and in some cases travel subsidies, of sixty Authentic Journalists last month broke our budget because we were dependent on commercial businesses to get the job done. As I said, I have a solution in the works so that by the next J-School we will at least be more in command of our own destiny and space.
Meanwhile, let me tell you what's been going on in the Narco Newsroom… Everybody's been working gratis, without pay, since last month… Not that anybody gets paid a living wage around here (every journalist here lives under the poverty line, although you wouldn't be able to guess that from our high production levels!). But that can't go on for long: humans gotta eat, no?
I've discussed the situation with the good people at The Fund for Authentic Journalism, and they've again agreed to come to our aid, organizing a new fund appeal to put this project back on track.
And I've discussed the situation with our journalists - great writers and communicators all - who have agreed to begin writing a series of fund appeals that promise not to bore you, until we reach our goals.
You may remember that last June 21st The Fund for Authentic Journalism treasurer Andrew Grice announced that $30,000 had been raised in less than six months… $8,145 of it in the final 30 days of that campaign… All in small contributions from the readers…
Today is September 7th, the day after Labor Day: Let's try to top that effort now. Here are our goals:
PHASE ONE: $10,000 in 30 days… by October 7th.
PHASE TWO: $6,000 more in three weeks… by November 1st.
PHASE THREE: Another $10,000 in the final two months of the year, by December 31st.
It's an ambitious goal: $26,000 in less than four months. But with your help we did raise more than that in the first half of the year, and then gave you the summer off from any fund appeals (although we kept hard at work during this time on the journalism that is our labor of love and combat).
Yes, I know it is an election year in the United States and all kinds of candidates and committees are probably flooding you with fund appeals (even though the two major party candidates already have public funding and their warchests are full). Our project, of course, remains above all that partisan electoral stuff. First, because we're not allowed, by law, to meddle in it… And second, because we know that no matter which side "wins" this year in the United States, neither is volunteering to join the fight against the US-imposed War on Drugs or on behalf of Authentic Democracy (and certainly not on behalf of Authentic Journalism) South of the Border.
It is extremely important that no matter who will be running the United States government next January, that the Narco News project be strong and more effective than ever in creating the context and public opinion that all them will have to deal with.
We've seen already this year how the hard work to create and change the context South of the Border… from Bolivia to Venezuela to Plan Colombia (losing "consensus" by the day in Washington)… and, in recent days, with Mexico heating up toward perhaps its greatest political grassroots battle in seventy years… does change the tune of Washington and Wall Street… You saw it very clearly in the August 15th Venezuela referendum… And you will be seeing it soon enough on other Latin American fronts…
Narco News can't and doesn't take credit for that… But we and others also wonder whether the Commercial Media and the powerful interests behind it might have had their way against the democratic decisions of Latin Americans had we not been here fighting to swat down the lies and put forward the truths all year and summer long. An América without Narco News, surely, would not be the same América today.
And tomorrow? That's up to you… Once again, you will decide how important this work of reporting on the drug war and democracy will be for the next phases of immediate history.
I have faith in you, just like I have faith in our journalists… an international network of Authentic Journalists that now, thanks to you, is bigger and faster than ever…
You'll be hearing from them in the coming days and weeks.
And they will ask you what I plead from you today: That you make a donation, large or small, to The Fund for Authentic Journalism, online via this link:
Or that you send a check, made out to "The Fund for Authentic Journalism," and sent to this address:
The Fund for Authentic Journalism
Enjoy their excellent letters… And mainly keep enjoying and learning from and arming yourself with the facts reported from their hard work reporting from Latin America…
We will keep it up as long as you keep supporting this work of Authentic Journalists… Until the victory, forever…
From somewhere in a country called América,
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