"A True Chance to Achieve Effective Change"

A Letter from Romina Trincheri in Rosario, Argentina

May 28, 2004

My name is Romina Trincheri. I am 27 and live in Rosario, Argentina.

In 1995, during the so-called "Menem decade" (named for our fallen and disgraced president) when my country was almost completely looted, I began to dive into the passions of communication and journalism. I began my studies for this degree in social communication in the public university of the city where I live. In that moment, the national context was an important factor in the students’ disillusionment, although it also, luckily, provoked us to build movements toward transformation…

To make a contribution to support Romina Trincheri's scholarship, use this link.
What I wanted most was to gain a seat in an important newsroom, to say something about all this that I could not get out of my mind each time I turned on the television, listened to the radio, or simply walked in the street... These were times of high unemployment, times of extreme poverty… times of a middle class drowning… times of the false First World that hid the intense misery in which the majority lived…

After filing some not very satisfying reports in the local media, I decided to study different communication theories that tried to transform organizations from the inside, what we call "institutional communication." There, I gained traction to begin to think about diversity and pluralism, and about the perversity of some media policies and the public role of the media…

I came to understand the importance of community media, of the efforts by institutions to construct democracy and the possibility of a participatory democracy… I began to understand freedom of the press and the public responsibility of journalism as fundamental pieces in that construction.

In 1999 I set off to research my graduate thesis on the theme of drugs in general, public drug policies, and HIV-AIDS prevention in particular. From the first look, it was clear that the anti-drug campaigns in Argentina were based only on repression, stigmatizing drug users, and fomenting fear… Parallel to that, Harm Reduction policies began to emerge from different sectors of society as an alternative to the traditional models of the War on Drugs.

There seemed to be a space for this conception of a more open and dynamic form of communication, where the subjects can be true producers of common sense, and have the freedom to make personal choices... This led me to work in different Harm Reduction projects together with the Center for Advanced Drug Addiction and AIDS Studies and with the Argentina Harm Reduction Association (ARDA).

My experience in this field, particularly in working with injection drug users, helped me to continue reinventing strategies of communication and ways to tackle the problem, abandoning the cold theoretical categories by facing the people most affected… that is to say, by discovering the faces of the "social actors," their interests and needs, their life stories, their own rituals and forms of living in relation to drugs under a repressive public policy that beyond stigmatizing them, left wounds on their bodies…

The reality in Argentina continues to be threatening. We passed through an enormous crisis in 2001, when so many presidents rose and fell in a very short time period, where the movement of unemployed people ("los piquiteros") came forward to reclaim their basic rights, where the middle class joined the protest with the famous "cacerolazo" pot-banging protests… there was violence, but also change, and something of hope, and once again, the need for a new project for the nation…

Currently, in my role as a teacher at the Social Communications Department of the National University of Rosario, and my professional work in state agencies and community organizations, I continue a ceaseless search for places to solve these problems and continue rethinking this issue of drugs…

That is why I personally consider the possibilities brought by the School of Authentic Journalism, by training students and young journalists, a true chance to achieve effective change of the dominant repressive discourse...

As a 2004 scholar, this year I join the challenge, committing and renewing myself through this space, to continue rescuing diversity and bringing its great worth to all.

We, the scholarship recipients, need the support of everyone who believes that much must change… We need your support, your trust; we need you to join us in this project. If you would like to contribute, please use the links below.

Or, you can send your contribution to:

The Fund for Authentic Journalism
P.O. Box 71051
Madison Heights, MI 48071 USA

We appreciate your involvement and commitment to meet this shared challenge.

A strong embrace,

Romina Trincheri
Rosario, Argentina

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Romina Trincheri's scholarship, use this link:

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