Thursday, February 25, 2016

School of Authentic Journalism: Where Media and Social Movements Meet (It Needs Your Financial Help)

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 6:09 PM

click to enlarge Fabiola Rocha teaching social movement dynamics at The School of Authentic Journalism. - COURTESY OF THE  SCHOOL OF AUTHENTIC JOURNALISM
  • Courtesy of The School of Authentic Journalism
  • Fabiola Rocha teaching social movement dynamics at The School of Authentic Journalism.

To Greg Berger, reporter and filmmaker with the Mexico-based Narco News, there is no such thing as neutral journalism. There never has been and there never will be.

He runs The School of Authentic Journalism out of Cuernavaca, Morelos, about an hour from Mexico City. It's pretty much the only program in the world that founds itself in the collaboration that burns between media outlets and social movements. The Tucson Weekly's very own editor, Mari Herreras, is an alumni.

"Those of us who have practiced journalism of any kind, believe in supporting social movements and democracy from below," Berger says. "Stories have a big impact with what happens with [a] movement; how movements grow, who is attracted to it, how it gets defined in the court of public opinion."

Berger's voice lights up when he speaks about the school and what it contributes to journalists, social advocates, and the audience overall, around the world. Through the years, the school has trained hundreds of people from the U.S., Latin America and as far as Egypt. 

The school was founded in 2002. Since the inception, it's had shaky finances—as many grassroots programs that do not rely on corporate money do. The school has had its share of big donors and little donors. It went into a hiatus from 2004 until 2010, which is when the school got a major boost from donors. But that money's been invested, and last year was the first time after that six-year recession that the school created a Kickstarter campaign to rely on. 

In the next few days, the school needs everyone's help more than anything. They are trying to raise $30,000 to host its 2016 program.

They are not quiet half way there, with roughly $13,000 and seven more days to go. The deadline is March 4. It makes Berger nervous, but all he can do is keep pushing. If anything, his passion for what he does fuels the hustling mind.

"We have people doing freestyle rap battles on the streets of Mexico City to raise money for the school, people hosting brunches in New York," he says. Berger's is a New Yorker by birth. He's lived in Mexico for more than a decade now. "We don't just want money from people, we want to bring people into the stories we are doing."

Help the school out and be a part of a movement that pushes for pure, humanistic journalism. 

Visit the school's Kickstarter page. Anything counts.


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