Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Authentic journalism, beyond money and even glory

By Brenda Norrell

There are a handful of heroes writing authentic journalism with courage and boldness, including Al Giordano at Narco News. Narco News exposes the fraudulent "war on drugs," while covering the Americas, including extensive coverage of the Zapatistas.

Giordano recently turned down an award from Project Censored, pointing out that the book publishing company would be making big bucks off the story. Giordano's work is a labor of love and passion. Like most authentic journalists, he works for little pay.

Other journalists, like myself, came kicking and screaming to the use of blogs to write authentic journalism. It was only after getting fired twice by a leading national Indian newspaper, where I served as a staff writer, that I realized that the only way to do it, is to do it myself. (I have no sponsors and receive no pay for this blog.)

When I saw an article I wrote today on the website of Indian Country Today -- the newspaper that fired me twice and forced me into bankruptcy -- it was troubling.

The link is to the story of a murdered Lakota woman, Lillian "Sunshine" Wright, a homeless woman on the streets of Tucson who brought out the best in people, in her life and death.

It is interesting that while I was writing that article, after Sunshine's memorial last week, I kept thinking of how the managing editor of Indian Country Today in 2005 had repeatedly demanded that I stop writing about grassroots people.

Would Indian Country Today have printed an article about Sunshine while she was alive and living on the streets? It is doubtful. I was told to write about politicians.

There's still a lot of "Sunshines" out there.

It also seems a good time, with Indian Country Today traffic headed this way, to point out some of the stories that remain censored at the newspaper. Just to name a few censored issues, there's the ongoing federal probe of some reporters' sweetheart, Congressman Rick Renzi, R-Ariz.; any issue referring to Leonard Peltier and finally, the Zapatistas' Other Campaign at the Mexican border.

In closing, here's Giordano's comments to Project Censored.

"The same indignant passions provoked in me when an unelected group of bean counters stole the votes from the Mexican people – that led me to investigate and publish that series of reports – are recurrent today when I read the heavy-handed manner in which your project seeks to sell or give my work to a commercial publisher of dubious ethics and motives without my permission."

By the way, Project Censored contacted me as well. They wanted to talk. I'm still waiting for that phone call. But like Giordano, I'm not holding my breath in hopes that anything good will come out of it.

--Brenda Norrell
Read more:
Narco News
"Remembering Sunshine, murdered Lakota woman, special spirit"

1 comment:

Elli said...

Way to go Brenda, Just read your recent post about your ole job. Funny how things get turned around. I really appreciate your point of view. Makes me feel apart of events that matter.Keep telling the truth.Your talent and wordcrafting will shine. Corporate worlds will always want to be in the mix of current events,taking advantage of the people!!!