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I first became aware of Al Giordano through his blog The Field during the primary wars of 2008. Like many Obama supporters, I was feeling constantly buffeted and betrayed by the terrible reporting and laughable analysis of mainstream media pundits; and it seemed everywhere I went online, people were screaming at each other and perpetuating untrue and unhelpful memes about candidates Obama, Clinton and Edwards. At times I felt certain that these loud voices had the power to prevent Barack Obama from winning the Democratic nomination, or would sabotage his chances at winning the Presidency if he survived the primary process.
Then one day, I followed a link to Al’s blog, and I knew I had come to the right place.
Giordano cut his own teeth as a community organizer in campaigns to shut down nuclear power plants in New England in association with Abbie Hoffman. He went on to write extensively about US-Latin American relations at NarcoNews and successfully defended himself against lawsuits filed by Banamex (the National Bank of Mexico) for his reporting on their links to drug-trafficking, setting important precedents for online journalism.
It was this background that informed his pronouncement in the fall of 2007 that the community organizer from Chicago with the funny name and radiant smile had what it took to overcome the Democratic Party’s anointed candidate and not only win the nomination, but the Presidency.
At The Field, he watched the shrieking of the chattering classes, then calmly, efficiently made mincemeat of their claims. He reminded his readers to stay calm and keep a cool head, eyes on the prize. When too many of us were showing signs of panic, or Chicken Little syndrome as he calls it, he would dispense inoculations of fact and history to calm us and steady our nerves.
Al has devoted his life to the practice of authentic journalism, which is characterized not by a pretense of objectivity and the collection of response quotes from opposing parties with no effort to ascertain truth, but instead recognizes that the journalist can be an activist who incorporates his/her point of view into the work while capturing the facts behind the official comments of newsmakers.
Now that 2012 is almost upon us, Al has begun to blog again about the US electoral landscape, and all of us who depend on his truth-telling look forward to his contributions. And those of us who have been enlightened by Giordano’s example will amplify the message through our respective blogs and media outlets, creating an extended chain of information sources to counter the muck and mire that passes for reporting in US journalism.
But the work of Al Giordano’s life, and the legacy he is already building, is the School for Authentic Journalism. Each year, candidates submit applications from all over the world to participate in this extended gathering which brings together working veteran journalists with students who seek to learn the tools of the trade, then take them home to further the cause of authentic journalism. Graduates of the School are bringing information to their people which will give them better understanding of the workings of power in their nation and around the globe. You can read at The Field about the most recent School, and view some of the work that has been created by its graduates.
The School for Authentic Journalism depends on the donations of time from working professionals and money from supporters to make it all happen. If you can contribute, even a small amount, your tax-deductible contributions will be prudently invested in staging an event with tremendous transformative power. Al’s birthday falls this time of the year, so he has set up a donation link via Causes.com in lieu of gifts. You can also contribute to the Fund for Authentic Journalism via PayPal at their website.
Thank you for anything you can give. And Happy Birthday to Al, and a Happy New Year to all.