Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

This article is available in Spanish here

What a year it's been. Leading up to 2020 I'd been planning to build narco.news but without really any sort of plan. I just knew that I wanted to make a website where I could aggregate and talk about things I felt were important. It's hard to say if this website would be what it is if the pandemic hadn't come along. Since being stuck at home and unemployed allowed me to focus fully on building this place out. It gave me the time and freedom to experiment, make mistakes, and get this website to look how I want. I've done a fair amount of web design but not to the level that I've put into this. I also have never attempted to write in full my thoughts, opinions, and interpretations of things. It's been interesting. Altogether going through these learning curves has been a tremendous experience and I've learned a lot.

So, here we sit on January 2, 2021 with a website practically complete developmentally. Let's start with some basics.

The website should be referred to as narco.news or narco dot news. It is not Narco News. The name is not suppose to be an identity, it is a description of the kind of content contained within this website. In the moment I forgot about Narco News. The intention was never to rip off or confuse. The name was chosen to be short, simple, and to the point.

Content

Our content can be essentially split into four categories. The first being what you would expect and that is articles written by us on drug trafficking. The goal with these articles is to provide analysis on things we think receive less attention than they should. Next is what I'm calling for now Around the Web or ATW, which is articles we think you should be aware of from other websites. We'll provide our own commentary alongside detailing why we believe you should know about them and any other related work published on the same topic. These shouldn't be viewed as an endorsement per se, since some of them we will disagree with. The third category will be significant activities or SIGACTs. These will be only current events. The amount of information provided will depend on the event. The goal though is not to provide an analysis as much as it is to simply document the event happening, also providing accurate press sourcing and media. The final is rather self-explanatory and that is the opinion piece.

I've been trying to organize the home page to accommodate and display all this effectively on the home page. I hope it doesn't look or feel overwhelming. The ATWs and SIGACTs will not be mixed in with the rest of the articles and neither will the opinion pieces.

Academia

One original goal was to attempt bridging the gap between the academic world and the rest of us. The reason being that academic texts can provide context that is often missing from what gets reported in the press. While they can be intimidating, I think that a lot of them are very approachable if one allows themselves the time and patience for understanding. This is one area of the website I plan on spending time building out over the upcoming year. First by working to aggregate then organize all relevant texts. Next attempting to provide brief summaries on their arguments and how they fit into the larger picture. I think it would be beneficial to do it in a way that was chronological, so it's possible to observe how understanding about these topics has changed over the years. Once we've gained some familiarity and organized things, it would be cool to try matching some research to current events that happen. That way someone can read about a current event and in addition be aware of academic texts that provide appropriate context.

This all obviously is a large endeavor, something that could take years. But I wanted to explain what my intentions are for that area of the website to avoid any confusion.

Books

Our books section continues to grow! I added a bunch of titles a couple weeks ago. There are still a lot of academic books to add which I'll get to this week. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you think there are titles that should be listed. The list isn't supposed to be highly curated but more so a catalog of what is out there.  I'd like to get more Spanish language books listed so if you know some I've missed, give me a shout!

Translations

There still exists some quirks with how Spanish language articles are displayed and the implementation is far from perfect. For instance, if you go to narco.news/es it will show English articles. After toggling the button back and forth though, you'll see the Spanish ones. You also will not see the same articles in Spanish that are in English, which can be confusing. The goal is eventually to have every English article also in proper Spanish but at the moment with our current resources that's unobtainable. For the time being we will try to use computer translations on all the articles that we can at least to have something.

Going Forward

We will keep doing what we've been doing. I'm hoping to get this website off the ground this year and overload it with content. Last year was for building, now it's time to get to work! I've been for the past two months focused on something unrelated that pays the bills but that will be finished in the next two weeks. Allowing me to get back to focusing more on narco.news. The goal was never to monetize this website or make money from it. I don't have Amazon affiliate links for the books and have no plans of adding advertisements. It was always meant to be free and open.

Thank you all for the support thus far. Let's make 2021 a good one!