By Kayla Moon for The Liberty Block
The O’Keefe Academy is an innovative concept: an independent educational source for aspiring citizen journalists around the world. Anyone interested in holding up a light in the midst of darkness has the ability to do so by taking the course and receiving a press pass through the academy. Or at least that’s what has been promised through the academy. The website states “Our belief in the transformative power of the free press and the crucial role of citizen journalists in maintaining the health of democracy has led us to create this innovative program. Your voice matters. Your insight is vital. And here at the O’Keefe Academy, we’re devoted to providing you with the tools, education, and accreditation necessary to amplify your voice and impact your world.”
Back in July as soon as I heard he was starting the academy, I instantly looked into it. As a huge fan of O’Keefe’s past work and his style of journalism, I was ecstatic. I looked into the course and saw that it was $500. I decided to create a GoFundMe, and I raised the money in four days. It was my first successful fundraiser online and I felt blown away that so many people believed in me and my work. I paid for the class on July 25th and received a receipt, which is highlighted below.
I look forward to learning how to become an investigative journalist so that I can join the guerilla warfare for truth.
My first impression was that the O’Keefe Media Group was not very organized. The website was a bit messy and I didn’t see any tabs in regards to the Academy or how to get access to the course titled Journalism 501. The members only page looks like this
I reached out to O’Keefe who had seen my fundraiser online and let him know it would be great to be able to communicate with other students. I also gave him my first impression of the website. He let me know his team was working on it.
I then reached out to O’Keefe again for a request to interview him and do some promotion for the Academy, but he never got back to me. I assume it’s because he’s a very busy man. I never heard back from him after that. I patiently waited for September 1st for the class to start. I was surprised that I did not receive any updates of when the class was starting or what to look forward to once the course started. September 1st came and went. There have been no updates, I do not have access to the course and I’m starting to think I was scammed out of $500. It’s not only disappointing for myself but I feel even more discouraged about all the people who donated to a cause that is going nowhere. The people of my community believe in my work and want to see more of it. This was made clear by the abundance of support I received during my fundraiser. I don’t want to let them down. The big questions are what’s going on with OMG? Is it a legitimate organization? Are they going to be able to keep up with their loyal fan base? Are there other citizen journalists who got scammed or are currently wondering what happened to their money and if they will have access to the course anytime soon? I ended up making some noise on X spaces and a woman reached out to James on my behalf
It is disappointing that I’d have to go to such lengths to find out what’s going on with the class. September 8th is here and I still have no answers. I’ll be patiently waiting for the new release date. Please stay tuned as I will be doing an in depth review on the Academy. We will continue to update this story and we hope that this project is successful.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Liberty Block or any of its members. We welcome all forms of serious feedback and debate.