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Covering protests


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Slideshow for student journalists on how to cover a protest

Slideshow for student journalists on how to cover a protest

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  • 1. Tips for Covering Protests
    Golden Gate Xpress
  • 2. Protests in the Bay Area
    San Francisco and SFSU both have a long history of protest rallies.
    People here have protested everything from wars to budget cuts to abortion rights to killings by police
  • 3. Risks of covering protests
    Getting hurt
    Getting detained by police so you can’t do your job
    Getting arrested
    Having your equipment confiscated by police
    Missing deadline
    SF Chronicle reporter Vivian Ho is handcuffed and led away by BART police at last week’s protest.Photo by Brittney Barsotti
  • 4. Before the protest action
    Acquaint yourself with the issues – read past articles
    Have facts ready so you can write your story quickly
    You may want to write up a few paragraphs of background
    Collect contact info for organizers, police public information officers
  • 5. Create a reporting plan. Consider:
    Whom do you want to interview before the protest or event starts? What questions do you want to ask?
    What footage do you need to get?
    How early do you need to arrive to get the interviews and footage you need?
    Where can you get Internet access?
    What are the rules about shooting video? Permits are required to shoot video using tripods at national monuments and parks.
  • 6. What to bring
    Comfortable shoes
    Camera and video camera (even if you are a reporter)
    Notebook and pen
    Charged cell phone
    Xpress press pass
    Official ID
    Extra batteries for equipment
    Water and a snack – it may be a long day
    Your editors’ phone numbers and email addresses
    Rachele Kanigel 510 421-1613, 510 530-0593
    Jim Wagstaffe, attorney 415 254-8615 (for emergencies if you get arrested; try to reach Rachele first)
  • 8. Tips for covering protests
    Don't trespass onto property that is clearly private or marked with a police line.
    If a police officer orders you to do something, even if it seems unreasonable or ridiculous or interferes with your job, do it -- unless you're willing to live with the consequences of being arrested.
    Don't call the arresting officer names or get into a shoving match.
    If you're covering a demonstration or other event likely to result in arrests, keep $50-100 cash in your pocket to purchase a bail bond.
    If you're able, give your notes or film to another journalist who can get them back to your newsroom promptly.
    Always keep a government-issued photo ID (in addition to a press pass) in your pocket. It may speed up your release from custody.
    Also, know the name and phone number of the police department spokesperson, who may be able to help.
    Call the Reporters Committee's 24-hour hotline, (800) 336-4243.
    Source: Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  • 9. Use social media
    Use Twitter to cover major points, particularly ones that impact readers – road or transit station closures, arrests, important announcements
  • 10. File your story ASAP
    Phone in or email notes to your editors so they can post a quick news alert or brief story
    Follow up with a more detailed story that day
    Be sure to get multiple perspectives – police, protesters, protest organizers, passersby who may be affected
    Don’t editorialize! Be fair and objective
  • 11. Details to include in protest story
    Size of crowd
    Who organized event
    Acts of vandalism or violence
    Intent of protest
    Police response – how did police control the crowd?
    Road/transit station closures, transit delays
  • 12. Promote story on social media