Covering protests

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Slideshow for student journalists on how to cover a protest

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Covering protests

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

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