Real Time: Missouri

It’s timely that as you are taking this Photojournalism class, one of the most controversial topics related to academia and journalism is surfacing in the headlines. It begins with a story about a campus that has struggled with racial inequality for years. The student body organized and protested the school for their actions…but, they also took a stand against the media which they felt has been biased in their portrayal of both organized protests and students of color. Recently, a student journalist working for ESPN was prohibited from being able to record the protests in a public space. Allies of the protesters and faculty of the college created a human shield to prevent the media from covering the event. What has now surfaced is a NATIONAL CONVERSATION about:

a) The ethics of journalism coverage
b) First amendment rights v.s. personal liberty
c) The power of spectacle–and how media coverage can sometimes serve to subvert the very story it’s covering.

Please read this article  as I’d like to hear your thoughts both as students and prospective journalists…


3 thoughts on “Real Time: Missouri

  1. “As journalists, we should strive to understand the motivations of the people we cover.” If that means putting down the cameras in order to show understanding and respect then so be it. I think often times when people say “its my job” as an excuse to do something they often forget how heartless that statement can seem, especially in this situation. Photojournalists like Tai have to understand that what they are photographing goes beyond him just doing his job. His mindlessness obviously didn’t help him in this situation. If you have an issue in any job you have to solve it and he simply wasn’t trying to solve his problem and was just digging a deeper hole for himself. Part of being a photojournalist is understanding the code of ethics that every company has for that photographer. His actions completely distracted from the very message the protesters were/are trying to send out. The story then became about him and that’s just embarrassing and hopefully photographers learn from this. Treating other people like human beings and not like another job assignment, just might allow him the small amount of access needed to complete the job. If people still don’t want to be photographed then be creative and think of other ways to help get the message across. “Further, as reporters, we have to drop our sense of entitlement and understand that not everyone wants to be subjects of our journalism. Our press passes don’t give us the license to bully ourselves into any and all spaces where our presence is not appreciated.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First let me say, I love the idea of this group. I hope it is utilized fully for the improvement of all involved.

    For this spicific issue we do need to all respect others, it is easy being a white male to not understand bad make little effort to know how others feel. I agree with the artical, the press should respect those they are covering. So often the press steps on the people they are covering. We all want to know what is happening, but it should not be at the expense of those innocent people who are making the news. The press has also given many a reason not to trust them by so often covering stories in very biased way. Tell us what happened not what you want us to think or what the person who pays you wants us to think. The news should be unbiased, not some thing that can be sold to the highest bidder.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Preach, Vicky! Couldn’t agree more… I think it’s interesting to note that the student photographer works for ESPN, which is one of the few media outlets that has never published a formal Code of Ethics. (He may have been connecting the campus protests to the football team’s related protests not to play until the college addressed its racial problems on campus.)

    Regardless, you are both so right in that we have a responsibility as image makers and what is lawful is not necessarily always ethical.

    Louis had a great insight in that a reporter’s “free speech” can still very much be mediated by money.


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