Covering Democracy: Protests, Police and the Press

  • September 26, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Illustration: Dominic Bodden

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The Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University invite you to attend a reception, film screening, and panel discussion on Covering Democracy: Protests, Police and the Press.

Date: Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2023
Reception: 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Screening and panel discussion: 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice
320 E 43rd St, New York, NY

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Despite the promise of the First Amendment, the rights of journalists to cover protests have never been secure. Hundreds of journalists have been detained, arrested, and assaulted by police while reporting on demonstrations throughout the United States. The challenges were particularly acute during the social justice protests that erupted following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and spread throughout the nation.

Covering Democracy: Protests, Police and the Press, released in June from the Knight First Amendment Institute and written by Joel Simon, founding director of the Journalism Protection Initiative at the Newmark J-School, chronicles the history of hostility between the press and the police from the Civil Rights era to the present day. It offers specific recommendations, prepared by the Knight Institute, on how to protect press freedom and the right to record at future protests.

The evening will kick off with an advance screening of the Knight Institute’s soon-to-be-released short documentary film exploring the same issues, “Flashpoint: Protests, Policing, and the Press.” The film features the stories of several journalists who were assaulted or arrested while reporting at protests and explores the conflict and tension experienced on the front lines, the changing role of the press, and the hardening of attitudes among the police towards journalists.

Opening Remarks:

  • Graciela Mochkofsky, Dean of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism

Panelists:

  • Joel Simon, Founding Director of the Journalism Protection Initiative at Newmark J-School
  • Katy Glenn Bass, Research Director at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University
  • Cerise Castle, Los Angeles-based journalist, honored for her reporting on police gangs. She was assaulted by police while covering a protest in LA.
  • Mike Shum, independent filmmaker, and producer and director of the PBS Frontline documentary “Police on Trial.” He was assaulted by police while reporting in Minneapolis in May 2020.

The panel will be moderated by Wesley Lowery, author of “American Whitelash: A Changing Nation and the Cost of Progress” and Journalist-in-Residence at Newmark J-School.