These last few days have been dark for our country. Today I released a statement condemning the attacks against journalists and anyone peacefully protesting. You can read that in full here. Please share it with our members.
Last night we had an emergency call with local officers and unit leaders addressing how to respond to the targeting of journalists by police across the country.
Several good ideas were shared:
- Reach out to local AFL-CIOs and CLCs and ask them to condemn the police violence against protesters and journalists just doing their job.
- For those covering protests, push employers to provide protective equipment — and be wary of overdressing in a way that could make you the target. Bicycle helmets and goggles are helpful in protests, but don’t draw a lot of attention.
- Be sure to communicate with police and activists and tell them that journalists are just doing their jobs and should not be attacked.
- Reach out to the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and others to do training and find ways to support each other’s mental health during this pandemic and protests.
- Provide a safe space, even if on Zoom, to support colleagues, especially our Black colleagues, and start a dialogue.
We’ve signed onto a letter from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which is soon being sent to officials in Minnesota. It provides helpful information about our rights and the potential legal liability of officers interfering with the right of journalists to report on the news. RCFP separately has a guide to covering protests and a tip sheet on protecting yourself while covering a protest.
Please take time to check in with your members and colleagues, especially our Black members. We need solidarity more than ever right now. And be safe as you work to inform our communities.