Student reporters arrested in protests at conventions
Hundreds of protesters were arrested in Denver, Colo., and St. Paul, Minn., during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, respectively, this fall. However, these mass arrests managed to snare student and professional reporters with the protesters.
An investigation by The Minnesota Independent determined that about 46 of the over 800 people arrested at the RNC were journalists arrested for being close to protests, and about seven of the journalists were college students. The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado said that one professional and three student journalists were arrested at the DNC in Denver.
Many of the journalists were released soon after their arrest, and most were charged with misdemeanors that were later dropped. However, ACLU of Minnesota Executive Director Charles Samuelson said that many independent and student journalists who did not have press credentials were initially charged with felony riot, which was later reduced to misdemeanors but not dismissed entirely.
University of Kentucky student photographer Britney McIntosh, 19, was arrested on the first day of the RNC while covering a protest. She traveled to St. Paul from Lexington, Ky., with a fellow student, a friend and her adviser to cover the convention, but spent almost three days in jail before being released. She said that although she believes police were wrong to arrest her, she knows they were just doing their job. The experience reminded her of the importance of journalistic freedom, especially for students.
“I definitely feel like my job is more important than ever before,” she said. “If the journalists weren’t there to document what was happening, there’s no way people would know how out of control things get.”
reports, Winter 2008-09