Monday, October 3, 2011

When Are the Protesters Newsworthy?

Protesters have camped out in New York City since September 17, and more than 1,000 have been arrested so far.

During the first week of the "occupation" by a group organized under the banner "Occupy Wall Street," there was virtually no coverage by the mainstream press.

"The recent protests on Wall Street did not involve large numbers of people, prominent people, a great disruption or an especially clear objective," NPR's executive editor told their ombudsman, the person in charge of determining whether the network has performed properly.

Media coverage is beginning to pick up now that the protesters are becoming more active - 700 protesters were arrested on Saturday when they attempted to occupy the Brooklyn Bridge.

Still, little has been reported about protesters staging rallies in Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere.

Does it matter that the original crowds were much smaller than expected? Does it matter that the protesters lack a specific mission, or an accepted leader?

Should the media be reporting on the acts of civil disobedience?


Alexis Wilkinson said...

I think the whole reason why there was not much coverage before was due to the fact that the original crowds were small and since there is no real mission behind the protests. The protestors are there for a large, general issue and if it was more specific the media would have deemed it newsworthy last week. Also, since 700 people were arrested Sunday it became a newsworthy story because it affects many people. Since the amount of people are increasing, and they are moving into more public areas, taking over the Brooklyn Bridge, the news media wants to be there to report on it.

fly on the wall said...

talking to people that were there, i thought, this is a big deal; these guys missed being arrested because they fled faster than the rest....
news worthy? why not?
coverage? there you have it.

elizabeth steinmetz said...

I believe there was not much coverage because of the small crowd/mission;therefore the story lacked.Audiences may have found it unrelatable. However, I do believe this story should have been covered much more. I personally find protests,esp. protests conducted by younger generations, one of the most important outlets to cover because it's imporatant to listen to what our nation is thinkng. Protest is good and we should be listening more.

Anonymous said...

in the interest of full diclosure: i'm supportive of the occupy movement.

but i feel that the lack of mainstream coverage of the occupy movement is appalling.
the crowds have swelled exponentially in two weeks. it's important to remember that it's an occupation: you're camping out. that's a deep commitment to protest. i dont think the body count is the only factor: their demands are important, timely and affect every one of us.
i disagree that the goals are unclear; they are far-reaching and multifaceted. the financial crisis is spiraling out of control. this is a humanizing, grassroots attempt for those who are not the elite one precent (we are the ninety-nine) to regain some semblance of control.
also, any situation where police abuse human rights should be at the top of the news. It's relevant to this class because journalists have been arrested, including john farley, who wrote about it:


Samuel Botwinick said...

I definitely believe that the media should report on these acts of civil disobedience, because the general public should know why protesters think it is worth getting arrested just to get their message across. Too many people just blantantly ignore the fact that the big financial firms, who are located on Wall Street messed up the economy in such a way that income distribution became more unfair, especially in the last decade. The present economic crisis took away too many jobs, and we need to ask for programs to create jobs again. This demand should no longer be ignored.

Shannon McLaughlin said...

The media should be reporting on acts of civil disobedience, especially if crowds are smaller than expected. That way, more people will see it on television or read about it, and they may want to participate as well. The fact the protests have no specific mission or leader, yet they have already been going on for some time, is kind of news in itself. Most things this disorganized would probably crumble very quickly.

Chiara Matriccino said...

I think the media should be reporting the acts of civil disobedience. I do not personally agree with the occupy movement because this is not necessarily going to change what our economy is going through right now, but I still think that they are standing up for what they believe and it should be documented.

Vanessa Edwards said...

I don't think this movement is going away anytime soon, and rightfully so. For too long Wall Street and the upper 1% of America have run things in this country. The government, businesses, and major corporations adhere to them almost entirely. But why do we always forget about the 99% of the country who doesn't make 6 figures annually? We make up almost the entire country yet major banks get bailed out.... where's my bailout?! This whole system of favoritism in money leaves the rest of America to fend for themselves. Especially when times are so tough, how do they expect people to make it out here when all the corporate figureheads run the show?


TravĂ­cio said...

Agree or disagree, this movement should be getting a large amount of media coverage. Such a large-scale demonstration of civil disobedience, whether it incites change or raises awareness, is a major deal for this country and the world. Mission or not, people are standing for something and (in some cases) being cut down by police. As long as the movement lasts, it should get coverage.

John Murrow said...

I do not believe that the protestors are very newsworthy at all. I personally do not believe in the movement as I believe they have no clear purpose as to why they are even there. I am not saying that the whole protest is not newsworthy as it obviously is, but focusing solely on the protestors is not very newsworthy to me.

Alexis Byrd said...

I think the movement should be reported by the media. It shows other people that they should not be afraid to fight for what they believe in. I think that for far too long the people involved in the movement were quiet, and now their efforts should be shown on our televisions and read through news papers.