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The Mizzou protests showed changing views of the media and privacy While racism and threats to the physical safety of black students are the most important issues amid the unrest at the University of Missouri, a controversy around the rights and responsibilities of the media has lingered all week.
The media controversy arose from an incident Monday, when protesters, led by the group Concerned Student —whose name references Blog writing jobs year blacks were finally admitted to Mizzou—were celebrating the resignations on the Mel Carnahan Quadrangle on campus and vowing to continue to fight.
The incident was captured on video by Mark Schierbeckerand that video went viral. A few of the people in the video who tried to keep Tai and Schierbecker away from protesters were Mizzou staff or faculty.
Some of them later apologized and may face discipline. But to me the most interesting aspect of the incident was the argument between Tai and the protesters, which in the days since has been taken up across the internet.
Tai, whose photos were published by ESPN. On the other hand, the arguments made by Tai and those who supported him were widely denounced by others, who argued that whatever the rights of journalists, they have an obligation to treat subjects, particularly subjects who are in danger or pain or both, more respectfully.
Tai, I should note, said on several occasions that he was uncomfortable having become part of the story, and that his squabble with protesters was not nearly as important as the larger issues.
ConcernedStudent Protestors have taken down the anti-media signs and are handing out a PSA welcoming media. Honestly, we saw you gathered in a public place. But in a public place, journalists are going to do what they are paid to do: And we cannot ever apologize for that.
My first reaction to this confrontation Monday was to side squarely with Tai. I found the actions of the protesters disturbing.
I also thought they were being undemocratic, that having won a victory, they were using their newfound power in a bullying way.
In the closing seconds of the video, a mass of protesters walking in a close group push Tai out of the scene completely. I tweeted in support of a piece that argued much the same thing. Good piece on the disturbing behavior of some protesters today.
That tweet got a few dozen likes and retweets, and everyone who liked it or retweeted it whose race was apparent to me was white. Meanwhile, I found myself arguing on Twitter with black journalists I respect.
If subjected to obscene harassment for months bc of protesting, would I want 2 b bothered?
A good summation of the argument against those of Tai and Stokes is made by Melissa McEwen at the Shakesville blog in a post headlined Stop.
This is not a new or unique idea. I have problems with both of those ideas. Social media is changing notions and definitions of what is public and what is private. But a smart, ethical reporter has to understand that those disagreements are real, and worth considering.Writing for Blogs.
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