Last week in Atlanta, someone stole a car with a one-month baby inside. The police started the search operation, and Channel 2 Action News reporters were covering the story. In the end, it turned out that the photographer covering the story was the one who found the baby and helped to save her life.
This Tuesday, the reporters of many major newspapers tried covering the healthcare protests on Capitol Hill. According to their tweets from the Senate Gallery, the police blocked them and tried forcing them to delete the photos.
That day, almost 100 demonstrators were arrested for protesting against Trumpcare. As the journalists tried to cover the arrest, the police prevented them from taking photos, calling the place “a crime scene.”
Burhan Ozbilici, the photographer who documented the assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey, won the World Press Photo of the Year. On December 19, 2016, he was at an exhibition opening in Ankara, when the incident occurred. As he said back then, he was only doing his job. As the crowd started panicking, Ozbilici remained calm and documented what he witnessed. The photo went viral almost instantly and the reactions were different and pretty intense.
Earlier this week, confirmation hearings of Jeff Sessions as US Attorney General were followed by protests. Of course, many photographers and reporters covered this even. And one of them had an unpleasant experience which looks a bit like censorship. While Jim Lo Scalzo was taking photos of protesters being escorted out of the hearing room, he was interrupted. As he said, Texas. Rep. Louie Gohmert tried to stand between his camera and the action, blocking his view.
Lo Scalzo asked him if he was seriously blocking him from taking photos of protesters, and Gohmert said “Yes. The story is not there.” Then he pointed to Sessions and said “The story is over there.”
Over the past month, the events taking place in Ferguson have become a significant catalyst for rising tensions between the public and the media. With the emotional responses that issues of racism trigger across the political spectrum coupled with the response to police brutality that we’re already so familiar with, there’s an unsettling amount of conflict for the journalists and photographers involved.
Just recently, that crossfire hit 30-year-old freelance photographer Leo York, who was present in Ferguson during the riots. An Al Jazeera writer posted an article discussing his contempt for the media’s reaction to the events, and mentioned how an unnamed reporter asked him if he could take a picture of him and Anderson Cooper. That same reporter also mentioned how he was there for the “networking opportunities”.
“One reporter who, last night, said he came to Ferguson as a ‘networking opportunity.’ He later asked me to take a picture of him with Anderson Cooper.”
– From Ryan Schuessler’s original article on Al Jazeera
After the post went viral, grabbing attention from multiple online blogs, Gawker reporter J.K. Trotter posted an article asking readers to find out who the people being referred to in the post were since the Al Jazeera writer, Ryan Schuessler, wouldn’t give out any names. Eventually, a few readers managed to deliver on the request, finding pictures of Leo York posing with Anderson Cooper on the former’s personal Twitter account.