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<nettime> embedded reporters
Ryan Griffis on Sat, 15 Nov 2003 09:46:39 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> embedded reporters


i thought some here might be interested in this note i just received via
the IMC FTAA list, on embedded reporting and demos.

Dear Miami FTAA organizers and IMC:


The police just gave FTAA organizers and IMC a huge opportunity. This is
an important opening for organizers to invite U.S. & international
journalists to "embed" in demonstration squads. In order to get "both
sides" of the story and to see the perspective of the majority of citizens
likely to be on the scene. I saw a Japanese crew for a major TV station
chased and sprayed in D.C. in April 2000 because they were reporting on
the "wrong" side of the line. The crew stayed and kept filming the police
aggression.

How would organizers' offer to journalists compare with the "full package
of release forms and reporting rules being put together by police"? (see
below)


Best regards, John Boston IMC

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/editorandpublisher/headlines/article_displ
ay.jsp?vnu_content_id=2024436


NOVEMBER 10, 2003

Miami to Embed Reporters in Police Squads During Large Protests at Next
Week's Trade Talks

By Rachel La Corte, Associated Press Writer


MIAMI -- (AP) Police preparing for large and potentially violent protests
during trade talks here next week are borrowing a tactic from the
Pentagon: They are offering to "embed" reporters in police squads. >
>Reporters have long been known to do ride-alongs with police or accompany
them on busts. Police Chief John Timoney said his embedding plan would
take journalists a step further, by placing them on the front lines of a
protest expected to draw tens of thousands of people.

The embedding is believed to be the biggest use of embedded reporters for
a large-scale U.S. police operation.

"This is not the case of a camera crew or reporter showing up just as
something is breaking," Timoney said. "It's not just a snapshot. You get
the whole before, during and after. You get a clearer picture and a better
story. I think we win in the long run."

Trade officials from 34 countries will discuss creating a free trade area
that will cover all of the Western Hemisphere except Cuba.
 
The protests are expected to draw tens of thousands of people. Police want
to be prepared for the kind of violence that broke out during the World
Trade Organization talks in Seattle in 1999. Those riots cost the city
about $3 million and resulted in 500 arrests and accusations that police
overreacted.

The news organizations invited to participate in the embedding include The
Associated Press, NBC, Reuters, The Miami Herald, CNN, Fox and several TV
stations. The police are still drawing up the rules reporters must follow,
so individual organizations have not officially agreed yet to participate.
 
Several local and national news organizations would be assigned to bicycle
squads, a Coast Guard cutter and other units assigned to the protest
during the Free Trade Area of America talks that begin Nov. 17.
 
Earlier this year, hundreds of journalists were embedded with troops
during the war in Iraq. Timoney said he was not influenced so much by Iraq
as his experience in Philadelphia, where as police commissioner he allowed
reporters to be embedded during the Republican National Convention in
2000.
 
Timoney said that reporters can leave the arrangement any time they like,
and that police are not attempting to influence their stories.

Some media watchers have questioned why reporters would want to
participate.
 
"Journalists aresupposed to be independent gatherers of information," said
Robert Jensen, associated professor of journalism law and ethics at the
University of Texas at Austin. Embedding "is going to put journalists in
the police view of the world. "

He added: "At least in a war theater you can make the arguments that there
is no other way for journalists to have access to the battlefield. I don't
think that analogy holds on the streets of Miami."

The journalists will be responsible for their own safety and will be
required to have a riot helmet and gas mask. Journalists are also required
to sign a release form as well as agree not to report on such things as
the number of officers in a unit or how many units are participating in an
event.

The Herald will participate unless its reporters are asked to sign
something that unreasonably restricts their reporting ability, said
Executive Editor Tom Fiedler. He said he does not believe the media lose
their neutrality by embedding with police.

The practice "in no way makes us allies of law enforcement," he said.
"Rather than being the allies, we are the monitors of law enforcement
authorities." Kevin Walsh, Florida bureau chief for The Associated Press,
said: "We're going to wait to make a decision until we have the
opportunity to review the full package of release forms and reporting
rules being put together by police."


Source: Editor & Publisher Online
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Rachel La Corte, Associated Press Writer , Copyright 2003 Associated
Press. >All rights reserved. >This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. > > >--




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