Industry News

When a journalist is arrested covering a protest, what should the news outlet do?

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Mike Faulk was knocked down, pinned to the ground, pepper-sprayed, arrested, held in jail for 13 hours, and charged with a misdemeanor—all at the hands of St. Louis police. His offense? Daring to document the September 17 protests that followed the acquittal of Jason Stockley, the white ex-police officer who fatally shot Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, in 2011. Although Faulk was wearing press credentials and told the arresting officers he was a reporter, he was zip-tied and taken in, along with some 100 protesters rounded up for failing to disperse.

The Post-Dispatch was quick to respond. It sent an editor to the jail to facilitate Faulk’s release, and an attorney for the paper wrote a letter to several St. Louis officials criticizing how the police treated the reporter. Post-Dispatch editor Gilbert Bailon blasted the police in a statement, as did the News Guild-CWA and the St. Louis chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Reporters at the paper tweeted about the arrest. Following his release, Faulk tweeted a screenshot of an email his sister sent to the mayor while he was still in jail, objecting to his confinement.

Read the full article from CJR: When a journalist is arrested covering a protest, what should the news outlet do?