Covering the “Occupy” protests
With Occupy Wall Street-style protests heading to Toronto's Bay Street this weekend, journalists may want to take note of their counterparts' coverage in Manhattan. As The Tyee points out, it didn't start out so great. When protesters — spurred on by urgings from Vancouver-based Adbusters magazine in July — took to the street on Sept. 17, coverage was, at first, "thin or dismissive." The New York Times published its September 23rd story under the headline "Gunning for Wall Street, With Faulty Aim" and tucked it into its regional section. As the Tyee notes, only when the protest turned violent did one network, ABC News, do a serious story. The New York Observer analyzed the following media frenzy, which brought such TV personalities as Geraldo Rivera to the protests on October 1 and following, in a piece entitled "From Blackout to Circus: The Evolution of Media Coverage at Occupy Wall Street." As the piece noted, even some media members admitted the coverage had been, until then, bad.
And, if Canadian journalists still feel the need to be dismissive, consider this: The Pew Research Centre just released a report showing that reporting on the economy dominated news coverage during the first week of October, and that the protests dominated economic reporting. "The protests largely aimed at Wall Street constituted the largest single thread in that coverage, making up about one-third of the economic storyline," reads the report, "That amounted to roughly 7% of the overall newshole, or nearly four times the amount of protest coverage from the week before."[node:ad]