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Shop Talk
Shop Talk is a weekly panel discussion about journalism issues. This week’s program featured Will Buss, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University and advises the student editors at the Western Courier, the students at student radio station The Dog, and the WIU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists; Rajvee Subramanian, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University; and TSPR News Director Rich Egger.

Stifling Journalism in Ferguson

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The Shop Talk panelists discuss attempts to prevent reporters from covering the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

The RTDNA has called on authorities to recognize the rights of journalists.  KSDK-TV has posted video of police turning on reporters.

The panelists feel law enforcement has trampled on the First Amendment. 

Rich Moreno said there’s been a war against the media as much as against the protestors.  He said it seems more like something from the Ukraine rather than the United States.  He said for the most part, police did nothing to help people understand what happened.  Instead, they clamped down and engaged in a bunker mentality.

Jasmine Crighton said she was struck by the “no fly zone” implemented in the early days of the unrest. Law enforcement claimed it was trying to keep reporters safe when it barred them from certain areas, yet it prevented them from using drones and helicopters that would have allowed them to safely witness what was happening.

Rich Egger agreed that law enforcement has tried its best to prevent reporters from informing the public.  He also said it’s a dangerous situation for reporters – some people are trying to take advantage of the unrest by looting, which further complicates the situation.