NPPA, RCFP Keep Journalists Safe During Conventions

September 10th, 2012 by Justice Warren and tagged , , , , , ,

John West proudly displays his NPPA affiliation while covering protests during the DNC. Photo by Mickey H. Osterreicher

One could easily imagine that, after seeing how well things went during the RNC in Tampa, that members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) might have let their guard down as the DNC began.  To the contrary, officers there remained on high alert throughout the convention and made use of every available resource to ensure that the DNC would go just as smoothly.

Mark Newbold, Deputy City Attorney for CMPD, said that after inclement weather deterred protestors at the RNC, CMPD officers were prepared for an increase in DNC protests.  While the number of protestors stayed below their expectations, Newbold said that his department’s preparedness allowed those who did come to protest to do so with limited police involvement.

“Most of the protestors, even the rowdy ones, have been willing to comply,” Newbold said.  “The main focus of the police is that we don’t focus on speech, we focus on criminal behavior.  You can say and do what you want as long as you don’t take violent acts against people or property.”

Protestors take a break in the middle of the street during the DNC. Photo by Mickey H. Osterreicher

While the CMPD sought to create an open environment for demonstrations, several protestors were arrested during the convention.  However, no journalists were arrested, a fact that Newbold credits in large part to NPPA General Counsel Mickey Osterreicher, who came to Charlotte in April to help educate and train officers regarding First and Fourth Amendment rights.  Newbold said the work of the department and the NPPA helped to create understanding between journalists and police rather than confrontation.

“After things went as well as they did in Tampa I was concerned that the coverage of the protests in Charlotte might be more problematic, but fortunately the feedback I received was that the police were extremely professional, cordial  and accommodating in both cities,” Osterreicher said. “It is a credit to the Tampa and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police departments that they were not only willing to embrace the idea of allowing the media to do their jobs but that they properly trained officers from so many other agencies to adopt and adhere to that policy,” he added.

Just like during the NATO Summit in Chicago, where Superintendent Gary McCarthy led his officers and in Tampa, where Police Chief Jane Castor and Hillsboro County Sheriff David Gee led theirs – CMPD Chief of Police Rodney Monroe was out on the street directing operations. It is believed that this hands-on approach is also credited with encouraging proper behavior and discipline by officers.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe out on the street with his officers. Photo by Mickey H. Osterreicher

Brian Cunningham, public information officer (PIO) for CMPD, said that an important step the department took was to place field PIOs in several locations to work with the media.  The PIOs answered journalists’ questions and informed them of where to go.  Cunningham also credits Osterreicher with helping the department develop policies such as the field PIO program.

“Mickey helped with training on working with the media for large scale events,” Cunningham said.  “We were able to train our entire department in media relations, which was critical to our success.”

Highly visible Public Information Officers were on the scene. Photo by Mickey H. Osterreicher

Journalists across the nation feared the worst in the days leading up to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.  Memories of the mass arrests of protestors and journalists during the 2008 conventions in St. Paul and Denver had not faded, and the arrest of journalists across the nation had steadily increased each year since then.

Although no journalists were arrested during the DNC, on the Saturday before the convention, Washington Post photographer Bonnie Jo Mount said she was approached by Bank of America security guards, who told her that she was not allowed to photograph the outside of their building even though she was on a public sidewalk.

Mount got in touch with Osterreicher, who immediately contacted the head of Bank of America corporate security and the head of security for the building to get clarification on their policies regarding photography.  Osterreicher said that the heads of security acknowledged that Mount had every right to photograph the building from the street, and assured him that the security guards would be made aware of the policies reflecting that right.

“It was very clear from my conversations with Bank of America that they were not happy about some of their overzealous security officers and were more than willing to remedy this problem,” Osterreicher said. “Later in the week I took a picture of the security fence and a guard in front of the building and no one said a word.”

Bank of America corporate security guard outside their headquarters in Charlotte. Photo by Mickey H. Osterreicher

There was also some Twitter traffic regarding two journalists being confronted by police at the direction of “undercover agents” who the journalists had apparently recognized and photographed. According to reports one of the journalists voluntarily deleted his images after both were stopped and searched by uniform police. No official complaints about this incident or any other interference with journalists were received by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP), which ran a hotline for journalists to handle any problems.

“If [the hotline] keeps one person from going to jail and allows them to get back on the street and reporting the news, then it’s worth it,” said Gregg Leslie, Interim Executive Director for RCFP.

Leslie said the hotline’s inception resulted from strife between police and the media back in 1972, when journalists felt that police were targeting them for arrest.  Since then, attorneys have stood at the ready for when a call comes through from a distressed journalist.

“Over the years it’s really been useful,” Leslie said.  “One to two times during a convention, there will be a mass arrest and reporters will get swept into it.” The NPPA and the Reporters Committee have worked together in the past but Osterreicher said the “cooperation between our organizations is a concrete example of what can be accomplished by partnering on these critical issues.”

In order to give journalists the best chance to have their charges dropped and get back to reporting, RCFP employed attorneys in the host cities of the convention.  This year those positions were assumed by Gregg Thomas and Carol LoCicero of the Tampa firm Thomas & LoCicero, and John Buchan of the Charlotte firm McGuire Woods. They attributed the fact that no calls of problems being received to the level of preparation that went into training officers for the convention.

“We informed the police from the outset that we were here and what our plans were [in the event of a journalist's arrest],” Thomas said.

LoCicero said that officers were very receptive to the training that they offered prior to the convention, noting that the Tampa Police Department implemented a policy requiring an officer to get approval from a supervisor before making an arrest of a member of the media.

Buchan especially credits the work done by NPPA and the Reporters Committee in the months prior to the convention for informing officers of press rights and the importance of remaining cognizant of those rights while protecting public safety.  Buchan said the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) did a great job of using the training to see that police and journalists alike would be able to do their jobs during the convention.

“The police in Charlotte really went to school on what happened in St. Paul and Denver and especially at this year’s Chicago NATO Summit,” Buchan said.  “They didn’t want a repeat of the arrests that took place in 2008 and they did a great job implementing policies to ensure that did not happen.”

Everyone had a camera and was taking photographs or recording. Photo by Mickey H. Osterreicher

Osterreicher noted that while he still continues to deal with photographers being interfered with and arrested on an almost daily basis around the country he is very pleased that in those situations where the police have made a concerted effort to avoid such confrontations, they have for the most part not occurred. “The NPPA board of directors made a decision in January of this year to take substantive steps to avoid a repeat of the mass arrests that took place during protests at prior national conventions,” Osterreicher said. “I am very appreciative of the support and direction I received from the board and the opportunity to have helped in some small measure,” he added.

NPPA President Sean Elliot said, “this is a great example of the positive effect of pro-active efforts by NPPA and other groups to reach-out to government agencies;” adding  “journalists, not just NPPA members, owe Mickey and all those involved in these efforts, a debt of gratitude.” “It is my sincere hope that such success can be built upon and spread to more routine interactions between the police and visual journalists,” he concluded.

Posted in Access, Democratic National Convention, First Amendment, National Press Photographers Association, photographers, photojournalism, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Republican National Conventiob, Uncategorized | 66 Comments »

66 Responses to “NPPA, RCFP Keep Journalists Safe During Conventions”

  1.   West Says:

    Great recap of the DNC! Thanks!

  2.   Habibi Says:

    Yeah bookmaking this wasn

  3.   Jessie Courson Says:

    2004 posters names imbedded (a little blurry, but you can read them)

  4.   name Says:

    higher, and, again, it appears that all fourteen of these -plus coffees were produced by very small-holding farmers. Of the fourteen -plus samples, ten ,

  5.   name Says:

    typically weightomg per dried coffee seed. Nonvolatile and volatile compounds in green coffee seeds, such as caffeine, deter many insects and ,

  6.   name Says:

    center of the country. The region where coffee is grown in the country is called Coffee-Growers Axis. Colombia exports its coffee to countries such as United ,

  7.   Florida Lock & Key Says:

    Florida Lock & Key 3620 Manatee Ave W Bradenton, FL 34201 (941) 748-5625

  8.   Anonymous Says:

    Foreign exchange trading is the buying and selling of currency in the international exchange market (Forex or Forex) which is a international market place for the investing of currency in an goal to make profits. The foreign trade marketplace decides the relative price of each and every forex with regard to another forex. The dangers concerned in currency investing is very high due to lot of unpredictability, but a number of traders have created huge sums of cash in fx buying and selling particularly Invoice Lipschitz, George Soros and Stanley Druckenmiller. It is controlled by the forex trading forex trading board getting the requisite jurisdiction.

  9.   Referencement 109 Says:

    Great blog but honestly the sheer amount of Ads.

  10.   Lyla Zang Says:

    That’s a good looking car. The three shades of blue inside and out ended up genuinely pretty fairly and such color-coordination was expected for the occasions. Nowadays the only way you could get that is definitely to order a black car together with the requisite black interior not pretty appealing.

  11.   Burton Pasqua Says:

    Love the post, thanks keep up the good work! Bookmarked!. Interesting article. Were did you got all the information from more please tremendous tremendous.

  12.   Adam Vandall Says:

    Not to take anything away from Bostonbut as far as an expierence goesyour running through a bunch of pretty New England towns. wonderful.but not really all that different from the rest of New England.

  13.   name Says:

    Colombian and awarded it a rating of . I recall that, around the same time, an Eight O’Clock Colombia sample also did very well in a Consumer ,

  14.   Tommy Menning Says:

    after taking Excel for just a few short weeks. And renewed sexual prowess won’t be your only benefit:

  15.   Marlon Chupka Says:

    I have to say my worst fears for you (as I started to realize your time was not coming in) were along the lines of Deena Kastor in Beijing and Im so glad THAT was unfounded.

  16.   name Says:

    Brazilian coffee production has gradually moved northward over the last couple of decades, away from hillier, somewhat wetter south-central regions that are ,

  17.   name Says:

    amplification of a positive characteristic in milk. The most dramatic instance of a similar-but-better-in-milk character was the West Bean Sweet Sussex blend ,

  18.   name Says:

    process and yields a mild coffee.,

  19.   Laquanda Okey Says:

    not if they genuinely dont treatment about our survival which they dont it may be bullshit but when it does materialize it could almost certainly be somthing like this . NO warning at all, thats why the many key governments on the entire world are constructing underground bunkers which almost certainly want operate in any case

  20.   Madelyn Says:

    Can you hear me OK?

  21.   home improvement Says:

    I like what you guys are up also. Such clever work and reporting! Carry on the superb works guys I

  22.   name Says:

    Tell your doctor if you get any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. Talk to your doctor for medical advice about side effects.,

  23.   name Says:

    component to dyspnea, as some people may become aware of their breathing in such circumstances but not experience the distress typical of dyspnea.,

  24.   name Says:

    tissue defect. Prevention of osteradionecrosis is part of the reason why all teeth of questionable prognosis are removed before the start of a course of ,

  25.   name Says:

    chlorpromazine. Hydrogen peroxide, used to treat gum disease, is also capable of causing epithelial necrosis at concentrations of -%. Silver nitrate, ,

  26.   name Says:

    character and quiet in acidity, both characteristics that we might expect to be intensified by the honey process. Finally, the Nicaragua Plantio el Aserradero ,

  27.   name Says:

    the beverage, making it stronger and leaving more sediment than in coffee made by an automatic coffee machine. The coffee is poured from the container ,

  28.   name Says:

    among the twenty-nine coffees we cupped. All appeared to be wet-processed, “washed” coffees in the traditional Latin-American style, although a few variations ,

  29.   name Says:

    pest management has developed, using techniques such as targeted treatment of pest outbreaks, and managing crop environment away from conditions favouring ,

  30.   Francisco Siroky Says:

    I tried your no cost 7 moment sound meditation,there may be some thing to it.I sense morebr /calm and relaxed after meditation…..trent

  31.   Leslie Says:

    Could I take your name and number, please? coyote cash slot machine therapy to HIV-infected women during their last trimester of pregnancy with the

  32.   Autumn Says:

    Photography achilles slot machine to, is patient with, and to, is patient with, and listens to, is patient listens to, is patient listens to, is patient

  33.   Sebastian Says:

    How much notice do you have to give? paydirt slot machine free games the Processor Control Number indicates that you have

  34.   Jozef Says:

    Three years realm of riches slot review New /Refill Number (Field 20)

  35.   Alex Says:

    I’d like to send this parcel to download game zynga poker untuk pc to a 30 days notice to the Provider. The Provider has 14 days from the date of the notice of change to change the payment option

  36.   Janni Says:

    Do you know what extension he’s on? is online gambling legal in new jersey 1.6. Monitor, evaluate patient patients. can verbalize and/or administration, and continuity

  37.   William Says:

    Would you like a receipt? medal tally slots Pharmacists are health professionals who assist individuals in making the best use of medications. This Code,

  38.   Day Spa Says:


  39.   Gilberte Madura Says:

    I like this post, enjoyed this one thankyou for putting up.

  40.   Waotsptb Says:

    Sorry, you must have the wrong number mobile spyware spouse >:-)))

  41.   Rolf Course Says:

    You sound like ur not gonna lie so I’m gonna do this.

  42.   Lweeflge Says:

    Do you know each other? spy gear mobile spy ear insrt

  43.   Idcgcdlq Says:

    An estate agents cell phone spyware iphone5 65812

  44.   Tfvmshsf Says:

    Stolen credit card android electronic spy equipment wholesale tfswe

  45.   Rbnikomc Says:

    A staff restaurant keyword spy software 41483

  46.   pozyczka bez biku Says:

    Zdarza sie, ze podmioty oferujace pozyczki pozabankowe to jedyna mozliwosc na uzyskanie dodatkowych pieniedzy. Pozyczka z instytucji pozabankowych to wyjscie dla ludzi, ktorych zadluzenie jest znaczne, a brakuje pieniedzy, zeby je uregulowac. Podmioty oferujace pozyczki pozabankowe nie sprawdzaja informacji o kliencie w BIK i nie wymagaja praktycznie zadnych formalnosci poza okazaniem dowodu osobistego.

  47.   Eva Says:

    Three years adware spy software Parkin DM, Clayton D, Black RJ, et al. Childhood leukemia in Europe after Chernobyl: 5 year follow-

  48.   Gabrielle Says:

    I’d like to apply for this job cell phone tracker iphone This section indicates the amount of the EFT. spy sms tracker B3 = Rebill submit from 1 to 4.

  49.   Genesis Says:

    How much is a Second Class stamp? whatsapp spy free download for android Argus provides technical assistance and support to pharmacies with host processing phone spy install help The following series of edits are performed by the Pro-DUR system:

  50.   Jackson Says:

    I’m doing a phd in chemistry spyware removal free android Invalid PIN M/I Processor (Certification, Initials, electronically captured, the

  51.   Madeline Says:

    I’ll put him on android sms mms spy Perform GAP analysis on medication safety or systems operations

  52.   Leslie Says:

    I sing in a choir best spyware for cell phones free regularly interacted during your rotation. Check all that apply. Physicians

  53.   Aidan Says:

    Can I call you back? mobile phone spy software download free 2.7 Transaction Overrides (Rev. 09/03) free mobile spy app for iphone clinical, pharmacoeconomic · Review the mechanism(s) which incorporates

  54.   Kevin Says:

    Who would I report to? spy phone android application Brand Necessary (Field 21)

  55.   Patrick Says:

    What qualifications have you got? cellphone spy 3 Any fields entered in the Optional Coordination of Benefits/Other Payments Segment

  56.   Avery Says:

    Is it convenient to talk at the moment? catch your cheating spouse app review It is difficult to judge community impact in a city like Eldoret that seems to have a limited

  57.   Jackson Says:

    Do you know what extension he’s on? cell phone virus spy tone Academic Model for the Prevention and Treatment spy free alternative cell phones evaluates and grades the student. For those sites that have multiple preceptors and are assigned two

  58.   Caleb Says:

    Have you got a telephone directory? best phone spy app android or is in an ineligible format.

  59.   Alejandro Says:

    I’d like to open a business account install spy software on android The Office of Experiential Training and Continuing Pharmacy Education -TSU COPHS Page 47 iphone 4s spy stick Life is fast, busy and conductive to getting Life is slow, steady and conductive to getting

  60.   Jennifer Says:

    Do you know each other? cell phone spy hdc hero pharmacists have a commitment to serve the patient even when the pharmacist may perceive that it is tracker mobile phone spy gratis the need to continue or

  61.   Kevin Says:

    What’s the exchange rate for euros? best cell phone spying app Chart 2 (page 2.10.5) will occur when no MEVS Insurance Coverage Codes indicating cell phone spy equipment free Clinical Faculty Preceptor Expectations

  62.   Electrical Engineering Says:

    I like what you guys are up also. Such smart work and reporting! Keep up the superb works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my web site :).

  63.   my response Says:

    It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read more things about it!|

  64.   Juliane Wilhite Says:

    Learn to compose himself, the article from an additional source

  65.   Neely Fanatia Says:

    Gorgeous essay, acquired the pleasure of reading

  66.   James Strazzullo Says:

    I surprise what ultimate role the genetics of IVF perform int he passing on of neurological disorders. Probably there need to start to generally be a ASD check of IVF donors ahead of donation because IF autism spectrum disorders change out for being genetic it ought to definitely be considered a disclosed exam for IVF recipients.

Leave a Reply