Monday, August 18, 2014

My Main Takeaway? All Cops Need to Wear Body Cams

I wouldn’t mind hitting the streets with a body cam myself. That would knock out the occasionally time-consuming burden of rooting around my bag for my phone. And then fiddling with the phone for many seconds before it’s ready to record.

Speaking of that phone, I’ve been glued to it since last Wednesday, following the chain of events in Ferguson, Missouri on Twitter. If you’ve only kept up via newspaper articles and TV news segments, you don’t know the half of it. The most thorough and up-to-date coverage is on Twitter, by way of briefings, quotes (from peaceful protesters, unruly protesters, peaceful cops, unruly cops), photos, and videos provided by on-the-ground journalists and community representatives.

I’m sleeping like someone waiting for her 9-month-pregnant best friend’s water to break. Everything else (my day job, drafting this blog post, communications having nothing to do with Ferguson) feels like a bothersome distraction from my moment-to-moment updates. The past two nights’ tweeted material has left my stomach in knots, while making me wish I stuck with journalism. 

As a campus news reporter the first two years of college, I liked year #1, tolerated year #2, and resigned not many weeks into year #3. I didn’t love my editors and most stopped speaking to me after I quit (including the one who once asked to see my inhaler, put it in her mouth, and took a puff before handing it back and strolling away, as if we knew each other like that), giving me an aggressive version of the silent treatment each time we crossed paths. But I liked interviewing people, overhearing people, recording their words, listening to explanations of why they think the way they do, sorting it all out into a narrative. That’s one way to become more capable of understanding more than one side of an issue.

The reporters risking their lives (probably for very little money) to show and tell the world what’s really happening in Ferguson have been tear gassed, threatened with assault rifles, arrested and released without charges. With respect for them all, I’ve developed a particular fondness for the front-liners I’ve mainly followed this week: the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery, USA Today’s Yamiche Alcindor, freelance journalist Amy K. Nelson, the Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly, and BuzzFeed’s Joel D. Anderson, who don’t look much older than 30.

1 comment:

  1. I was startled when I first realized, during the Arab Spring, how important Twitter can be to social activism. This is a tool that was not available to my generation. I had always thought of Twitter--if I thought of it at all-- as chit-chat put out by celebrities to increase their following. Totally silly. But now it is a revelation to find that Twitter can be so extraordinarily important to our own society, and a tool for social change. May its power increase.