Fifty years ago Martin Luther King marched with civil rights leaders across a bridge in Selma Alabama. They were working for the right to vote. There had been many protests up to that point. There were newspaper and magazine articles but public opinion moved slowly. By the 1960s, the protests were covered on live radio and television. The brutality of segregation was brought into millions of living rooms.
The segregationists were shown for what they were. They did things to try to stop it. They did not like photojournalists. They would try to restrict press from photographing or identifying them in captions, even though they were in a public space or doing something the public had a right to know. If a journalist did work directly for a news agency, they would try to get them fired. Segregationists would try to take away whatever accreditation they might have. They would try to ban freelance photographers. They would try to keep people from talking to the press by threatening their jobs or lives. They would even try to tell photographers what kind of camera they could use. They would try to say journalists were dangerous, even as they physically assaulted them. It was a hostile work environment but they were on the wrong side of history. The pictures taken are now important historical documents.
So when you see the press at an event, remember they are witnesses to the history. Do you want to be on the right side of it?
Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.