Student perspective: Covering demonstrations from the inside
on March 3, 2010
When the Iraq war broke out in 2003, I came home to see the TV news coverage of the protests demonstrations and found the reports to be sensationalized and distorted. Frustrated, I picked up a camcorder and began capturing what I saw unfold at demonstrations as an alternative to the mainstream coverage. At the time I was a student at San Francisco State University studying film and psychology, and I had planned to become a Hollywood film director. It wasn’t long before I realized that reality could provide better stories than anything I could ever dream up.
Since then I’ve filmed dozens of demonstrations—including many of the protests that sprang out of the state budget cuts on the UC Berkeley campus this past school year—as I attend classes as a student at the Graduate School of Journalism where I am studying multimedia journalism and documentary film. I don’t pretend to be neutral. I’m opposed to war, and I feel that there should be more funding for education. But I do feel that my reporting of protests is both fair and accurate.
On November 20, 2009, during the student takeover of UC Berkeley’s Wheeler Hall, I was inside the occupation to report from behind the barricades. Since then, I’ve embedded myself within the group of protesters responsible for organizing many of the actions. I attend meetings and speak freely about my thoughts and ideas for actions.
While I am sympathetic toward the students’ fight to transform public education, I continue to think critically about the tactics employed by demonstrators and their efforts to advance their vision. On March 4, I will be reporting for Oakland North, as well as for the television class at school. I plan to follow the action with my camera from the early morning until the dust settles and provide periodic reports for Oakland North throughout the day.
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