The killing of Michael Brown and the ham-handed way law enforcement officials in Ferguson, Mo., handled its aftermath angered Alexander Howard. It’s been a long time since he was that “ticked off” at a story.
“The systemic discrimination and racial bias, political powerlessness in that community, because of voting rights and people being arrested for assault and losing them, these are things that have been going on a long time but, unfortunately, because they’re kind of the fabric of American life still, they hadn’t caught fire,” he said.
Howard is a writer and editor based in Washington, D.C. He’s also a columnist at TechRepublic and founder of “E Pluribus Unum,” a blog focused on open government and technology. Previously, he was a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, the Ash Center at Harvard University, the Washington correspondent for O’Reilly Media, and an associate editor at SearchCompliance.com and WhatIs.com.
While the brutality of the shooting and the disenfranchisement of the populace provided more than enough reasons for a rational person to be angry, the treatment of the members of the media trying to cover the unfolding events should raise the concerns of journalists and the public, alike, both of whom benefit from the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment:
- Washington Post Reporter Wesley Lowery and other reporters were arrested as police cleared out a McDonalds restaurant.
- Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated, Neil Munshi of the Financial Times and Rob Crilly, a foreign correspondent for the Telegraph, were arrested.
- Police arrested Getty Images photographer Scott Olson.
“When media who went in there, trying to document how people were upset and why they were upset, were raising up the voices and faces and pain of people who have been living in that environment but not being heard, were targeted, roughed up or in this case arrested, I got angry about it,” Howard said.
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