‘Occupy Wall Street’ a turning point for journalism

[singlepic id=437 w=320 h=240 float=right]As a quasi-member of the news media, I have faith in my peers and their ability to cover the news to the  best of their abilities.

Good journalism is hard to miss, and it’s not hard to find once you know where to look. However, the same cannot be said for corporate news media.

My disappointment at my own field may come as a shock to some. What I believe to be one of the most important events of the year, the decade, and perhaps our lifetime has been unfolding in NYC for more than a week. Occupy Wall Street has been ongoing since Sept. 17.

Protestors, whose numbers are in the thousands, are protesting the government and Wall Street’s economic policy, which they see as placing profit over the people.

The website of the protest, www.occupywallstreet.org , has cited the inspiration for the event being the Arab Spring and those protestors who camped out in Egypt’s Tahrir Square. Though the numbers who are there are small, the group is no doubt dedicated to the cause.

You wouldn’t know this if you were to watch the news; the only place the media has mentioned the Occupy Wall Street protest is tucked deep within news blogs on major media outlets’ websites. The occasional political pundit has made mention of the protest, but there is nothing on the nightly news.

There is no continuing coverage or updates on the protests. Coverage is waylaid through bloggers, live streaming and blogging of the event, and through Twitter.

There is no hope of engaging the common person, those who have no knowledge of the groups covering the event, without the mainstream media. The media’s failure to cover the event is now what I see as one of the defining moments of our country and of the media that covers it.

The event may not be as big as it should be, but there is a sort of sad irony. The protest is opposed to corporate involvement in government and economic matters, and yet these corporations are making sure that the news of the protest stays quiet.

Media corporations are attempting to keep the protests quiet, in hopes of keeping viewers in the dark about their own media and corporate practices, which includes censoring protests against their business practices. It’s a never-ending vicious cycle of media coverage.

Trust in journalism is low according to Gallup polls and it’s not hard to see why. Protestors who only want to peacefully occupy the area are being treated as vermin.

As of this point, it is being reported that at least 80 protestors have been arrested as police have surrounded the protestors and barricaded them.

Video footage taken at the scene shows protestors who were cooperative being thrown to the ground and arrested, peaceful women being pepper-sprayed in the face, and other questionable acts by police.

These clips are all over websites like www.adbusters.org and www.youtube.com; however, they are only just beginning to hit the mainstream media’s coverage of Occupy Wall Street.

Despite the clear interest many consumers of news may have in these unfolding events, outlets are quiet about reporting.

If there was ever a time to get more involved and become more informed about what is going on in the world, this is it. The newspapers and 24-hour news channels are not going to report everything the public should be aware of; they are going to report what they are told to.

To really stay on top of what is going on, start looking for news in other places, especially independent sources.

The Internet has long been the Mecca for alternative and independent news coverage.  The only way to fight back against lack of coverage in the news media is to be informed.


Chelsea Mellin can be contacted at


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