This one comes from a little ways back, but it was just brought to my attention by a sports editor at The Temple News.
According to The Daily Wildcat, the student newspaper of the University of Arizona, one of their editors was hit a bean bag fired by police officers while covering riots following the Wildcats’ loss to the University of Wisconsin in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament. Arizona was not the only college campus to experience riots this year, similar clashes between police and students occurred at the University of Connecticut and the University of Kentucky.
Journalists covering natural disasters and foreign wars know and expect that at times they will be put in the middle of a dangerous situation. But for student journalists, the situation rarely, if ever, crosses one’s mind.
The situation is also complicated by how much a student reporter will likely blend in with their peers, further muddling the line for police. In order to get the best angle from which to tell a story, reporters are expected to get as close to action as possible, and hardly anyone in journalism would argue that the same doesn’t go for student journalists
The situation in Arizona proves again that student journalists are producing professional level content, including placing themselves in professional situations that carry a level of danger (certainly the threat posed by a bean bag cannot compare to the threats correspondents face in places like Kabul or Baghdad).