In recent months, local TV news crews have faced verbal and physical abuse while on the job. A few reporters have been injured. Some have been robbed or had their equipment damaged.
The crackdown comes amid news of secret subpoenas of reporters’ phones. The first such charge came last week, when 43-year-old Shane Jason Woods of Illinois was charged with engaging in violence on the Capitol grounds Jan. 6, as well as assaulting a law enforcement officer. Authorities say Woods was caught on video knocking down a cameraman.
During the past year, the job of seeking and reporting the truth became increasingly dangerous. Journalists were threatened, assaulted and arrested at an alarming rate while on the job. We faced unprecedented levels of verbal and physical violence at the hands of civilians, police and the leaders we are meant to hold accountable. Every year, RTDNA releases data from a survey of broadcast newsrooms from across the country. This year, for the first time in our history, the report compiled by the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University included a section on media safety. Our research team wanted to understand how repeated, targeted acts of violence have impacted newsrooms across the country. The responses were alarming.
KUSA Denver reporter Liz Kotalik posted photos of a smashed live truck window Thursday on Twitter. The entire passenger side where the reporter normally sits was covered with shattered glass from the window. No one was hurt, as Kotalik had left her seat to get her computer.