Originally published: October 10, 2011
Last updated: October 10, 2011 - 2:37pm
A number of journalists trying to cover the Occupy Wall Street protests have been arrested. Why did this happen?
Part of the answer is simply a byproduct of the everyone’s-a-journalist rhetoric that defines our media these days. The more proximate answer, though, has to do with how the NYPD has decided to determine who is a journalist. Simply put, without a press credential issued by the NYPD’s Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information (DCPI), you are not a journalist in the eyes of the police. The press credential permits journalists to cross police and fire lines, although it doesn’t guarantee that the pass-holder can cross those lines—it’s ultimately up to the officers at the scene, but with a pass you have the best chance to do so. To get this credential, you must submit an application and six published clips that prove you have covered breaking or spot news in the past. Peter Bekker, the consulting director of the New York Press Club, says the credential is essentially worthless since it doesn’t guarantee reporters access to anything.
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