Despite the promise of the First Amendment, the rights of journalists to cover protests have never been secure. In recent years, hundreds of journalists have been detained, arrested, and assaulted by police while reporting on demonstrations throughout the United States. The challenges were particularly acute during the social justice protests that erupted throughout the nation in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis police.

“Flashpoint: Protests, Policing, and the Press”—the Knight Institute’s inaugural short documentary—features the stories of several journalists who were assaulted or arrested while reporting at protests and explores the conflict and tension experienced on the front lines, the changing look of the press, and the hardening of attitudes among the police towards journalists, especially journalist of color.

The film is part of the Los Angeles Times’ Academy Award-winning Short Docs series.

Festival screenings

  • Independent Film Festival Boston (IFFBoston)
  • Cleveland International Film Festival


  • Audience Award, Best Documentary Short, IFFBoston



  • Candace White, Executive Producer
  • Max Esposito, Director
  • Daisy Schmitt, Producer
  • Jamal Solomon, Director of Photography
  • P. Nick Curran, Editor
  • Kushal Dev, Associate Producer

Read the Knight Institute report—Covering Democracy: Protests, Police, and the Press, by Joel Simon—that inspired the film, here.