Flashpoint: Protests, Policing, and the Press

Flashpoint: Protests, Policing, and the Press

Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Center for Media & Design Auditorium, Santa Monica College, 1660 Stewart Street Santa Monica, CA 90404

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.

The evening will kick off with a screening of the Knight Institute's short documentary film, “Flashpoint: Protests, Policing, and the Press.” The film 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 role of the press, and the hardening of attitudes among the police towards journalists. 

The screening will be followed by a panel conversation that dives into Covering Democracy: Protests, Police, and the Press, a Knight Institute report written by Joel Simon—2022-2023 Knight Institute senior visiting fellow and founding director of the Journalism Protection Initiative at the Newmark J-School. The report chronicles the history of hostility between the press and the police from the Civil Rights era to the present. It offers specific recommendations, prepared by the Knight Institute, on how to protect press freedom and the right to record at future protests.

A Q & A will round out the evening. 

The event is co-sponsored by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, Santa Monica College, the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. 

Doors open at 5:30 pm. 


Covering Democracy: Protests, Police, and the Press



  • Center for Media & Design Auditorium, Santa Monica College

    1660 Stewart Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404

    Opening Remarks

    Jameel Jaffer, Executive Director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University


    Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, Incoming President of the Society of Professional Journalists 

    Ben Camacho, Documentary Photographer and Journalist 

    Kate Cagle, Reporter and Anchor for Spectrum News 1

    Joel Simon, Founding Director of the Journalism Protection Initiative at Newmark J-School

    Jeff Glasser, General Counsel at the Los Angeles Times


    jarrett hill, President of the National Association of Black Journalists of Los Angeles