Covering Democracy: Protests, Police, and the Press
Dominic Bodden

Covering Democracy: Protests, Police, and the Press

Reception, Advance Film Screening, and Panel Discussion

Ford Foundation Center for Justice, 320 E. 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

Despite the promise of the First Amendment, the rights of journalists to cover protests have never been secure. 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 following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and spread throughout the nation.

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—chronicles the history of hostility between the press and the police from the Civil Rights era to the present day. It offers specific recommendations, prepared by the Knight Institute, on how to protect press freedom and the right to record at future protests.

The evening will kick off with an advance screening of the Knight Institute's soon-to-be-released short documentary film exploring the same issues, “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 evening is co-sponsored by the Knight Institute and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, along with the Freedom of the Press Foundation, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and PEN America.


Covering Democracy: Protests, Police, and the Press


  • Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice

    320 East 43rd Street New York, NY 10017

    Opening Remarks

    Graciela Mochkofsky, Dean of the Newmark J-School


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

    Katy Glenn Bass, Research Director at the Knight First Amendment Institute

    Cerise Castle, Journalist

    Mike Shum, Independent Filmmaker


    Wesley Lowery, Journalist-in-Residence at Newmark J-School