Hi internet: The host of MobLogic went to cover a protest of police action in the shooting of Sean Bell. Bell was the (black) man who was killed when plainclothes NYPD officers opened fire on him and two friends. Bell was to be married later that day.
So MobLogic went to the protest, where organizers had contacted the police to let them know what was going down, and then chanted and waved placards in the area designated for protest by the cops. Continuing with the weird efficiency and orderliness of the whole thing, there were clipboards going around for people to sign if they were going to get arrested. MobLogic's host Lindsay Campbell decided to sign the sheet and join the queue for the paddy wagons.
"If I experience something and tell my friends about it," she said, "I tell them everything: what happened and how I felt about it. Why then as a journalist am I expected to give you the facts without sharing what I think about them?
"So why did I get arrested. One, because I didn't want to get out of line and move to the outside of the fence. I wanted to be where the action was. And two, because I think what happened was wrong. I'd like the governor of New York to appoint a special prosecutor to deal with police brutality cases."
Now, I'm all for standing up for what you believe in (or lining up, if that's your thing), but there's something weird about Campbell criticizing "greedy journalists." Look at the result of her brave sojourn in prison: a weak piece about a protest where she gets such insight as "we're going to make a statement," doesn't bother talking to any of the people who the protesters wanted to influence, and a hearty endorsement of Al Sharpton's criticism of opportunistic media. Because, you know, Al Sharpton isn't an opportunist when it comes to the media.
Participatory journalism isn't new and it's been really well done time and again. This would have been less ridiculous if Campbell hadn't gotten up on a high horse at the end, or had actually told the story of other people who decided to get arrested. Because we already sorta know why she did it. And the memory of Sean Bell is better served by good journalism about what happened than by stunt journalism about a reporter.