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INBA Reaction to Missouri Situation

  The Illinois News Broadcasters Association joins other journalism organizations in commending photographer Tim Tai for his conduct on the University of Missouri campus.  As many of us have seen in viral videos today, Tai stood his ground and articulately stated his right to be on the quad to take pictures of a tent city and a student protest there.
   Commendations also are due to videographer Mark Schierbecker, who kept his camera rolling during Tai’s interactions and for several minutes after, as protestors continued to keep him from the tent city.
  It is very troubling that University of Missouri faculty member Melissa Click told Schierbecker to leave the area, and even called for “muscle” to remove him.  She continued to encourage students to block his shots and to hold their perimeter.  This is unacceptable for any faculty member, but especially for one who studies media. 
  And it is also unacceptable that a staff member whose job involves promoting leadership chose to lead students against a journalist (Tai). Janna Basler is the blond-haired woman in sunglasses who is seen confronting Tai for several minutes, and inciting students to chant and then march against him. Basler is assistant director of Greek Life and Leadership at the University of Missouri.
  At a school that has long been nationally renowned for its journalism program, it’s disappointing that members of the campus community would not have a better grasp of basic First Amendment rights, and a respect for journalists doing their jobs. 


Ken.Kosek's picture

Loyola students who protested Thursday afternoon in a show of solidarity with the University of Missouri, also imitated controversial techniques Missouri protesters used that limited access to the local media they invited.

The Black Tribune, a publication run by Loyola students, published a call to action organizing dozens of universities across the nation and informed Chicago news outlets that Loyola would be one the schools holding protests to support campus inclusion for minority students.

Several hundred people, some wearing Missouri apparel, gathered outside the Klarchek Information Commons on Loyola University's Rogers Park campus for a rally where students spoke about negative experiences on campus while others held signs expressing their frustration.

"I have a few friends who go to Mizzou and heard that we were not only standing in solidarity with Mizzou but have to address the issues of racism that we feel the university is covering up," said Heather Afriyie, a senior sociology major. "We decided to come together to stand in solidarity and understand what it means to be a minority on campus."

Organizers led students in a brief march around campus in which they chanted "Not just Mizzou, it's Loyola too!" before stopping at Halas Field, where they locked hands and members of The Black Tribune asked media members, not including their own publication, to stand outside the perimeter.

"Hey, no media in the circle," Ryan Sorrell, chief editor of The Black Tribune, said holding his hand up to a cameraman. "Sorry, man. You're good, but just not in the circle."

Students then tightened the circle and yelled out "Lock arms!"

The move comes days after a viral YouTube video surfaced showing a confrontation between Tim Tai, a freelance journalist and Missouri student, and protesters who restricted media access to a protest site on the University of Missouri quad. In the video, Melissa Click, a communications professor, was calling for "muscle" to remove another journalist.

University Greek Life Director Janna Basler was placed on administrative leave Wednesday, and Click resigned from a role in the journalism school.

Despite the fallout in Missouri, Dominick Hall, a Loyola student and member of The Black Tribune, said: "We decided to do the same thing here ... to emphasize this is a safe space for students — not media."


Ken.Kosek's picture

Loyola story attributed to the Chicago Tribune.