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Pitt News Staffers Arrested While Covering G-20 Summit Protest

September 30, 2009

Two Pitt News staffers were arrested while covering a G-20 summit protest this past weekend, a Student Press Law Center report reveals.  According to the report, seven TPN staffers were either pepper-sprayed, tear-gassed or maced and two were taken into police custody on charges of disorderly conduct and failure to disperse.

SPLC executive director Frank LoMonte’s statement: “There’s a huge difference between participating in a riot and documenting a riot.  We can’t have journalists frightened to report on a disturbance for fear they will be rounded up and arrested. It will intimidate journalists into avoiding a conflict, which means we’ll all lose out on the coverage.”

According to a Pitt News update on the incident, the student journalists were apparently part of a larger contingent of innocent or accidental witnesses caught up in the hullabaloo, including some Pitt students who allegedly were simply strolling home or walking in the neighborhood in which they live.  Law enforcement is now considering how to handle those particular arrestees.  (Check out this excellent TPN editorial response, “Who says you can’t go home? Overzealous G-20 police.”)

Separately, one of the arrested staffers, photo editor Vaughn Wallace, laid out some of the final photo desk statistics related to the historic week-that-was for Pitt News photogs:

  • 36 separate assignments
  • 31.2 gigs of photos (for reference, the entire 2008-2009 football season photos were 19GB)
  • 9,948 individual photographs
  • 17 photo blog posts
  • 244 images running in those photo blog posts
  • 23,354 unique hits to the photo blog posts (as of 9/28 at 1AM)
  • 7 photographers tear/OC gassed
  • 2 photographers arrested
  • 1 photographer maced in the face
  • 3 photographers (2 current, 1 alumni) pictures featured in a New York Times gallery
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