Resource Lab: Reporting and Discussing Protest and Political Movements
Image from Unsplash
We’ve compiled some guidelines, resources and further reading to help you when reporting on or discussing protest and political movements, on-air and off-air.
If you’d like us to add anything to this compilation, or have any further questions – send them to [email protected].
This is a working document, and is continuing to be updated.
To be responsible media-makers, there are a few things we have to keep in mind when we’re reporting on and expressing our opinions about protest movements on-air or in our content. We want to make sure you’re all as informed as possible, so we’ve written some guidelines for you to keep in mind.
- Report news and updates
- Talk about your opinions and feelings (with the exception of violent protest – more detail on this below)
- Where appropriate, provide content warnings (before and after your segment)
- For Bla(c)k Lives Matter, please include content warnings for racial violence and police brutality
- Refer listeners/viewers to hotlines and resources
- Encourage donations to not-for-profit causes
- Please observe due diligence and research causes before you promote them to ensure they align with SYN’s values.
- Some causes we endorse are:
- If a cause is not listed here and you’re not sure you should promote it, email [email protected].
- Incite or encourage violence (more detail on this below)
- Defame anyone or any organisations – refer to SYN’s Induction Manual for a refresher
- Encourage sales or donations to for-profit organisations
On the subject of violent protest, rioting and looting:
As a community broadcaster, we must not incite or encourage violence of any kind.
When talking about violent protests on air, we must engage in objective reporting only.
- Report on what is happening, e.g. “Protests have erupted across the U.S., some of which have resulted in rioting and looting.”
- Give people details of when and where protests, rallies and vigils are occurring.
- Report factual information on the effects of rioting, looting, and violent protest.
- Report factual information on the history of rioting, looting, and violent protest.
- “I think people should be rioting and looting” or “We should be engaging in violent protest”
- “Get down to the protest this weekend and help me punch some cops”
- “I think people should stop rioting and looting” or “I think people should only protest peacefully” (This is not objective!)
- This is an article from YP about journalistic objectivity from the 2019 Hong Kong protests.
- This is a comprehensive ‘how to be an ally’ guide from Mina McMahon (AUS).
- Media Diversity Australia have created this Handbook and Quick Guide for reporting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s issues.
- The Media and Entertertainment & Arts Alliance have this reader on handling extremist views and hate speech in media.
- This is an article from The Conversation on the importance of unbiased reporting.
- First Nations Media Australia have this advice for reporting on trauma
- Language matters in our reporting, and this TikTok tells us why:
@rynnstarReply to @19_bravenew_84 ##greenscreensticker ##greenscreenvideo♬ original sound – rynnstar
Reporting on the ground:
- Here’s an article from Poynter on staying safe while reporting on the scene.
- This is a safety guide from OSCE about reporting on the scene.
- The Ground Truth Project gives these tips for reporting on a protest:
1. Do your homework before you go.
2. Give context to protestors’ opinions.
3. Stay professional.
4. Keep safe.
5. Talk to the right people at the right time.
Work to learn from:
- Ngaarda Media is a community broadcaster based in the Pilbara. Read through their work for an example of great reporting on Indigenous issues.
- Find more Indigenous Media from Indigenous X.
- Race Matters is a podcast from FBi Radio, for people trying to understand the value in their racial and cultural identity. Episode 59 reports on Bla(c)k Lives Matter protests in June 2020.
Realities to keep in mind:
- In this article from the ABC, journo Elias Clure talks about what it’s like to report on Black Lives Matter protests as a Black journalist in June 2020.
- This video from the New York Times shows journalists discussing what it’s like to report from Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S. in June 2020.