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2003-01-14

Activists Train Journalists How to Cover Anti-War Protests

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This coming Saturday, tens of thousands of people are expected to protest inWashington D.C. against war.

The last time this happened, on Oct. 26, media outlets such as The New York Times and NPR came under heavy fire for their inaccurate coverage of the protest. While the Washington Post and even the Washington D.C. police estimated the turnout at between one hundred and two hundred thousand people, the Times put the turnout in the "thousands" and NPR reported "fewer than ten thousand." Both outlets claimed that fewer people attended than organizers had predicted.

After an unknown number of complaints, both outlets changed their stories. The Times ran a new, full-length story on the protest, putting the turnout between one hundred and two hundred thousand, and reporting the turnout startled even organizers. Democracy Now! also learned that the editors at the Times pulled the reporter covering the story away from the protests early in the morning, before the number swelled, and told her to write about the Washington, D.C.-area sniper instead.

As the Pentagon trains journalists on how to report on war, we thought we’d invite activists to train journalists on how to cover a peace movement.

Joining us in our studio is long-time activist and media trainer Ann Northrop and Rachel Coen, media analyst at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

Guests:

  • Ann Northrop, Act-Up activist and media educator. She formerly worked at CBS and ABC.
  • Rachel Coen, media analyst with Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting

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