The National Post ran a report on Monday that a young woman who they call a reporter had some piss thrown on her (http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/activist-pours-bottle-of-urine-on-rebel-reporter-during-anti-fascist-in-vancouver). I disagree with throwing piss on anybody, and I probably disagree with everything the “second year student studying political sciences at the University of the Fraser Valley” (http://www.therebel.media/laurensouthern) believies in. I am, however, more interested in how the NP defines “reporter” in this case.
To my mind a reporter is somebody who documents an event and then transmites the facts, as best they can be recalled, to an audience. In this case the NP says Southern “argued on Friday against the notion that there is a ‘rape culture’ among Canadian men, and against the idea there are more than two genders”.
A reporter does not make an arguement when covering a protest. Southern is not reporting on the event, she is engaging in a heated dialouge with the protesters. She did not get what she deserved,as some Tweeters may have argued, but she is not reporting – she is provoking. I know this because the National Post story includes a video of the so-called report. In it Southern, like the twenty year old drunk on attention that she is, stands on a wet street in downtown Vancouver proclaiming “sorry guys there is only two genders: female and male”. We are then treated to a Southern arguing for ten minutes or so with some other people scarcely removed from the hallways of high school about the meaning of gender.
This argument could have taken place in a Social Studies classroom, under the supervision of a teacher, but instead it was allowed to spiral out of control and somebody planned the piss attack. Silly children.
I do agree with Jessie Brown when he argues that there should be no gatekeepers in journalism, that anyone should be allowed to practice it. With that being said one can still say reporting is different than going out onto the street with a camera and arguing with people. If Southern didn’t have the backing of the The Rebel, an organization that has the sympathy of the mainstream Canadian media of late based upon the actions of the Notley government, and she was an overweight middle aged white man going out onto the street and making similar arguments the headline in the Post would have been much different.
Can we not agree that a person who argues with protesters for ten minutes is not reporting, but that they are protesting? And that as a protester you expose yourself to different risks than you do as a reporter? If Southern had merely asked the protesters why they are protesting and delved into that a little deeper would she have had piss thrown at her?
Again,there has to be a difference between reporting and protesting. Southern should have gathered the facts, filed a report and then written an opinion piece. That would have been journalism. Arguing on the street for ten minutes with those she disagrees with is confrontational. It is not reporting.