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Watch out journalists: you’re fair game

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Watch out journalists: you’re fair game
Posted May 4, 2007

Alexandra Lozano
News Editor

May Day is a holiday that is traditionally celebrated worldwide. It celebrates the coming of spring in some countries and is similar to our Labor Day in others.

However, in California, particularly in Southern California, May Day is a day of marching for immigration rights.

Last May Day I was working at my relatively low-paying department store job where our customers usually consist of Hispanic women grabbing my arm asking “Habla Español?”

I noticed the store was dramatically empty, even for a Monday.

Immigrants and supporters of immigrants chose to take a stand on May Day by refusing to buy anything, go to school or to work. Instead they walked the streets of Los Angeles in protest for immigration reform.

This year I watched the May Day rally on television and there were the usual interviews of the Hispanic non-English speaking people who only answer the reporter’s questions in “yes” or “no” format.

Then there was also the interviews with people, holding both their nation’s flag and the American flag, exclaiming how much they love America, but in the same instance still hold on to a piece of their own culture.

But then there was a strange turn of events and the rally ended in the most bizarre way.

What started with a few bad apples protesting in the street and throwing rocks and bottles at police officers turned into mayhem against those protesting peacefully and the media recording the events.

Christina Gonzalez was at the protest reporting the story when a baton wielding police office struck her cameraperson.

Since when is it okay for the media, who are covering an event and are in no way affiliated with the event, to be roughed up by police?

After viewing the video several times, its obvious that Gonzalez was not in the way of the police officers. There was no one throwing rocks or resisting orders anywhere near Gonzalez.

She said on “Good Day L.A.” that she has covered many events before where the police got involved and they just walk around the media.

At the end of the day, one reporter and three camera operators were taken to the hospital.

This is ridiculous. The reporters were obviously reporters; they held microphones and video cameras, they were not part of the disgruntled public.

As reporters, it is our job to go out and report the story, no matter what it takes. Had Gonzalez been in the middle of a confrontation between an “anarchist” and an officer then maybe the situation would be different – maybe.

There is no excuse for a police officer to use excessive force on a member of the media under any circumstances. We are out there doing our jobs just as the police are out there doing theirs.

What happened at this May Day rally is completely wrong.

There should be a thorough investigation of what occurred Tuesday because there is no reason for the police to attack a member of the media.

We are supposed to be reporting the news, not be a part of it.

But when the L.A.P.D. thinks it can use this kind of force on someone who isn’t protesting and isn’t causing harm, something has to be changed and someone has to be punished.

Finishing up my junior year as a journalism major I can’t help but wonder what lies ahead for me as a journalist.

Alexandra Lozano, a junior journalism major, is news editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at