Editors and producers should plan ahead for the day when police will arrest one of their reporters while covering a story. That’s one of the suggestions offered by the Poynter Institute in this how-to article. On Jan. 28, Oakland police arrested six reporters covering an Occupy protest. It didn’t matter to police that the reporters had credentials. Poynter interviewed Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, who offered these suggestions:
- • Newsrooms should develop a protocol for handling an arrest beforehand.
- • Have an editor or producer standing by when reporters are covering stories that could lead to their arrest.
- • This sounds like a no-brainer, but reporters should wear their press credentials and company identification badge while working.
- • Reporters should carry cash, an editor’s contact information and the number of the Reporters Committee 24-hour legal hotline (1-800-336-4243).
- • Stay calm during an arrest and keep reporting. Fighting an officer is a losing battle.
- • Reporters should ask for a supervisor or PIO when they get to the jail to explain that they are working journalists.
The Poynter article also offers tips to freelancers.