Aside from the general shock brought on by reports of yet another riot in the US with significant political and social connotations, I was particularly shocked by the accounts of violence directed towards journalists in the Baltimore riots. Has it come to this? Do police and perpetrators now consider journalists fair-game targets for violence? It would seem so in cases like this. And that's scary to think about, let alone see happening. We need the press to do its job, so we shouldn't beat the press for doing its job.
During any event that demands serious note and media coverage, journalists should be considered off limits so that they can record and share what needs to be experienced by those who aren't present to see and experience what is happening for themselves. This is the function of the journalist in our society, and while it hasn't always been carried with the best standards and resulted in a 100% success rate — especially today in a world overrun by many amateurs masquerading as journalists — it's a profession that nevertheless demands respect for its importance. The worlds needs to see what's happening in the world so it can assess what is happening respond act accordingly.
Case in point: without media coverage of the riots in Baltimore, how will the rest of the world know what is happening? Apparently, the invisible line of safety between journalists, rioters, and officials is now being run over, and we should pay attention to this when it happens and demand that the line is held. And if it isn't, those who are called to the journalistic profession are now facing a kind of risk in the work today that demands even more courage, integrity, and diligence than it did before.
It's a significant endeavour to discern who's right and who's wrong in happenings like the riot in Baltimore, but one things for certain: it'll be much more difficult to discern if we don't have media coverage because reporters are being swarmed and stomped into the pavement.