Monday, October 10

Covering the Occupation

The CBS camera-man filming and interviewing protestors at Occupy Wall Street last Wednesday declined answering questions three different ways, “I could get myself in trouble,” “I’m not trying to blow you off,” and “I can’t really comment.” When approached, five members of the CNN news crew sitting in a parked truck on the south side of Zucotti Park shook their heads and said, “We’re not allowed to.”
Gary Anthony Ramsay, the reporter of a two-man team and carrying a microphone with the words PRESS TV on it, was willing to speak candidly after interviewing Mark Bray, a volunteer media spokesman for the movement.
Ramsay, a former NY1 reporter, was dismissed from the network in 2007 after working 15 years there. The reason for his dismissal was calling Jon Schiumo’s evening call-in show under an alias and criticizing the host’s statements regarding Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York police commissioner. He is now head of Great Pitch Media, a communications and media company he founded.
When asked for his opinion on Occupy Wall Street, Ramsay said he is “surprised at the resiliency” of the protests and that it is different from similar groups that assemble every few years and then go away. He had been at the park everyday for the past two weeks at the time of this interview. “I can say I was there,” Ramsay said, after comparing being at Zucotti to reporters being present at Tahrir Square.
On this particular day, Ramsay is talking to people who consist of the park’s own media, the people who handle the flyers, newspaper and online media.  stated that “rather than continue asking [the protestors] what they want,” he asks them to “reflect what’s going here.” Gesturing behind him to the crowded park, he talks about how it has “turned into a city” and that “everyone has something to say that’s enough to be a story.” Faced with the large variety of protestors the occupation has drawn, Ramsay’s tactic for finding good interviewees is “anyone who can put coherent thoughts together.”
When asked to comment on the news coverage of Occupy Wall Street, Ramsay speaks about the content, “It’s not like it didn’t happen. It’s not like there wasn’t a half dressed woman in burlesque.” He states that for the first two weeks of the occupation, protestors accused the media of ignoring them. Zucotti Park is filled with members of the press now.

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