Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism

Covering Police in Times of Crisis

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December 5 - December 8, 2001
University of Southern California/Annenberg School for Communication

"Covering Police in Times of Crisis" was a response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Now, more than ever, it is crucial for journalists to understand the dynamics of covering law enforcement today as the need for domestic security threatens to collide with civil liberties throughout the United States. Twenty-five reporters and editors from across the country who cover law enforcement, crime and public safety were awarded fellowships. Fellows spent the first day of this three-day seminar with police chiefs Bernard Parks (Los Angeles), Tom Streicher (Cincinnati), and Gil Kerlikowske (Seattle) along with Janet Clayton, editorial page editor of the Los Angeles (CA) Times, Ward Bushee, editor of the Cincinnati (OH) Enquirer and Ken Bunting, executive editor of the Seattle (WA) Post-Intelligencer. This panel focused on the lessons learned in media-police relations when each city experienced its own special crisis in recent years, ranging from the race riots in Cincinnati to the civil protests of the WTO in Seattle to the ongoing issues of corruption and police abuse in Los Angeles. The rest of the three-day seminar explored police-community relations; tools of policing and their sociological implications; civil liberties versus domestic security; oversight of the police; and a case study on the changes of the Los Angeles Police Department and concluded with a roundtable discussion of how some reporters have cracked the blue wall.



What fellows have to say about past seminars:
"I learned a lot and feel I come away with a lot of resources. I'm extremely grateful for this time to think about issues that directly relate to my beat and my future aspirations in it."
- Tanya Weinberg, Florida Sun-Sentinel
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Funded by the John S. and
James L. Knight Foundation