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Public Affairs

When your press pass is a target

Tony Webster/Flickr

Journalist Georgia Fort was maced and shot with a rubber bullet last week.

And she counts herself lucky she escaped with only a bruise.

First AmendmentCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Despite the First Amendment to the Constitution, and a restraining order issued last Friday,  the Department of Public Safety and Minnesota State Patrol officers were still engaging in “widespread intimidation, violence and other misconduct directed at journalists.”  (You can read the letter sent to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz here.)

Journalist Georgia Fort reporting from the Mother's March last July

Georgia Fort heads a team of independent BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) journalists producing stories for Racial Reckoning: The Arc of Justice project. It airs around 8:50am, right after National Native News on KUMD. Created in collaboration with AMPERS, an organization of which KUMD is a part, the initiative covers "the trials of the former Minneapolis police officers charged with the murder of George Floyd, the community’s response, and the changes needed to create a more just society."

But the treatment of the news media by law enforcement is just the tip of the iceberg. Fort says we're living in turbulent times and communities are also looking at how their news media is working in the larger context of the system.  Media reform is needed, she says, as journalists struggle to find balance "between fair and human."

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