Things went from bad to worse for everyone this weekend, including journalists covering outbreaks of civil unrest all over the country. The stories of being maced or shot with non-lethal projectiles by police even after identifying themselves as press are becoming ubiquitous. They are also becoming a target for agitated crowds who could harness their anger toward the nearest camera at any second.
One such ugly scene played out last night in Birmingham, Alabama where ABC 33/40's Stephen Quinn and AL.com reporters Anna Beahm, Ivana Hrynkiw, photographer Dez Wilson and social media manager Madison Underwood were targeted by a group of protestors.
They first suckerpunched Quinn while he was speaking on the phone and stole his wallet.
Then they turned on Underwood, continuing to hit him while he was on the ground and taking his phone.
Both journalists indicated that they were largely okay, though a bit worse for the wear.
This trend of violence toward the media is, quite obviously, sickening. It's made even more tough to stomach knowing how many working in local markets are out there in dangerous situations providing crucial information against the backdrop of systematic downsizing and reduced compensation for years. We need to understand what is happening on the streets of America right now and the people tasked with covering it are doing at tremendous risk to themselves.
In short, everything is bad and even worse when you stop to think about it.