After a String of Media-Related Violence in Oakland, Stations Consider Private Security for Crews

By Merrill Knox Comment

Last week, a KPIX photographer was beaten and robbed of his camera while reporting from Oakland, the eighth violent incident involving a member of the media since April. The San Francisco Chronicle reports some stations are now taking precautions to protect crews in the field:

Several stations used private security after being harassed and attacked during Occupy demonstrations late last year in downtown Oakland. Ed Chapuis, news director at KTVU, said guards are now hired on a case-by-case basis, depending on the situation and whether a crew requests one.

Tracey Watkowski, vice president of news for KGO-TV, said her station is looking at private security and “evaluating it as an option.”

One reporter at a Bay Area television station, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said some videographers are refusing to do stories in Oakland. “It’s scary, there’s no doubt about it,” she said. “But we’re not going to stop covering news in Oakland.”

Another television reporter, who also declined to be identified, said, “I think it’d be fair to say it has rattled even some of the veteran staffers, to know there was an attack in front of a school at noon. It made the resolve to cover Oakland stronger, but the resolve to protect ourselves even stronger than that.”