Police were called to WBAL on Thursday afternoon after a group of protesters, roughly half of whom were children, gathered in the station parking lot demanding that the Hearst-owned NBC-affiliate dedicate more time to covering youth-focused issues such as education and neighborhood development in the current mayoral election.
The protest was put together by BUILD, a Baltimore not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating a better future for the city’s youth, in an effort to convince local news outlets to spend less time covering the candidates’ plans for lowering property taxes and more time reporting on issues that directly affect the community’s young people.
“If young people were out shooting each other, they’d cover it,” declared BUILD leader Bishop Douglas I. Miles (above, right), surrounded by elementary school-aged children wearing bright blue t-shirts emblazoned with the organization’s logo, according to Baltimore Brew.
While the protesters chanted outside the WBAL building, staffers remained indoors.
Meanwhile, the crowd grew to include opportunistic mayoral candidate Otis Rolley, who emphasized his commitment to education, as well as a news crew from rival station WBFF.
WBAL officials defended the station’s response to the protest, as well as its coverage of the election.
“We cover the news,” Wanda Draper, WBAL’s director of programming and public affairs, told Baltimore Brew. “We can’t go out and say, no, actually these are the issues.”
(Baltimore Brew’s in-depth coverage of the protest is HERE).