By Aviva Okeson-Haberman

The Concerned Student 1950 Town Hall on Wednesday began with a request-for any journalists in attendance to leave the meeting. Local media outlets, including MUTV, obliged but one MU student journalist, Mark Schierbecker, chose to remain at the A.P. Green Chapel. Schierbecker filmed his interactions with the attendees of the Town Hall and uploaded the edited video to Youtube on Thursday.

While justifying his right to stay in the Chapel, Schierbecker said, “This was advertised on twitter as a public event… for only colored people.”

Schierbecker has previously been criticized for how he covered the Concerned Student 1950 movement.

At one point during the video, a person not shown on camera addresses Schierbecker saying, “This is a public space but all we ask is that you respect our privacy and not record or take pictures of us.”

Their request to have a safe space touches upon the larger question of how the press should cover topics impacting marginalized students.

In November of 2015, this issue played out in a video filmed by Schierbecker that has now gone viral. It depicted MU professor Melissa Click asking for some “muscle” to deal with a student journalist.

Flyers were later distributed by Concerned Student 1950 acknowledging the media’s first amendment right to be at the campsite and their “importance to tell our story and experiences at Mizzou to the word.” However, recent interactions between journalists and protestors show many protestors still distrust the media. On February 4, protestors planning to interrupt a UM System Curators’ meeting blocked a reporter’s camera in an effort to talk amongst themselves without journalists filming.

In a column for The Maneater published following the incident with Click, Nate Gatter urged reporters to respect the protestors’ wish for privacy. He quoted Cristina Mislán, an assistant professor of Journalism at MU, as saying, “We (minorities) don’t necessarily always trust mainstream media to tell our stories the way we think they should be told because the history shows us that, time and again, we’ve had narratives that have demonized us or made us into violent people. There are so many different stereotypes, and those stereotypes continue to be told (in the mainstream media). And we know those stereotypes because we live them.”

A column by Matthew Sanders, a city editor of the Columbia Daily Tribune, addressed this issue. “The protest leaders were loudly telling students, in front of reporters, not to speak to reporters. Reporters have an agenda and don’t care about their movement, they said… The protesters’ statements last week about reporters really are more applicable to the national journalists who on Monday descended on Columbia in a frenzy… I won’t say the national media don’t care about the Concerned Student 1950 movement. But I can say without a doubt that we in the local media do care. As journalists, we do our jobs without injecting our biases and opinions into the process. But our lack of advocating for the cause does not mean we don’t care.”

Following Wednesday’s Town Hall meeting, it is clear that questions raised months ago about how to cover Concerned Student 1950 are still being debated.

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