Guide to Reporting at the 2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions

The Citizen Media Law Project has released guides for covering the upcoming conventions.

Via Berkman Center:

As we mentioned already, the conventions are creatures of chaos. Thousands of journalists and even more demonstrators will descend upon these cities. These crowds are typically met with an overwhelming police presence, and the clashes between protesters and the police typically result in numerous arrests. Avoiding police detention as a journalist is often a challenge, as a large tangle of laws regulates crowd behavior, and police often enforce these complex laws with sweep arrests of whole crowds.

Many experienced journalists are not strangers to such tough situations, but the nature of the conventions as “national special security events” presents special concerns, especially around the norms journalists establish with local law enforcement. The Secret Service takes the lead during these national security events, and the normal journalist–police relationships that allow journalists to report from over police lines are likely to be jettisoned in favor of a strict enforcement of the law.

The guides cover issues such as:

  • Freedom of the Press in the Context of Convention Reporting
  • Covering Activity Around the Conventions including “Free Speech Zones” and the issues surrounding them
  • Laws Governing Public Assembly
  • Public Recording, Wiretapping, Privacy and the “Right to Record”
  • And, of course, a variety of issues surrounding Interactions with the Police.

PDFs are available here and come in a longform 60 page version, and a handy one sheet pocket guide.

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