Why one reporter is leaving Ferguson

Aug 29, 2014

What one journalist, and former KBIA reporter, witnessed other reporters do in Ferguson, Mo. led him to stop filing stories. Al Jazeera freelancer Ryan Schuessler wrote a personal blog post detailing the disrespectful actions he saw and why he decided to leave (for now). Missouri School of Journalism professors Earnest Perry, Mike McKean and Amy Simons discuss the issue.

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Al Jazeera freelancer, and former KBIA reporter Ryan Schuessler spent more than ten days covering the story as it unfolded in Ferguson. He wrote four stories which focused on the context of the Ferguson community that was missing from other reports.

Late last week, Schuessler posted a statement on his blog that said he would not be returning to Ferguson.  

The behavior and number of journalists there is so appalling, that I cannot in good conscience continue to be a part of the spectacle.

Missouri School of Journalism Professor Mike McKean said he was glad that Schuessler brought attention to the inappropriate behavior of some journalists.

If you look at senior journalists who have been around for a while, I think we're kind of inured to 'how the sausage is made' and we think we can divorce that from what we put out on the air or in publication and [Schuessler] didn't. And having a fresh perspective on some of the things that journalists do that people do notice is a good thing.

Professor Earnest Perry said problems with journalists behavior begin when they try to make themselves part of the story. 

We keep talking about it over and over again, and you see all of these live trucks and all of these cameras set up and networks going live with their morning shows and it becomes entertainment. This isn't entertainment, these people are living their daily lives in this and they are trying to create a voice that I think the rest of the neighborhood and the rest of the city needs to hear.