How to report more meaningful stories about Occupy Wall Street protests

In a recent column, Reuter's Jack Shafer said he's long thought that demonstrations are over-covered and that Occupy Wall Street stories are "clotting the news."

Columbia University's Todd Gitlin also criticized the coverage, saying that (with some exceptions), the media have focused on the outcasts, framed the movement as a crime story and deferred to authorities while doubting the legitimacy of the protesters.

Occupy Wall Street is difficult to cover, in part because there's not a leading organizer who can talk authoritatively about the movement. So, how do you overcome this challenge and cover the protests in a way that will add meaning to the news cycle rather than clotting it? And what should you keep in mind while you're covering social movements?

Shafer and Gitlin addressed these questions and shared related thoughts in a live chat today. You can read what they had to say here:

  • Mallary Jean Tenore

    As managing editor of The Poynter Institute’s website,, I report on the media news industry, edit the site’s How To section, and moderate the site's live chats. I also help handle the site's social media efforts, and teach social media sessions on the side.


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