You may never have to do it, but it is a kind of experience that only an excellent pro reporter could deliver: How to cover a riot.
John Camp (Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist) gives us the essentials about shooting photos in this kind of high-tension, fast-action environment. The photographer (pro or amateur) does not want to be taken by surprise either by the activists or by the police forces. For this, he needs to follow a set of rules. Some may appear obvious, some may be important to learn:
- Always — ALWAYS! — know where the cops are and what they’re doing
- Don’t mess with riot cops during a riot.
- Always — ALWAYS! — know where the Little Assholes are.
- Very important. Learn to walk backwards.
- All riots have their own geography, or shape.
- Listen carefully.
- Dress right.
- Given a choice, at a riot, it’s better to be a reporter than a photographer.
In the words of John Camp: “Follow these simple media rules, and you probably won’t get hurt, and you’ll probably get the story. Best of all, you’ll also look like a pro.”