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DeBlog: Covering OccupyMN

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS) Jason DeRusha
Jason DeRusha filed his first report for WCCO-TV on April Fool's D...
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We’ve been covering the OccupyMN “occupation” for 10 days now. But viewers are starting to question: What’s the point?

Of course there’s a large chunk of our viewers who wonder — what’s the point of the protest itself? Generally speaking, the crowds in front of the Government Center in Minneapolis have been relatively small. They’ve tried to get arrested repeatedly, and they’ve failed. The main issue over the past couple days seems to be tents: they were told they can’t have tents, they brought in tents, the tents were confiscated.

People: if you’re focused on tents in the Government Plaza, you’re focused on the wrong issue.

Gail Duncan of Maple Grove emailed and raised an interesting issue: “I notice the media is emphasizing coverage of occupy wallstreet on the security issues and keeping the protesters compliant with the law rather than why this organization had to be created in the first place. Where was this intense media coverage for security of American home values, jobs and retirement funds when the Wall Street financiers were selling the future of our children and grandchildren down the tubes?”

Reg Chapman and I were talking in the newsroom last night about how the coverage of the protest itself probably should stop fairly soon. Frankly, the fact that crowds haven’t really mushroomed tells us something about Minnesotans. Perhaps we’re not really the protesting type; perhaps this crowd of protestors doesn’t resonate with the middle class working people who are upset about Wall Street, mortgages, bank fees, etc; perhaps it’s getting cold.

But the bigger issue is that the crowd is smallish, and there just isn’t news happening.

And in fact, that’s where I’m inspired by Gail’s email. Because we stop covering the protests or protestors doesn’t mean we stop covering the issue that motivated the original Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City.

What are the economic questions you want answered? What kind of coverage would tap into the anger about the economy without just showing this small group in Minneapolis. This group is a symbol of what’s happening, but its small size doesn’t really say anything to me about the desire for coverage of the economy.

If you want that kind of coverage, you need to make your voice heard.

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