Without them, I would know even less
It seems like a month since I wrote about the epic battle of the leafblowers at the Portland protests. Hard to believe it's been less than a week.
More than 7,000 people read that post. Nothing else I've written on the new blog has come close.
In that piece, I sent a shout out to many of the local journalists who have been covering the protests on Twitter all summer. They are fearless, thorough, and indefatigable. In a one-newspaper town where the TV people go to bed just as the protests start to get interesting, the information these folks pump out on Twitter is journalism in its finest form.
They are smart cookies. They know where and when things are going to happen. They know what's worth capturing on video or in words, and what isn't. In fact, they're so good that the federal paramilitary inside the courthouse was recently seen monitoring all of their live feeds on a screen that aggregated them.
This puts the journalists in an awkward position. They surely don't want to jeopardize protesters by serving as a monitor for the shock troops. But if they turn off their cameras completely, the troops can get away with atrocious conduct. So they're selective in what they show live, saving some footage for delayed posting.
These tweeters are invaluable. Without them, I wouldn't know much about what really happens at the protests. Now I feel like I've been there.
What's their reward for doing all that? Not much money, that's for sure. Instead, they get gassed, shot with "less lethal" munitions, and even arrested now and then.
One of the Portland freelancers (or maybe it's a small group of them) has an interesting article up here. In it, they give you some sense of what it's like to be out there, showing the scene to the world. My hat is off to whoever the author is, and to all the rest who have been covering the Portland dissidents over the past two months.