On Thursday September 25th, I sat in on a live stream broadcast of the Online News Association’s (ONA) conference and awards banquet held at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. The event, lasting from the 25th to the 27th, was opened by a keynote titled “All Eyes on Ferguson, MO.” The session featured Michel Martin of National Public Radio (NPR) as the moderator, asking the five speakers to recall their unique experiences from the hectic chaos that occurred just a short month and a half ago in the St. Louis suburb. The speakers were, in no particular order, David Carson, Trymaine Lee, Wesley Lowery, Mariah Stewart and Claire Ward.
For a majority of the reporters, social media and local reporting is what brought their attention to Ferguson. Lowery, a Washington Post political correspondent, cited the journalistic work of News One reporter Brittany Noble as his attention-getter. Carson, a staff photographer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, highlighted that he believed local coverage of the events is what drew national media to the suburb of Ferguson. It was noted that because of the rioting and damage around the area, power and cable went out for many residents. These residents were able to keep up with and stay aware through social media coverage from various sources. Ward stated that her coverage for VICE News received this kind of attention.
Overall, I enjoyed the concept of the keynote and getting the perspectives of various journalists. Hearing from national and local reporters and photographers gave a unique inside look from different newsrooms.