St. Louis journalists to talk about covering Ferguson

Cassie Buchman, City Editor

The staff of the St. Louis American will discuss their coverage of protests and controversies in Ferguson at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the Charleston-Mattoon Room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

The St. Louis American is a newspaper based in Missouri. According to its website, the newspaper has been “continuously published, without missing a single issue, for 84 years” and has “emerged as the leading, most-trusted voice of the area’s African-American community.”

The newspaper has numerous awards, including being Named the “Nation’s #1 African American Newspaper.”

The staff coming to speak will consist of Chris King, the editor, Wiley Price, a photographer, and Kenya Vaughn, a reporter.

Sally Renaud, the chairwoman of the journalism department, said the department tried getting them to speak last semester, but they were too busy.

“They’ve been on our radar ever since,” she said.

The department did have two alumni come to talk about their coverage of the Ferguson protests, including St. Louis Post-Dispatch designer Evan Hill.

Renaud said cases like Ferguson are why people are studying journalism.

“This is the kind of story (journalists) want to cover,” she said. “They want to be the ones to do this story. When a big story like this breaks, this is when journalists do their best work.”

She said after the protests started in Ferguson, the national media descended on Ferguson, making people come to all kinds of conclusions about what happened.

For the reporters and photographers of the St. Louis American, they have known about the unrest and tension in Ferguson for a while, she said.

“I am interested to hear their perspective,” Renaud said. “Readers are invested in action.”

Renaud said since the journalists have both been in St. Louis and Ferguson, they may feel a special ownership to what happened.

“It is their story, unlike reporters who move in, Ferguson is their town,” she said.

She said because many students at Eastern are from the St. Louis and Ferguson area, there are many investments in the story the panelists will tell.

She also said it would be interesting getting different perspectives from photographers and reporters.

The journalists speaking at the panel will also be speaking to journalism classes throughout the day.

“We genuinely appreciate their time,” Renaud said.

As of press time, the panel discussion was still scheduled to run as normal, but the sponsors of the panel have been monitoring the weather.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].