Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Walking Contradictions?

Occupy protestors kept true to their May Day plans yesterday by occupying New York and other large cities across the United States. Protestors in New York took to Bryant Park, despite rainy weather, to protest against "the inequalities of wealth".

Jo Daniels, a recent UCSD graduate, was a witness to the "occupation" of Bryant Park. He was early for his interview yesterday, and while waiting outside he noticed dozens of people in protest, yelling and holding picket signs as they marched in front of him. He claims that some of the protestors took his picture in front of the building, possibly to depict him as "the 1%" since he was wearing a suit. Ironically, he is far from this feat, as he is in the process of finding a job and building a new life in New York after recently graduating UCSD this past winter quarter.

Jo Daniels took this photo via Instagram to capture the May Day chaos.

As the protestors passed by him, Daniels noticed that a few of them were holding iPods and iPhones, many wore brand-name clothing, and some were smoking Marlboros. He claimed that if the protestors wanted this movement taken seriously, "maybe they shouldn't be buying products from the same corporations they oppose". He called them "walking contradictions", thus believing the movement has lost its credibility.

Boycotting shopping for May Day was actually one of the pleas asked by the Occupy Movement. It was reported that the movement exclaimed "no work, no school, no banking and no shopping" to send a message to the corporations. Unfortunately, although the protestors may not have shopped that day, in a sense the damage was already done. 

Further reports indicate that the protests in New York and in other cities did not have the results the protestors intended. Some reports claim the weather played the role... But maybe it comes down to the Occupy movement lacking specific objectives to achieve their goal, defined by OccupyWallSt.Org as,  "fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process". 

There is an apparent stratification among our economy that many U.S. citizens are unhappy with. However, comprehensive objectives must be established by the Occupy Movement in order for U.S. citizens to understand what they need to do to fight back with democratic power. Taking photographs of passerbys wearing suits and boasting for change while representing corporations at the same time is not a good start - and this movement officially began last year.

But is taking objective photographs of the scene also sending an unclear message? Nothing in the photograph above questions the movement's power against corporations or its validity overall. However, there is a Occupy Wall Street feed on Instagram to show the movement's progress. If the movement has failed in its mission, how will others not present for the demonstration know? How much time will be wasted if people are moved on false hope by looking at pictures that claim feigned success?

These questions are significant when we choose our news sources. It is important to note the validity of the information that is being presented. Or at least look at photographs connected to articles that better describe the situation presented.


  1. Daniels is a great source, and it is fortunate that you have access to his Instagram photos of the event. You do a good job linking to other sources as well. In speaking to an audience of fellow digital journalism students (and those in the public who might be interested in our shared conversation), you might want to emphasize a stronger storyline that is more directly relevant to digital newsgathering. For example, what can you say about how Instagram captures the Occupy movement? You already make some interesting observations about how branded mobile devices in the crowd provide distraction as well as record events. This could be an interesting counterargument to those who champion citizen journalism very idealistically.

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