I will not be returning to Ferguson

I had been on the ground helping Al Jazeera America** cover the protests and unrest in Ferguson, Mo., since this all started last week. After what I saw last night, I will not be returning. The behavior and number of journalists there is so appalling, that I cannot in good conscience continue to be a part of the spectacle.

**A clarification edit: I am not a full-time employee of any Al Jazeera branch or network. I am a freelance journalist who contributes to several media platforms.

Things I’ve seen:

-Cameramen yelling at residents in public meetings for standing in way of their cameras

-Cameramen yelling at community leaders for stepping away from podium microphones to better talk to residents

-TV crews making small talk and laughing at the spot where Mike Brown was killed, as residents prayed, mourned

-A TV crew of a to-be-left-unnamed major cable network taking pieces out of a Ferguson business retaining wall to weigh down their tent

-Another major TV network renting out a gated parking lot for their one camera, not letting people in. Safely reporting the news on the other side of a tall fence.

-Journalists making the story about them

-National news correspondents glossing over the context and depth of this story, focusing instead on the sexy images of tear gas, rubber bullets, etc.

-One reporter who, last night, said he came to Ferguson as a “networking opportunity.” He later asked me to take a picture of him with Anderson Cooper. 

One anecdote that stands out: as the TV cameras were doing their live shots in front of the one burnt-out building in the three-block stretch of “Ground Zero,” around the corner was a community food/goods drive. I heard one resident say: “Where are the cameras? I’m going to go see if I can find some people to film this.”

Last night a frustrated resident confronted me when he saw my camera: “Yall are down here photographing US, but who gets paid?!” 

There are now hundreds of journalists from all over the world coming to Ferguson to film what has become a spectacle. I get the sense that many feel this is their career-maker. In the early days of all this, I was warmly greeted and approached by Ferguson residents. They were glad that journalists were there. The past two days, they do not even look at me and blatantly ignore me. I recognize that I am now just another journalist to them, and their frustration with us is clear. In the beginning there was a recognizable need for media presence, but this is the other extreme. They need time to work through this as a community, without the cameras.

We should all be ashamed, and I cannot do it anymore. I am thankful for my gracious editors who understand that.

**Addition: After being accused of not doing any work in Ferguson, and having never once contributed to the reporting coming out of there, I politely ask you to read what I have written: http://america.aljazeera.com/profiles/s/ryan-schuessler.html

294 Responses to “I will not be returning to Ferguson”
  1. Thanks for the all the reporting you have done, and for being one of the few journalists we can rely on for accurate information about what is taking place in Ferguson. It’s heartening to know that there still people with a conscience out there.

  2. dederants says:

    Reblogged this on From Slacker To Scribe and commented:
    Very true. The media has spun the tragedy in Ferguson into spectacle…

    • warriorgal says:

      Yes, the drive-by media has and will continue to brain wash the masses who watch them like useful idiots. But give me a break, this freelance reporter, who fuels the enemy is NO better. What joke. Hey dude, instead of being at Ferguson, why NOT find out WHO placed the SURRENDER FLAGS on the Brooklyn Bridge! The infiltration of America is from top down. The ONLY HOPE for America is DIVINE INTERVENTION through REPENTANCE. Can any of your contacts at Al-Jazerra tell you when the terrorists plan on attacking Americans again? Exactly.

  3. Henshaw says:

    Reblogged this on Daily Plunge and commented:
    In the past I have written about my disdain for sensationalism passed off as journalism. It reached its crescendo in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but has continued to get worse.

    That doesn’t mean there isn’t a story in Ferguson. It’s just not clear that many journalists are there to cover it.

  4. martingugino says:

    Did you post any video of that aspect?

  5. KTL says:

    Thank you for all the conscious reporting that you did do! Please come back and report on how we heal and become better as community!

  6. Chrystall says:

    Reblogged this on Dateline: Paradise and commented:
    This post captures so much of what is wrong in the world of journalism today.

  7. Farah says:

    Al Jazeera has done great work there, and your reporting at the beginning is some of the first looks we had at the overreaction and absurd militarization of the forces arrayed against the citizens of Ferguson. Thanks to you and your team for all that work.

    As to the vultures of the Three Initial Broadcast conglomerates; that they act like spoiled prima donnas who need a catering truck and a makeup team does not surprise me in the least. You know the situation has gone toes up-pear shaped when the Disaster Team celebrity reporters start doing camera cameos.

    They may be horrible, but you guys were awesome. Thanks for helping bring the focus to Ferguson when it all began.

    • SouthOhioGipper says:

      In my opinion, it is the citizens of Ferguson who are rebelling against legitimate white authority based on false rumors, innuendo, and cheap anecdotal evidence.

  8. smilyking1976 says:

    Nice reporting

  9. Andrea says:

    I am so thankful for this honest assessment of the situation and exposing the agenda of a lot of these media outlets. I have noticed myself when I compare the television reports to live tweets from local politicians and residents/protestors. I hope you change your mind, so we can have someone continue to report the “real” story…ex. community outreach programs, counseling, food drives, etc. Thank you.

  10. Thank you for this article. Now I wonder if those same journalist will read it?

  11. Maris says:

    I can only imagine how sad and frustrating this may be. I am, however, more concerned about what will happen when the story is no longer the “sexy” topic, the disaster-porn du jour. Please consider continuing to cover relief efforts like #OperationHelpOrHush, or the buses that organizers are putting together for the weekend from the North East.

  12. Joe McLean says:

    Ryan, I completely agree. My forehead is red from how many times I had to slap it.

    My boss had me stay in town this week because I was versatile and he wanted me on general assignment. After watching CNN and others, I was glad I stayed here. Journalists looked like that guy from ‘Die Hard.’ You know? The really annoying one who gets punched at the end?

    Anyway, I don’t know of anyone who did a better job of covering the real story than you. Great work, buddy.


  13. The media has become a source of “fifteen minute fame,” for some journalists and for others who claim to be “witnesses” and “experts,” and then the “send us your pictures and video” call-outs. It’s why I have a hard time trusting the media anymore. The epitome of this was the supposed embassy worker in Ukraine who said they witnessed the Malaysia Airlines jet being shot down, and then called the anchor a “dumb***” when she asked him to repeat the part about Howard Stern. Yep, even pranks get you noticed in the media nowadays. It’s too bad we can’t keep you where you are, because real reporting and not grandstanding are what we really need.

  14. Sahara says:

    I read a tweet from one guy a few nights ago this guy posted: “Tonight, mills of American will watch #Ferguson for entertainment. This is Rome, and the media make it worse. I was really struck by that, and this helps explain why. Thanks for posting.

  15. Molly Mehaffy says:

    returning to Fergusan to do a deeper story might be the better option. There’s a long social justice road ahead there (but not just there), and we all desperately need for it to be covered by people like you.

  16. luxxgirlshair says:

    Reblogged this on LGHBeauty and commented:
    Fully understand the decision. Godspeed.

  17. caribgamer says:

    Yeah mehson dem man there need to stop that mess. I live in the Caribbean and we here seeing all of that and thinking it must be extra hard on the family.

  18. Whatever you do, make sure it’s for the right reasons.

  19. Matt says:

    As another media member who was down there videoing and taking photographs – my photos of members of the community doing anything other than rioting were not accepted by the networks. When I took pictures of men standing shoulder to shoulder protecting stores that had been broken into, no one cared. When I got video of Antonio French pleading with a young man who wanted to fight the cops, and managed to talk him down and calm him down – no one is interested in that story. The networks want sexy photos of police with guns raised and people fighting each other.

    I left on Monday. The story of how police treat that community, and how they have subsequently treated people thereafter is one that should be told, but no one is listening to that story.

  20. Reblogged this on OnwardandUpward and commented:
    Honesty is the best policy

  21. Reblogged this on Margaret Wright and commented:
    A cogent example of journalistic ethics actualized. Also: Why good editors matter.

  22. maustinadam says:

    They’re not safe without the cameras. Find a way to stay and further document what you’re seeing. The pseudo journalists need a camera on them too.

  23. SilkyMay says:

    please… don’t leave… those people need you down there… but if you decide to leave… Thank you.. you are appreciated… KEEP YOUR HEAD UP!!!!!

  24. Reblogged this on Creating Journalists at Emmanuel College and commented:
    Lesson one for my new journalism students: You are not the story.
    Lesson two: When the rest of the media pack is going for the bright and shiny, look for what is NOT getting covered.
    Lesson three: We’re going to be talking quite a bit about Ferguson this semester — make sure you’re prepared.

  25. Thank you for caring and reporting , I hope you won’t stop. Keep leaning forward

  26. Deepak says:

    Nice reporting. We will mention this blog on SanDiegoVIPs

  27. Bryan V. says:

    Ryan, you should stay and keep reporting on the media’s bad behavior. If you see something happening that you believe is wrong, shine a line on it. That’s what journalists are supposed to do, isn’t it?

  28. Sahara says:

    Reblogged this on Creo Somnium and commented:
    For the past week or so, I have been doing something I don’t normally do: I have spent hours watching the twitter feed about #Ferguson. Like, a whole night. Vice News has been streaming every night, and I’ve been watching/listening to the protests, other people around and the police around the cameras. I was annoyed at myself for spending my time doing that instead of other things, but on Tuesday, after seeing this on the twitter feed, I felt really uncomfortable:
    “Tonight, millions of American will watch #Ferguson for entertainment. This is Rome, and the media make it worse.”
    Thanks to The Hunger Games and learning about the origin of the word, “Panem,” I caught the reference to Rome, and it was convicting. In a way, I think it’s good that media coverage was like this. The police department wasn’t giving any details about what happened and, at least at first, traditional news wasn’t paying much attention to it.
    However, it feels too much like I’m watching this for entertainment, and what the hell is wrong with me if I’m doing that? Am I just being pacified by panem et circunses? It really made me uncomfortable, for reasons I still don’t fully understand. The explanation is a little closer by reading this post today, written by a journalist who had been reporting out of Ferguson and is choosing to pull out.

  29. manilamac says:

    I’m watching and reading all this from afar…I’m a long-time US expat in Manila. I say with genuine sympathy (rather than gloating), that this is but another example of America’s Globalized chickens coming home to roost. The American police-state, in Ferguson at least, looks worse than the one here in the Philippines. We’re well known for our famous disasters…so well documented (for a few days) while people go gaga over international media stars who behave badly. All of the examples you enumerated are things I’ve seen here…and now it’s there. Though I’m hardly surprised, I’m truly sorry to hear (and see) that.

    It was my pleasure to work, once upon a time, with a fine news cameraman who was a genuine human being. You reminded me of him. The back of our van was bloodstained because, after riot dispersals–after the other crews had rushed on their way–he would insist on taking the most badly wounded to the hospital. Eventually, he just quit…gave up a bureau chief position to shoot documentaries. There were, he said, powerful statements to be made, even without hours of footage filled with explosions, bodies & blood. He was right.

  30. long experience, beginning with the nixon white house, ca. 1972, as a print reporter, teaches me this is the way photographers and camera crews roll. if you’re saying you’re ashamed of that, that’s okay. but it is the way they work, and it’s the way they change every news event they cover. arriving in afghanistan with an TV crew entourage, and then going “undercover” by dressing in a djellaba, is what made the great TV critic tom shales call TV news anchor dan rather “gunga dan”.

  31. all the reasons you give for leaving are the very reasons for your staying. we need reporters like you to give us the real story!!!

  32. Rachel says:

    Thank you for reporting this.

  33. sweet sue says:

    why don’t you be the one to get the stories that are not being told.. go to the church .. film the people bringing food water first aid ect.. I am sure there is a lot you can do

  34. jack says:

    Reblogged this on Jack's Public Things and commented:
    I don’t know what a journalist is. I used to. This doesn’t sound like it.

  35. CarolMaeWY says:

    Reblogged this on Home Sweet Home WY and commented:
    So sad. . .
    They need your respectful reporting.

  36. Monica RW says:

    Agreed. Thank you for saying it as a verified journalist. The people of Ferguson need to be LEFT ALONE and the local news or Missouri news resources left to cover the story.

    When I saw a group known as the “Dream Defenders” hocking T-Shirts with the words “Don’t Shoot” and THEIR logo (those words might have been the LAST WORDS of victim Michael Brown). I knew then the story as gotten away from Brown’s murder and onto self gratification/profit.

    Frankly, disgusting if you ask us. Either way, again, thanks for telling the truth. I figured this is what was happening in Ferguson.

    Our Soundcloud on this subject j.mp/Epi348FileCut20

  37. Mike says:

    Doesn’t running a story about why you won’t go back, and then listing all of the reasons why you are fed up with the journalists in Ferguson make the story all about you?

    Like the crowds and Ferguson, some people have a legitimate voice and some are just opportunistic vultures. Many of the journalists, yourself included, brought a serious issue to the attention of a wider populace. Other journalists are vultures. The opportunists see personal gain in the suffering of others. But I have to contend that if the good people leave, all that remains are the vultures.

    Too often our frustration with the situation overwhelms our sense of duty. I truly hope that the journalists in Ferguson who are there to do their job, to report the truth, hold their ground over the opportunistic vultures who are only there for all the wrong reasons. At the very least, I hope that journalists with a sense of professional integrity do not cede the ground to those without one.

  38. Judy says:

    How pathetic, that journalists could behave in such an obnoxious way. I have noticed that the only news content has neen the shots of the tear gas, but no important interviews or anything of signifigance. I believe that the journists have destroyed much of the purpose of this whole thing. Hopefully, the public will be made awRe of this.l

  39. I am angry that mainstream media has helped to shape the inaccurate narrative that there was widespread looting. I found sources using Twitter to be much more informed. If you didn’t watch the livestreams or follow certain journalists and activists directly, you didn’t get the story. And now too much of the country doesn’t understand. Still, I hope you will consider returning. People have to keep covering this and doing so with a conscience. Thanks for writing this.

  40. Kellee says:

    Thank you for your honesty! I wish you would stay – your honesty covering the story especially topics like the food drive, arrests are mostly people not from the St. Louis region and the clean up we are not seeing. That is what we need! Return for the sake of my region, the people I care about – let the hacks and shock jocks do what they will. The people will see clearly who the real journalists are! Without you the people of Ferguson maybe without a documented witness while so many other eyes are just capturing (exploiting) what increases ratings with or without objective truth.
    ~ an appreciative native of St. Louis

  41. A Citizen of STL says:

    Wow, I organized a LARGE collection in Fenton, MO, a southwest suburb and we collected 2 semi trailers worth of supplies and $4,000 in gift cards for food etc for the officers working this crisis. I called every major local news station and newspaper in St. Louis, I had volunteers both black and white standing side by side loading the trucks. When I called back to confirm that they would all be there to show the other side of the story, I was told that no one was coming to cover the story.

    • A. J. says:

      We’re you doing this to help the people of Ferguson or to get on TV? If the former, who cares if no one showed up? Maybe they didn’t think it was very newsworthy that you got two truckloads of supplies for officers who are getting paid to be there.

  42. Good for you for having a conscience and acting accordingly. Well done.

  43. DugganPubs says:

    The last sentence of your penultimate paragraph says it all. When the national TV cameras leave, the instigators will leave. Then the healing and the needed changes can begin.

  44. April K says:

    I was a journalism major in college until I saw just how political and cut-throat the field was. I wanted to write, but not like that. I now have a job writing proposals for a non-profit. The journalism program taught me so much, but leaving it behind was the best decision I ever made.

  45. Barbara in St. Louis MO. says:

    Thank you Ryan Schuessler

  46. Lisa Knspp says:

    Bless you for being here in STL early on and bless you for knowing when to go. Thank you. I’m not being snotty and I agree with everything you said. I don’t live in Ferguson but in St. Louis City. I was wondering what effect the media was having in the situation as I applaud you for being a man of integrity. God speed.

  47. Cleatus Bovine says:

    I … you made it about yourself with this post.

  48. Marc says:

    Some jounalist. You name no one. “Unnamed cable network” ,”A TV crew of a to-be-left-unnamed major cable network.” ” Another major TV network renting out a gated parking lot.” Great reporting and no pictures either. Take you butt home.

  49. Cyndy Green says:

    Hoards of media sometimes bring out the worst…you saw the bad but probably did not also acknowledge the many who did behave with decorum. Having done the job for decades I tell you the choices when faced with too much too often are to laugh or cry. Sometimes the laughter masks the trauma beneath.

    Oh – and helicopter network and national/international crews? They are there to get the story and get out. Kind of like you were with Al Jazeera. It is the locals who carry the long term burden of telling the story.

  50. robert says:

    Real journalist issue from Fergistan was the amount of iPhone journalists running around trying to make a name for themselves.

    • WhatTheHuh says:

      which begs the difference between reporters and journalists. every moron with an iphone can shoot video and pictures and publicise it. but journalists are–well, SHOULD be–different.

      i find that most of the people on here condemning him seem to be looking for quantity over quality. my hats off to those like ryan who work hard to get us pertinent info without fanning the flames for a little publicity, or making a mockery of the story for their own gain.

  51. James S. says:

    Reblogged this on In Declaration… and commented:
    As a resident of St. Louis, I have followed the story about Ferguson from several media outlets. No one did a better job than Ryan at getting into the story and passed the hype and was also willing to show the other side of it all that the media was missing. I do agree with him that it is time for the sensationalism of it all to end so that the community can heal and find a path forward.

  52. Niki Minaj says:

    Yea…. You must be a rookie.

  53. Adam Davis says:

    Your absence will be no great loss. You appear to have little experience of war zones, and very low tolerance for what it’s really like. Thanks for the aid and comfort you provide to all who already know what to think, and seek out the sources that confirm that. You have a big future with Fox News.

    • JayTrip227 says:

      Adam, this journalist has integrity. Shut up.

    • Michael Pontus says:


    • Vlodge says:

      Somebody’s defensive.

    • Arrow Smith says:

      Adam ant you do not have a future you are all mouth.

    • Mike says:

      You’re a f*cking idiot. A kid is dead and one reporter has enough integrity to not use the circus that has been made around the boys death as a stepping stone, and you critique him? Go whoop it up to some Jerry Springer if you liked contrived garbage.

    • Matt says:

      He is the antithesis of Fox news, you mongoloid. Wake the fuck up and read what he wrote again. He didn’t come for fame or sensationalistic journalism.

      • Sugar E says:

        Hello, calling someone mongoloid to be insulting makes *you* look like a racist, ableist, Matt. Here is what the Global Down Foundation says about it: http://www.globaldownsyndrome.org/about-down-syndrome/words-can-hurt/

      • Anneotate says:

        Whoa. No need to use mongoloid as a disparaging term. I’m certain you can be more creative than that.

      • Hey, Sugar Eyes. The word Mongoloid did not originally refer to people with Down Syndrome.
        The Global Down Foundation existed AFTER the word came about.
        Here is what the word means, without the need to cry about disabled people.
        Adjective – of or relating to the broad division of humankind including the indigenous peoples of eastern Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Arctic region of North America.

        I bet you are the same kind of person who cries foul when someone refers to a ‘Little Person’ as a Dwarf or a Midget.

    • Dan says:

      “little experience in war zones” You don’t seem to either because Ferguson is not a war zone. It is a community that lost the life of one young man and has been descended on by thousands of people. There are some who are there to help and others to grieve, but I fully agree with Ryan that the media has taken this way to far. To even describe Ferguson as a war zone shows that it has gotten out of hand. It is not completely the fault of the media, but they are not helping the situation at all.

    • Matt Hodel says:

      You are a jack ass. Remove a rib, suck your cock, and get the fuck out of St. Louis. Adam Davis sounds like a turd in a punch bowl.

    • John says:

      I love when people excuse shitty behavior as being crucial to their profession. It isn’t. You’re just a horrible person and bad at your job.

    • Brian Mann says:

      Adam’s message is obviously politically motivated (Fox News reference, etc) but he still has a point. Journalists working in a high-pressure environment do cruddy things. They’re type-A people, charged with bringing a story to millions of people. They’re not hired to be shrinking violets. But these accusations are pretty feeble and the original post selects a handful of incidents out of hundreds of working reporters. And some of the complaints are pretty weak and subjective. Weighing down a tent with a piece of stone from a retaining wall? Putting your camera crew in a protected area? Not exactly nefarious. Asking public officials at a press conference to stay on microphone so that people all over the world can hear what they’re saying? That’s not malign. All that stuff about journalists ‘making the story about them’ and taking a photograph with Anderson Cooper? Please. I mean, if you can’t handle strong egos and some occasionally ego-driven behavior, you really are in the wrong business. Finally, I’ll say this: I’ve been on some brutal stories and there is absolutely an exhausted, weary black humor that often frames the conversation among reporters. It can be insensitive at times. Soldiers and cops and firefighters and doctors do the same thing. The original poster is apparently too inexperienced to realize that beneath that hardened surface, the vast majority of journalists care deeply about what they’re doing and about the people they are reporting upon. –Brian Mann, reporter, public radio

      • William Tuite says:

        Adam may have been led here by the same link I was; that is, from the DailyCaller.com, a site as conservative as Fox. So Ryan’s post is being used for political purposes, whether he likes it or not.

        I also want to point out that Ryan is doing a pretty good job of making the story about himself as it is.

        Apart from that, I think the name-calling & sexual references are atrocious, and I think Ryan should come on set his defenders straight.

    • mark k says:

      Adam Davis,

      Obviously you are not a popular man right now and rightfully so. As I am sure you have never been to a war zone in your life I have, as a soldier and this is anything but a war only because in a war zone a reporter can not dare to step out of line because they need the protection.
      You are full of it and you know that. And if you dont know it I dont think any of us will miss you if you go report on ISIS. You are the douche in a party, everyone knows who that is.

    • That made no sense. Are you sure your commenting on a post about journalism with integrity?

    • Monica RW says:

      What a disgusting reply. So telling the truth makes a Journalist associated with Fox News? Really now. Your reply should be completely ignored.

    • G says:

      Actually he would fit in more with msnbc or HuffPo

  54. Deirdre B says:

    I am glad to know that there are reporters/journalist who are not just opportunist! I appreciate what you did for Ferguson. I would be nice when all this is over if you could go back to Ferguson and report on the process of the healing in Ferguson and Dellwood!

  55. behind the lens says:

    Refusing to cover an assignment because you think your colleagues are a bunch of low life SOB’s is now brave and fearless journalism? And a Mizzou j-school degree used to mean something….tsk tsk tsk.

    You might want to either get a thicker skin to survive journalism in the big leagues or head back to covering religious news where you won’t be offended so much.

    • DK Wilson says:

      Get a grip “anonymous.” He didn’t refuse to cover anything. He WAS THERE. All he did was break ranks with the “hallowed” thin blue journo line and tell the truth – and that ALWAYS gets your goats. The largest lobby is —- media. But you can’t get a journalist to tell that truth.

      And quite obviously you don’t know shit about journalism because there was a day when “j-school” was an anathema to most editors. Take some advanced English and/ or writing classes then compare them with your hallowed j-school writing experience. Take some anthropology classes and compare them with you learn to see and deal with disparate people and hectic events in j-school.

      Keep your punk-ass behind the lens and stay the fuck out of the way of people who care about their profession – prick.

      p.s. same goes for you down below, “barkway” (you scared, anonymous POS).

    • TSeward says:

      You represent everything that is wrong with journalism today. The 4th estate used to be one of honor and integrity. Today, it is bereft of all that is decent and honest. It used to be that journalists did not descend into supposition, speculation and conjecture to “get their story.” It used to be that journalists did not engage in sensationalism for the purpose of beating the competition and increasing profit. It used to be taboo for a journalist to express their own personal opinions under the guise of straight news. None of that exists today except apparently in the form of one man who saw a feeding frenzy and chose honor instead. If all that I described constitutes “the big leagues” well then yay for the farm system. At least they haven’t sold their souls.

    • stlsue says:

      There are no more journalists anymore. Every story about this incident was chockfull of sermonizing, pontificating and self-congratulations for being politically correct. To hell with facts. There has been little true reporting of events. So many lies told by so many people.

  56. fjpeter1961 says:

    Violence spun into entertainment, tragedy exploited for career-building, and not a single meaningful discussion about the very deep and painful root causes of injustice. Thanks for the honesty. Peace.

  57. barkway says:

    You’re in the wrong business. Journalists (not the wannabees) get SENT there (and paid) by their employers. They don’t go there for humanitarian efforts. They are there to cover the events.

    • JayTrip227 says:

      And, with that shouldn’t there be some kind sensitivity to the situation? I know some awesome journalists that bring that compassion to the table. None of what he described sounds the least bit professional or displays journalistic integrity.

    • ArtCat says:

      Humanitarian efforts are part of the event Dip sh*t shouldn’t we cover the whole story, not just the action packed scenes.

    • John says:

      Defensive sociopath journalists in the comment section are hilarious.

    • Ed Hoock says:

      You are correct when you say COVER the event, however the problem here has been the media has become part of the story in many cases. I commend this journalist. Our media, particularly the national media, would have a lot more credibility if they simply reported the news rather than try to thrust themselves into it and become part of the story. It is truly sad how the facts seem to be secondary and corroboration of the facts is a thing of the past.

  58. Thank You says:

    The media spectacle played a very important role in all of this. It raised the level of interest from local to nation to global.

    -If it hadn’t turned into a scene that was plastered across every outlet possible there is no way the Governor would have turned over control to the Highway Patrol.

    -If journalist hadn’t been arrested there is no way this event would have spread worldwide, which also means that if that hadn’t happened there is no way Eric Holder would have showed up.

    – I agree with you about the problems and insensitivity. But just remember you guys made this thing so important just by showing up. Even before you published a word, the fact that you were there told these people, the police and ultimately the world that this cause was important.

    I thank you all for that from the bottom of my heart.
    You are utterly invaluable.

    • All of the things you praise, are terrible.

      Gov. Jay Nixon’s emasculation of the local PD was terrible, because it made it look as if the PD had done something wrong, and he has since poisoned the jury pool.

      The involvement of the criminal, racist AG was also awful, because he has made it clear that as far as he’s concerned, whites have no rights, and he works for a genocidal racist who has long championed the “rights” of black criminals.

      The only just cause in Ferguson is justice for the crime victim Officer Darren Wilson. But you support the unjust cause of failed, would-be cop-killer, Mike Brown.

      So, in your mind, evil is good. That makes you evil.

      Nicholas Stix, Uncensored

      • Sometimes a real name doesn't redeem says:

        Your “uncensored” comments are so subversive and revolutionary. Have you considered establishing a no-spin zone?

    • Lynn says:

      If the media hadn’t made a spectacle of it, there may not have been people coming from all over the country to loot, try to kill and make a spectacle themselves. The media has made a bigger mess of Ferguson and virtually invited all outsiders to participate simply by the way it’s been reported and focused on. The media has not only been attention seeking reporters themselves, but have generated attention seekers from everywhere else. Ferguson may have died down by now, but why wouldn’t it if it’s being so highly reported and reporters are part of the cause of the trouble. I am not against reporting the news and reporting it fairly, but what I’ve seen pretty much in my own back yard is an embarrassment. You call this reporting? This is reporting a dangerous situation, making it more out of control and far more dangerous than it should be because of the encouragement of what is called news. What would happen if all the journalists left? Law enforcement might be able to do their jobs. These so-called “journalists” are wasting my states tax money by hindering the process and becoming part of the problem.

  59. Finus1 says:

    Bad journelism is part of the reason people are so divided. I guess not all journalist are bad ones and only out for the story of a life time. I wish you well and hope that you find a way to stay and report what’s really going on. I do understand your frustration because those of us that watch these reports are just as frustrated.

  60. Elaine says:

    You share what you saw courageously. “Journalists making the story about them” is not the most serious or outrageous of your charges but it is perhaps the most common. Morning shows, for example, are all about the personalities as they laugh and pose, CBS perhaps being the exception. Thank you for your honesty and courage.

  61. ke' stans says:

    Very insightfully written. I too witnessed Anderson Cooper yell at a citizen last night while on live television. Ironically he screamed at the woman to be quiet because he was talking to Trayvon Martin’s mother.

  62. ke' stans says:

    Very insightful. Thank you!

  63. A. J. says:

    “Journalists making the story about them.”

    Thank goodness no one is doing that.

    Hate to break it to you Mr. Graduated In May, but this is what it’s like when the broadcast media swarms on a big national story. Doesn’t matter what the story is.

  64. Ken Bouas says:

    I LOVE YOUR POST! May God bless you Ryan Schuessler.
    As a journalist you have seen the light and have taken your stand. Thank you!
    Ferguson, America and the world need more journalists of your caliber.
    I have lived in Ferguson since 1982 and lived just across the Ferguson line in Normandy for eight years before that. This is my home town and I love it. The journalists have not truthfully or accurately portrayed Ferguson, twisting statistics to make us look other that what we are.We are not perfect but we try hard to live with, work with, and Love one another.
    Once again, I thank you for your post and your stand.

  65. Margaret Nardie says:

    More like photojournalists…reading the stories is my preference.

  66. Deborah Mashibini says:

    Thank you.

  67. Lisa Womble says:

    Thank you for your concern for the citizens of Ferguson. Interesting (though sad) to see this perspective.

  68. Reality Distributor says:

    And your part of the problem dumbass

  69. scary may says:

    This is appalling & I understand your refusal to participate. I also accept your refusal to be a part of it as a completely valid response.

    I would like to see good journalists and reporting on the media circus. All of these instances could develop into a story or video etc about how the media are disrespectful vultures. Theres a story in that I would like to see documented.

  70. L says:

    Yea the common refrain there is what……. TV. Maybe those schmucks could learn some journalism instead of just spouting off the stuff that is happening 10 ft from them and ignoring every single other thing happening. There are dozens of stories that are coming out now that are really digging into the meat of this story but all the glossy anchors are off to the next circus. I swear it’s like two different events what is reported in newspapers and magazines and what is on TV.

  71. bob says:

    I say stick around. Cover the stuff that nobody is covering. The positive side. Cover the conversations that are starting up around the community. Cover the folks and events outside the protests that are questioning the behavior of authorities. Cover the ideas that are coming out of this event, about how we can change. How people can all hold the powers that be to a higher level and make it stick. Cover the folks who are talking with each other, trying to figure out how this doesn’t happen again. Don’t be frustrated by the bright lights and flash. Go to the quiet areas, the shadows and find where people are laying the foundations for change. The protest and riots are trying to break through the wall but, after that wall goes down, there’s got to be a new and different foundation that needs to be built. Find who’d developing that. Find who’s mixing the concrete for that. You don’t have to cover what everybody else is covering. They’ll be gone when the shouting dies down. Stick around and be witness and the voice for the real change that begins to take place. Look for the seeds that will sprout from this flashpoint.

    • Angela says:

      Excellent advice, Bob. I would love to see some journalist use their privilege, agency, and access for good in these ways.

  72. All you photogs and journalists are making t about yourselves. By doing this you are making the story about the fifth estate, rather than about the people. Pathetic.

  73. seomechanic1 says:

    This post seems very odd.

    • Mike Peterson says:

      Yeah. Conscience, integrity, a knowledge of what journalism could be and the vision to see it betrayed. Very odd indeed.

  74. Suzie Siegel says:

    Ryan, good for you! I got my bachelor of journalism degree from Mizzou in ’81. Back then, those of us in print often deplored TV reporters for the antics that you describe. Whether or not they include themselves in their stories, they are certainly altering the story by their presence.

    Most of these journalists are writing similar stories, not uncovering new information. Some of the best reporting has been done from afar, such as explanatory journalism on demographic changes in Ferguson.

  75. Toni says:

    Your presence and compassion are exactly what is needed to report on this matter. I would hope, after your anger subsides, that you would consider returning to report on these matters. It is extremely difficult to stand when the tide is against you. This is exactly what African-Americans face every single day of our lives. It hurts you. It changes you. You walk away from it in anger. However, most of us find that the ignorance we face doesn’t change with our scenery…because the color of our skin doesn’t change. Please consider returning and reporting, this cause needs your perspective. God bless you.

  76. Ronni says:

    Did you cover the food drive? I understand your points listed above but if you didn’t cover the food drive you missed an opportunity to set yourself apart from everyone else that didn’t think it was a significant part of a broader story. Usually it’s the little things that stand out.

    I’ve been flipping the channels watching this story unfold and the liberal spin on this makes me want to vomit. From elected officials demanding vigorous prosecution before the investigation is over to a Senator trying to bully past police using who she is and citing her First Amendment rights an excuse to ignore their commands, to the use of words like “murderer” and “execution” goes against everything our Constitution stands for. It would have been a pleasure to tune that out and actually see a positive side of Ferguson. Show me these people care about each other instead of making this story about race and justifying criminal activity in the name of justice.

    • Sugar E says:

      Ronni, read the First Amendment! It covers freedom of the press. It also gives us the right to demonstrate. The Fourteenth gives us the right to petition the government for redress. The Constitution’s Bill of Rights stands for the rights of the people, not the government. Get off the TV, if you want actual news, look to the BBC or Al Jazeera online.

    • Sometimes a real name doesn't redeem says:

      So, what, he was supposed to openly defy his assignments and risk being fired and the story discredited, instead of leaving on his own principles and terms?

  77. Bebe menacha says:

    Making sausage is not pretty. Sorry you couldn’t hack it. Sorry you are leaving the business. Enjoy accounting or teaching AV at a local high school. Real journalists will try to continue on without your beacon of light.

    • John says:

      Thank you for providing evidence that journalists are awful people.

      • Sometimes a real name doesn't redeem says:

        Journalist: *long list of respectfully anonymous examples of hacks treating residents in mortal danger like show dogs*

        Hack: “yeah well gtfo then”

  78. me isme says:

    “Journalists” are just making the situation worse. Reporting “the news” as it unfolds is not beneficial in any way, shape or form. Journalists aren’t journalists … they are gossip sluts and self promotion whores. It has nothing to do with telling the story, being objective and factual. It has everything to do with being at the right place at the right time to promote oneself, and to make a name for oneself. Thank you, Mr. Schuessler, for finally recognizing that in yourself. I wish you would have recognized it earlier, but then, we wouldn’t have your story of realization to share with the unaware.

  79. Pathetic! Thanks for the behind the scenes version. I don’t watch news much any how. I only even know of this story because it was on in my barbershop last week. The news is just so phony.

  80. Don says:

    Sounds like you have problems with this assignment because you might have integrity and/or be a decent person – hence you are in the wrong business.

  81. Bebe menacha says:

    Oh. Did I mention, you are a hero? It is so brave of you to pontificate then run away without trying to make incremental change on some level. Bravo to you.

    • Sometimes a real name doesn't redeem says:

      I too noticed how he neither shared his experience nor used same as a basis for organizing media accountability among the public.

  82. Ignore the criticism. You are doing the right thing. Please do a follow up on the aftermath, the untold story, etc. as suggested above. Looking forward to what you do next!

  83. Ann says:

    Journalist writes first-person story disparaging journalists who make the story about themselves.

    • Looks like Ann wins the prize for writing the silliest comment in the thread. Hey Ryan: Great observations and analysis. As a hometown guy, it certainly must be jarring to watch journos parachute in and wreak havoc on a lifetime of context and nuance. Newsgathering can be a little horrifying to watch. As a TV guy, I’m fully aware that the performance aspects of our medium occasionally lack dignity. Overload a community with news crews, and the scrum can get downright ugly, with the ugliest of us defining the mob. Doesn’t mean good people should stay away. Just the opposite. Somebody has to do the work, or the hacks will define the story. – DR, MU ’79

    • Sometimes a real name doesn't redeem says:

      Exceptional decontextualized doublespeak, but i would expect no less.

  84. Memorian says:

    Hmm I dunno, I think you should’ve stayed. Showed the people of Ferguson just how powerful real and good journalism really is. Be there at the forefront capturing the things that the other photographers/journalist aren’t reporting on or talking about. Help show the truth.

  85. A. Kaseberg says:

    Thank you for telling what all of us who live in Ferguson know. The other thing is that the overwhelming majority of those prrotesting are not Ferguson residents. Certainly the overwhelming majority of those involved in the looting and destruction came from outside of Ferguson. Of the 163 arrests, 7 were residents of Ferguson. We have a long way to go to work on the root problems involved in the tragic loss of life, but tbe road has been made much more difficult by the circus of outsiders (looters and media). We will come together and get stronger than before, but because we are not St. Louis City…WE ARE FERGUSON.

  86. Laura Lea says:

    As a citizen of St. Louis, I thank you so much for understanding that this has become a three ring circus. No matter what anyone’s opinion is about what happened, this is no longer about Mike Brown and Officer Wilson. We’re tired of being compared to Birmingham, Alabama in the late 50’s-early 60’s. Residents are tired of having to hear loud speakers, and having lights shining in their windows at night. This has torn not just Ferguson apart, but people all over the region. I’ve heard from some of my friends who have said, that because of differing opinions about what happened, they’ve been blocked from social media sites, have had nasty e-mails sent to them, and out and out called a racist. These are people, black and white, that we’ve known since elementary school. (We’re in our mid forties) I can’t begin to tell you how upsetting and depressing this has become. It’s like a plague of locusts that include our Governor, State Patrol, National Guard and professional agitators, had descend on us and is destroying everything in its path. I hope your blog finds its way to every person involved. Thanks again for pulling out and for reading my ramblings!

  87. Linda says:

    There are no journalists, only megalomaniac media employees out to be the first with any piece of information, substantiated or not. A man was killed in broad daylight by a policeman. Not willing wait for all the facts, the media reports every tidbit of information from any available source. As a result, there are riots in the streets and a man sworn to uphold the law is fearing for his life.

    Today’s journalists are not seeking the truth. They are seeking glory. It is sad we no longer can depend on anyone for valid information. We live in an instant society that has grown complacent and settles for sound bites instead of waiting for a thoroughly researched news article.

    My television broke during the Clinton/Lewinsky debacle. I never replaced it, as I had become that disgusted with the news media and what was passing for journalism. I still don’t have one, because I don’t want to hear the hyped news. Instead, I will wait for years if I must, until someone with integrity does a thoroughly researched book about the incident. Look at the Columbine killings. The book did a fantastic job of laying out the story, as well as taking the media to task for what they did in the aftermath.

    Perhaps someday, you will be the one to write such a book. Or better yet, a book about the loss of integrity in our news media.

  88. Sam says:

    Haven’t you made this story about yourself by making this post??…and then instead of trying to be the change that is needed, have you not run home to pout?

    You’re new to this thing, and maybe should be more of a sponge, use it as a learning experience – something that is way more valuable than any classroom. Live tv is a beast, and sadly sometimes it’s about ‘fill’ while the in depth stuff is worked on.

    In depth doesn’t just magically ‘happen’ either…it takes a lot of people working their but off behind the scenes. Getting info/numbers out of people when it might feel awkward…and focussing on doing a good job – worrying about what other networks are doing to a retaining wall shouldn’t even enter your mind.

  89. Sondra says:

    AMEN!!! Thank you!

  90. Phife says:

    No doubt. Me and my brother went up there the other night to have a look and stand beside our community, we’re not too far here in U-City. Norwegian journalists, japanese, british and more asshat american reporters than you could shake a stick at. When we left everything was peaceful, got home and apparently the news was claiming “tensions reach new high” the whole time… it’s all bullshit.

  91. R.g. Wong says:

    @RealityDistributor *you’re

  92. Benya Krik says:

    You have my respect. Thank you for your integrity.

  93. Sondra says:

    I lived at 1325 Sharondale circle all my life. Which is locate at Ferguson Ave and West Florissant. I am sick and tierd of people making a mockery of our town. This was a tradgic occurrence that happened but the majority of the events that followed were not done but the residence of MY HOME TOWN! We are a community with great pride, loyalty and follow through. We are free thinkers who have an opinion and want nothing more than to be heard. We will all develop our own opinion as to what has occurred but this is AMERICA, we are entitled. I now live just miles outside of the war zone and I own a business just down the way from the mayhame. It has deeply effected my bottom line as many other who are located within this area. It is time to go home and let the dust all settle! The truth will prevail in this case, it always does! I will reserve my right to pass judgment until I know all of the facts. I do however have great distress for all party’s involved and will pray for us all to be comforted in a blanket of peace. GOOD NIGHT MY BELOVED FERGUSON! STAY SAFE & KEEP ON, KEEPING ON! LUV!😉

    • Monica RW says:

      Thank you Sondra. Everyone seems to have an opinion about Ferguson, expect the People of Ferguson. It’s nice and refreshing to read your thoughts — that the People of Ferguson would like to go on with their lives, despite this tragedy.

      Also, hoping everything at your business will return back to normal soon.


  94. Jm says:

    Respect! I know that I would hire him if we need a journalist one day. This is rare! Time magazine ya hear? WSJ? I can see his name in lights. Great story!

  95. Thank you for your truth-telling and unveiling the decrepit state of the so-called purveyors of information, a.k.a., Main Stream Media. Your honesty and passion will hopefully keep you reporting the “truth” it may not “pay” well but it will be recognized in time. Be safe and blessings on your work.

  96. LT says:

    I do blame the media for a great deal of the social misunderstanding of things. Racial discord is big paying news to the networks and they will do just about anything to egg on the dividing lines between people rather then make any true and lasting efforts to erase them. That way holds no value to their bottom line. Too boot, once one idiot says something, the rest jump on it and repeat it as if it was fact, increasing the miscommunication and confusion. Shame on the lot of them.

  97. nhayder says:

    Side note: reading what you wrote reminded me very much of many parts of Mitch Albom’s latest book, The First Phone Call from Heaven. Thank you for your integrity and for your empathy towards the people of Ferguson.

  98. finross2014 says:

    Reblogged this on finrossblog and commented:
    I have one word for this man: Classy.

  99. mvhannigan says:

    Joseph Galloway won a a Bronze Star for carrying wounded soldiers to safety while covering the Vietnam War for UPI … so apparently you can be an award-winning journalist and still not let unbiased observation turn into callous disregard for the people you are covering.

    If I have one question for Ryan it is this: Why leave Ferguson? Why not stay and cover the behaviour you describe in the post? Realizing the story you found is not the one you expected is no reason to leave.

    • charles says:

      I’m liking the way you think. But, I believe that if the rest of the journalists took his cue and left, the riots would end.

      No media – what’s the point?

  100. M Danis says:

    @ryanlschuessler thank you #urnotthestory #ferguson #peace so true journalist are inherently to report not create the news, show the wide range of people trying to get to solution. As it is said if you are not part of the solution , you are part of the problem. If I hear one more one sided story without factual back up, like we have a petition with 70,000 signatures. Signatures from who?
    Or stories regarding what allegedly happened to the policeman , without anything to back it up. These are the stories, these need investigation and answers.

  101. charles says:

    Intriguing report, Mr. Schuessler. May I recommend that you read (if you haven’t already) Scoop by Evelyn Waugh. He paints, in his characteristic dry fashion, a similar view of journalists – published 1938.

  102. Gilligan says:

    Sadly, I have to agree with the “real journalists” who are criticizing Ryan Schuessler for not being sufficiently ruthless and cold blooded for a career in journalism. This actually reflects well on the character of Mr. Schuessler and poorly on journalists.

    In the aftermath of the movie “All the President’s Men”, a lot of young people got the mistaken notion that journalism is a noble calling. If you have ever met any real journalists, you know that they are somewhere between used car salesmen and prostitutes.

    There are probably several people killed every week by police. How come this particular case is turning into a media spectacle? Two reasons: Democrats are worried that they might lose the Senate in the November midterm elections. If they can gin up enough passion among black voters (who self identify as 95% Democrat) to show up at the polls, they hope that they can keep control of the Senate. It worked in 2012 when the Trayvon Martin case inflamed passions, boosted black voter turnout and helped Barack Obama win reelection.

    Second, video of rioting and burning buildings boosts ratings and higher ratings mean more advertising revenue.

    • Monica RW says:


      Right on point here:

      “There are probably several people killed every week by police. How come this particular case is turning into a media spectacle? Two reasons: Democrats are worried that they might lose the Senate in the November midterm elections. If they can gin up enough passion among black voters (who self identify as 95% Democrat) to show up at the polls, they hope that they can keep control of the Senate. It worked in 2012 when the Trayvon Martin case inflamed passions, boosted black voter turnout and helped Barack Obama win reelection.

      Second, video of rioting and burning buildings boosts ratings and higher ratings mean more advertising revenue.”

      Which is why we are wondering pop-up voter registration drives are going on in Ferguson, instead of trying to determine the TRUE REASONS why African-Americans in the community decided to only participate at a 12% level in the last primary election.


  103. Kay says:

    I live in the greater metro area of Ferguson so naturally I am very concerned about the events in this region. I need journalists to be very much involved in the evolution of Ferguson events. I greatly appreciate that they are there. Some may not have the experience to navigate such highly charged situations as Ferguson so are unaccustomed to ignoring those who may not appear to handle each journalistic situation perfectly. The seasoned journalists all know how to properly investigate very serious situations like Ferguson and are doing so. I have read and listened to MANY indepth reports on events in Ferguson as well as their potential effects on laws in our country. These would not be available if we did not have really top professional journalists in the area, constantly working this situation. Sure, there may be others who don’t have the level of experience or professionalism. Sadly, I see many in the general public who focus their complaints only on these latter journalists. It is far too rare that the public acknowledges and thanks journalists for their work. Perhaps those who only see the negative in “the media” may consider going to multiple sources for reports. Indepth, well-balanced reporting IS readily available. Don’t just watch one TV station- read the newspapers, listen to other news sources, I am thankful for the reporting in Ferguson. I have learned a great deal about many aspects of this situation that DO have ramifications for the future of policing, community development, race relations, the legal system, and so on. Without journalists, we would be left with only very well orchestrated, practiced , filtered statements from spokespersons of each agency involved. From the stories I have read/listened to, I can tell many professional journalists have spent massive amounts of time not only covering Ferguson, but also have engaged in background research to give us an historical comparative to the current situation and have interviewed experts in the fields related to issues arising from Ferguson. Yes, there may be some journalists who are not experienced enough to handle very difficult situations like Ferguson and need to leave. I am thankful for the professionals who know how to ignore the inappropriate behavior of some and NOT QUIT but stay the course, stay focused on their job and do it well. For disclosure- I am not a journalist and do not work in any related field to journalism. And, BTW, I would also like to have my picture taken with Anderson Cooper.

    • “The seasoned journalists all know how to properly investigate very serious situations like Ferguson and are doing so.”

      Like who?

      Nicholas Stix, Uncensored

    • Blakksheap says:

      Greater metro area of Ferguson? Are you really even from there? I grew up in this area and Ferguson is just a small municipality of STL County.

      • crosenthal33 says:

        I live in and grew up in St. Louis County and thought the same thing.

      • Purplehummingbird says:

        Exactly! Was scratching my head on that one as well.

      • t e f says:

        I wondered as well. I live in Florissant and have never heard any part of Ferguson referred to as a “geater metro area.” I have said all along that the “media” is making a circus of this situation and only seem to be interested in snagging a Pulitzer if possible. Shame on them all for their constantly biased reporting.

    • Mike says:

      I think Mr. Schuesser is in the wrong profession, he should change career’s and go for “Do gooder ” or Social Worker, he is not a Journalist !

      • By this very statement you demonstrate that apparently, by your definition, Journalists aren’t required to act like fricking human beings, demonstrate courtesy, be good neighbors…but instead they should just wade into situations and act as if the events surrounding them, and the people involved in them, exist only for their livelihood and amusement.

        What part of what he said did you take umbrage with, specifically? Was it the part where Camera operators yelled at the community leaders attempting to communicate with their community, to the detriment of the ability for the “Journalists” doing what they think is their jobs? I’m certain that community member had no problem with it…

        Was it standing around, acting like it’s just another story/job within earshot of mourners and community members at the sight of the shooting?

        Or perhaps it was the way that the Journalistic Vampires have descended to Farm the angst while making sure to further their own pitiful careers, not through hard won fact finding and insightful reporting, but by Networking and Photo-ops for themselves??

        Oh no, clearly if this is what Journalists think their job is, perhaps the police were merely teargassing the wrong journalists…

      • Palina says:

        Mr. Schuesser is a journalist. These other yuppies are elitist drones.

    • jill donovan says:

      thank you, Mr. Schuessler, for writing this, and for being such a fine professional, ethical, journalist. Hopefully, somehow, this terrible behavior by ignorant people calling themselves journalists will be diminished with the help of respectable journalists like yourself speaking out and letting us all know about the problem. i hope your post gets very widely read.

      • Tam says:

        We’ll I must say finally. Someone has the pride to write what they saw,write how they feel,I have.been saying too many journalist are making up articles to make them famous!!All making money on the writing.Mr Schuessler I wish you well.Thank your for writing about the ignorance of other Journalists, You a truly a strong person to admit you can’t write about Ferguson anymore.I. Wish you the best in life.i don,t think anybody will ever get the real story of just what happened Aug9 in Ferguson,one things for sure a young mans killed,I am a mom and I pray not only for Mr browns family,I oray for Mr Johnson,Mr Wilson,and All the people of Ferguson.

    • Marishona Dodge says:

      Point to note….. If you are a criminal you will be treated as such…. Please find an honorable disagreement vs this. It is obvious Michael Brown made himself a victim when he opted not to purchase at the store but steal. He made himself a victim when he beat up a police officer. He made himself a victim when he continued to try and hurt the officer after being told to stop.
      It is time to stand on the side of Justice. Not Race.
      Quit making this a racial war . IT is terrible what happened. But it doesn’t mean it wasn’t justified.

  104. J. Krack Cornn says:

    Regardless of who wrote this article, they need to learn how to punctuate a contraction. In this case, “Yall” should be spelled “Y’all”. Thank You.

  105. Oh, how cute. A bunch of people who don’t know the first thing about journalism or working as a journalist pounce on the few people who tell this young man like it is and think they know better.

    As a former journalist (now lawyer)……welcome to the business, kid. If you’re going to walk off every story you don’t agree with other people’s behavior, your career will be short-lived, and I recommend you do something else for a living. Sorry to be harsh, but welcome to the real world. This isn’t college. Do you think the journalists who covered the genocide in 1990’s Rwanda walked off the job when they were told they could not save children from certain death? Hell no. They weren’t there to be humanitarians – they were there to cover genocide, and it was a hell of lot scarier than Ferguson.

    Did YOU cover the food/goods drive? That was an unique story. THAT would have shown the human side of Ferguson, which needs to be heard about more. Lacking in-depth? Then why aren’t YOU seeking those stories out and telling them? A good journalist looks for the angles that are being ignored, not kvetching about what everyone else is doing.

    • DK Wilson says:

      Comparing the seeing genocide in Rwanda and a foods/goods drive – EVENTS BEING COVERED – are not in the same ballpark context as witnessing maleficent journalist behavior as journalists are tasked with COVERING the event, not BECOMING the event. Your Fallacious Argument – “false equivalency” – is widely practiced by journalists and is a bald attempt to obfuscate the issues raised by the author.

      Oh, and your first Fallacious Argument? Broad-brush painting all commenters as, “A bunch of people who don’t know the first thing about journalism or working as a journalist.”

      Wrong, chum (or, in this case, “Chim-Chim” – journalist see, journalist do). Oh, and since you’re so adept at taking pot shots at a journalist, how about, in the interest of full disclosure, putting your name out there, “anonymous”?

      • Verne Greene says:

        As a 25-year journalist, I must say the lawyer and former journalist got it right. Your gripe about the analogy is just a gripe. Ferguson represents a king of slow-drip genocide that’s taken place in the Americas since the first black who was kidnapped in Africa and sold into slavery died of starvation chained below-decks in the hold of a rum trade ship on the way to the Carribean.

      • So your editor would let you walk off a story if other journalists’ behaviors bothered you? That would have gotten me fired.

        I stand by my comments. I didn’t mean for it to come off as taking potshots at the kid. Hopefully he considers this a learning experience and moves on. Obviously, if these situations are true, then people are being unprofessional. If true, their editors or station managers should take action. But the fact still remains there were opportunities to do good, fair journalism and do right by the people of Ferguson. He complained about the stories that weren’t be covered, but then didn’t appear to cover them himself.

        As for becoming the event, of course journalists shouldn’t do that. But wasn’t his writing this making the story about him and his perspective, too?

      • ktest098 says:

        “Ferguson represents a king of slow-drip genocide”

        This is why the public has stopped respecting “journalists”, because they are now making story and pushing a narrative, not giving us facts and helping us decide what is happening.

      • AKC says:

        acknowledge the typo – not “…’king’ of…” but “… ‘kind’ of …” – and move on

    • Tim says:

      Heaven forbid this kid speaks his mind and he gets pounced on. Great guy you are. I forgot you went from being a journalist to being a lawyer. Two of the most noble professions on the planet. Truth and integrity in both, not.

    • -PW says:

      As a former journalism professor I’ve always promoted the idea that journalism students should be required to take courses in sociology, psychology, political science, social psychology and the like otherwise you just have slap dash reporting that serves no purpose.
      When I participated in consulting newspapers about diversity in media our primary issue was lack of context. It is never enough to have different colored faces without diversity in experience and knowledge to provide context. Media consumers need more than who, what, where and when. They also need why and how.
      If you have no knowledge of American history or race relations in America you may think events in Ferguson were spontaneous rather than the result of long-standing societal problems.
      I hope my young friend doesn’t give up now that his eyes have been opened. He could make it his life’s purpose to fill in the gaps.

      • eddie says:

        And that is why journalism is dying — you want it to “serve a purpose” … i.e. advance preexisting narratives and assumptions about “why and how.” Nobody with an IQ over 60 is unaware of long-standing societal problems related to race, and an earlier generation of journalists would have respected their readers enough to simply convey the facts to the audience and leave it up to them to decide how those facts connect to the background.

        Alas, since journalism has been “professionalized,” the generations of students that came through J schools now fancy themselves experts on every topic they cover, educating the drooling morons, and as a consequence the public increasingly mistrusts them. You’ve shot yourself in the foot.

      • rocinante2 says:

        Thank the gods we knuckledragging masses have PW and his ilk to tell us what we *really* need to know.

        Journalists and academics like to think that they’re asking the hard questions and speaking truth to power. Why is it, that every culture throughout human history, the scribes and scholars always end up supporting the interests of the financial and political elite, never the interests of ordinary people?

      • Nate Whilk says:

        eddie wrote, ‘Alas, since journalism has been “professionalized,” the generations of students that came through J schools now fancy themselves experts on every topic they cover, educating the drooling morons, and as a consequence the public increasingly mistrusts them.’

        No, you’re wrong. They’ve ALWAYS been like that. We’ve just gotten out of a relatively short period where the journalists presented themselves as noble witnesses, so that’s what the rest of us thought.

        ‘Whin annything was wrote about a man ’twas put this way: “We undhershtand on good authority that M-l-chi H—y, Esquire, is on thrile before Judge G—n on an accusation iv l–c-ny. But we don’t think it’s true.” Nowadays th’ larceny is discovered be a newspa-aper. Th’ lead pipe is dug up in ye’er back yard be a rayporther who knew it was there because he helped ye bury it. … Th’ newspaper does ivrything f’r us. It runs th’ polis foorce an’ th’ banks, commands th’ milishy, controls th’ ligislachure, baptizes th’ young, marries th’ foolish, comforts th’ afflicted, afflicts th’ comfortable, buries th’ dead an’ roasts thim aftherward. They ain’t annything it don’t turn its hand to fr’m explainin’ th’ docthrine iv thransubstantiation to composin’ saleratus biskit.’ –Finley Peter Dunne, “Newspaper Publicity” in “Observations by Mr. Dooley” (1902)

        Knoll’s Law of Media Accuracy: Everything you read in the newspapers is absolutely true except for the rare story of which you happen to have firsthand knowledge. –Erwin Knoll, editor, “The Progressive”

        “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Norvell (June 11, 1807)

      • Melissa says:

        Most journalists are mere publicity pimps, pushing an “angle” instead of reporting the FACTS. How many news stories have covered the horrifically high black on white rape and murder statistics in this country? Unless and until you journalists stop playing the race card and demonizing whites, you won’t get any respect from citizens. Compare the coverage from this and the Martin case and tell us why the murder of whites is any less compelling a subject to make a stink out of.

      • Ron Cade says:

        PW–I surely hope not one of those journalists was your student because we still do not know with any certainty if the shooting of Michael Brown was or was not justified. As for Verne Greene’s comment, was he speaking of a white or black kidnapper? There was both so History says. Cheers! God; please bless this country and save us from ourselves!

      • Ron Cade says:

        . . . and we members of their public still do not know anything about the cause for the shooting that is believable. As for Race Relations, well that’s a bogus and baited term. How about we all try Human Relations as in love your neighbor as yourself.

    • Auddie says:

      Don’t you see??? This journalist did cover a side of Ferguson! The side that nobody gets to know about. The side that the malicious journalists don’t explain.

      Their wrong doing is a story, the perfect angle. And this journalist told it well.

      This town is already in crises and greedy, cruel and inhumane ‘journalist’s’, are covering up police activity and being extremely heartless towards the poor people who endure this monstrous behavior.

      So while everyone thinks this guy is “in the wrong profession” for sharing his point of view; he is actually a decent person, and an excellent writer with an unique point of view. I applaud his honesty and integrity.

    • I agree with your statement a good journalist would have looked beyond what was happening to find the good and the bad of the story and tell the people that the community is a good community made up of citizens who care about others and try to diffuse the current situation. The reporters who do this stand out amongst the bad reporters who are only their for fame or recognition.

    • Kathy says:

      As a veteran of the News Biz? Thank you for this. I run with seasoned journalists, and Mr. Schuessler is a whiner wannabe who can’t seem to actually find a real story. Apparently this is All About Him.

    • Kathy says:

      I can’t tell you how much I agree with your post. I am sick unto death of Armchair Journalists who don’t have the first idea what it is to be out in the field. But, hey. Whatever.

    • pinkville says:

      The fundamental point he’s making, is that the ‘professional journalists’ are NOT doing their job – they’re too busy trying to further their careers and forgetting their responsibility to the community they are covering and represent.

    • Angela Barns says:

      While I agree that is essential to find unique angles that are being ignored, I can’t help but disagree with your “welcome to the real world” response. It is incumbent on any professional to weigh the ethical issues that may arise in any event or situation. The story is always the human being/s impacted. The issues detailed raise the questions of “the way the disempowered are gazed upon, represented, and who gets to ask the questions/frame the narrative and who does not.” What is the point of limiting the discussion to”…grow up, you’re not in college anymore….?” That is not an intelligent much less professional response. I invite you to enter the discussion with a more meaningful point of view.

  106. While I can appreciate your beef with your colleagues’ narcissism, your report would have been much more valuable, had you talked about what the media operatives on the ground were talking about, in terms of how they were shaping their propaganda items.

    Nicholas Stix, Uncensored

  107. bob says:

    Reporters need to go into a story, as much as possible, with and open mind and an even-handed pen. Do you think reporters in New York during 9/11 were comfortable with the situation? Do you think front line reporters in unpopular wars are comfortable? A good reporter looks at what is going on around them and looks for the truth of the situation, whether it is a popular stance or not. Whether he is comfortable or not, or even if they are appalled by the situation. That is what a reporter does., not just report those situations that you are in full agreement with. That leads to faulty , one sided reports that only help to distort the situation. If you can’t understand what I am trying to say, then you need to find another line of work.

  108. PGD says:

    A jounalist and now a lawyer. Keep digging…you’ll hit bottom.

  109. Sullivan says:

    Here’s something every journalist should read – The Journalist’s Creed

    The Journalist’s Creed was written by the first dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, Walter Williams. One century later, his declaration remains one of the clearest statements of the principles, values and standards of journalists throughout the world.

    I believe in the profession of journalism.

    I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.

    I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.

    I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.

    I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.

    I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocketbook is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.

    I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that the supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.

    I believe that the journalism which succeeds best — and best deserves success — fears God and honors Man; is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance and, as far as law and honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship; is a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world.

  110. Jim says:

    As a working photographer I sympathize with you. Your kidding yourself though. The media is owned by just a few super rich people or giant corporations. It’s in their best interest for this country to be divided along racial lines. While people are pointing their fingers at each other, they are laughing all the way to the bank. They control the media, and it helps them control everything else. So in a sense the very fact that someone works for a network or big paper, they become complicit themselves. So my advise to you is to keep working and not walk away. The story is poverty, rich vs poor, how the police are an army serving the rich and corporate interests. It’s not only in Ferguson. It’s America, land of 2 million prisoners. Fortunately for me I’ve found a way to continue to do my work and be able to put my head on my pillow at night knowing I’m doing the right thing.

    • Sylvia Evans says:

      I hope you are wrong. If you are right, it is very sad. I do think Ferguson has been a media circus and believe that other things happening in the world and our borders have been neglected as a result. But, I don’t agree with your point rich v poor. My biggest complaint is these people in Ferguson seem hell-bent on justice for Michael Brown without knowing all the facts and taking the hearsay of “their” side of the story as truth.

      • -PW says:

        I disagree. Most, if not all Black people in America are keenly aware of their circumstances in America. I’s a matter of life and death that they know. Your comment about the hearsay of “their” side of the story is vapid and banal.

      • Joe Black says:

        What happened in Ferguson is a “non-story”, just like Trayvon Martin and every other “racial crime” committed where the witness makes things up and the poor black “victim” who supposedly did nothing wrong was wrongfully killed. It’s funny how ____ on black crime is such a big deal, but black on black and black on _____ never gets reported and made out to be a big deal.

    • Jim you are right the media is owned by corporate America except for the small independent media and locally owned sources who are not there because of being corporately owned. The reporter should have stayed and gathered all of the facts that is what a great reporter does no matter the cost and it is possible he could have uncovered the truth in doing so, the police should not be arresting reporters though it is against everyone’s First Amendment right for the police to call in the National Guard just because of a few protesters get real what is that all about? The police saw the police officer was a target so they did not release the name of the officer who shot Mr. Brown and they by their own hands put another officer in danger. The public should have been informed of who the officer was and that would have stopped some of this protesting if the police would have stepped up and taken action in the first place. They should have named the man responsible for this senseless shooting and suspended him with or without pay the way most police forces do when something such as a killing takes place and we have a riot as they put it but as I believe protesters just wanting some clear answers and a clear solution to be dealt with in their small community. It is the reporters responsibility to report the facts not a bunch of made up political jargon that they believe will appease the public. If the reporter had stayed he could have possibly stopped all of the protest by uncovering the truth.

    • terryott says:

      Jim, you state: “It’s in their best interest for this country to be divided along racial lines.” How so? Perhaps that’s true of a few activists (ones that some would call “race hustlers”), and maybe some politicians, but I’m needing some evidence or a logical argument to support your assertion that it’s (also) generally true of major media companies.

    • Angela Barns says:

      Well said.

  111. Brady Smith says:

    There’s a few problems with your assessment of how the major networks are behaving in Ferguson.

    1. They’re not there to “gloss over” the fine details of what’s happening, nor are they there to focus solely on the minutiae. As with just about any television station, a reporter is given very little time to cover the basics of what’s happening, who it’s happening to, and why. If you have ANY time left after that, it’s icing on the cake. Giving a finely detailed report on a story that has, frankly, become an absolute mess of social, cultural, and racial issues, is rather difficult, and nigh impossible, in 90 seconds.

    2. With regard to journos laughing and making small talk at the site of Brown’s shooting, well, that’s part of the job. Ever see police officers or medical examiners’ staff smile or joke on the job? Sure you have. That doesn’t mean they’re being “disrespectful” to the people who have lost that person. I’ve learned that if you can’t smile while out in the field reporting on depressing subject matter, the job consumes you and spits you right back out.

    3. As for the photographers yelling at public officials when they step away from the mic, that’s another part of the job. They’re there to get sound and video, and that becomes next to impossible when the person you’re getting information from steps away from the podium. I’m not saying it’s right that they yelled, if that is in fact what they did, but the atmosphere in Ferguson (especially for a news crew) is that of a pressure cooker. I’m sure everyone there is under a lot of stress, and that’s what happens when you throw them all together. Tempers are lost, and outbursts happen. You deal with it and move on.

  112. Rede says:

    It has long been the case.

    In this story, the firemen were busy trying to free whales:

    “Tragedy struck Barrow at dawn on Thursday, Oct. 20, when three children died in a house fire. Villagers were shocked that the media covering the whales barely noticed.”

    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/02/03/137755/the-real-story-behind-big-miracle.html#storylink=cpy

  113. Ms M says:

    As a fourth grade teacher, I’m concerned about the number of grammatical errors found in these rants by journalists, lawyers, etc. Thus continues the demise of a once great country. (Sigh!)

  114. Dan says:

    Thanks for this thoughtful and against interests review. Respect, not only for the preceding reasons, but because it has the ring of truth , and helps us understand. We need this kind of journalism. Dan

  115. Sara Kach says:

    There is no story in Ferguson. Not anymore. Any stories now are caused from Dissidents from OTHER Cities and States agitating the populace and the police and the news media. Mr. Brown has been lost in the circus. The News Media has disrespected Mr. Brown and his family by NOT reporting the honest and sorrowful truth regarding Mr. Brown’s Demise.

    All the News Media is doing now are making stuff up….Disrespecting the Populace….and making nuisances of themselves. Let Ferguson go. Let these people try to heal.

    If the News Media needs anything to report on….Why the Hell is the News Media NOT reporting on American Children going without food.or how many unemployed Americans have fallen OFF the Unemployment List due to maxing out their Unemployment Benefits or How many Families with Children are living in Camp Areas/River Banks/Mountains because they have NO CHOICE.

    Once upon a time, Americans could DEPEND on the News Media to report Truth about anything that happens in America or in the World…But Not now. The entire News Media is no better then the Paparazzi…with pics and lies and innuendos. No Truth is in their reporting, just Lies.

    And Please note that the News Media doesn’t really care about American Lives or Americans who are Suffering from job loss or Droughts causing Americans to lose their jobs or Americans STILL losing their homes or How so many American Families are now living in RVs traveling from Park to Park to survive.

    All the News Media cares about is making money by Glorifying a Man’s Death and if it means making stuff up so be it…cause the News Media KNOWS Americans will believe anything they are told.

    Because the News Media really do think that Americans are really really Stupid….I could argue this point….but with the daily contact I have with some Americans…I do tend to Agree.

    As long as an American’s Microcosmic Little World is ok…that American could really give a crap about an American Family who lost their world………

    Think about it…..am I lying to you and myself???? Or is there a little bit of truth in what I have wrote????

    Do something different….Read this again….Think about it….and then do something Novel…Make your OWN Decision….

    • Sara,
      I could not agree more with what you are saying Mr. Brown and his case and what truly happened is no longer the focus in Ferguson and that is very sad. It is always made a federal case when a black citizens is shot by a police officer or beaten by them and statistics have proven that they are a target by the police because of the neighborhood they live in their clothing and skin color. These are the facts and why this happened I still do not know. All I know is what has been reported by my local news channel that Mr. Brown had earlier been in a local store and stolen some cigars or smokes of some kind and that he gave the store attendant some grief so the officer shot him. I am not at all sure if this story is true but would like to know why does that warrant him being shot was the police officer threatened by Mr. Brown and if so how? That is the question I want answered and this journalist should have found that out before leaving his post. I would also like to know has the officer been suspended I have yet to hear if he has or has not and if not what are they going to do about it?

  116. Dominique Law says:

    If you feel the other journalist are doing this a disservice, why not do it your way? Why not find the story you want to report?You could report on the what you deem important in the community instead of waiting for tear gas. You could, for example, do a synopsis of the relevant facts that lead up to this incident, if you thought this was important. You could change the dialogue: Only the media has this power.

    I value and respect your observations. I simply wonder if walking away was the only possible option you could have considered.

  117. Daniel Tabor says:

    “-National news correspondents glossing over the context and depth of this story, focusing instead on the sexy images of tear gas, rubber bullets, etc.”

    And what was their segment? What portion of the larger story of Ferguson were they telling at that moment? Are the rubber bullets and tear gas part of the story? Are they the part of the story about how the police are responding to the protests? Seems to this writer that is part of the depth of the story. Focusing on a small part of the story amid the larger, overall picture.

    “-Journalists making the story about them.”

    And your story is about…. Oh, yeah. how YOU feel about the other journalists in Ferguson right now, and their behavior, rather than “the context and depth of this story,” apparently.

    Sorry kid, but a swing ‘n a miss.

    The story in Ferguson is not the behavior of those there to cover it or how you feel about that. Should have corralled a few of those now-reticent residents and asked THEM why they no longer care about the media members. How do they see what the media is doing in Ferguson. Do they think the media is helping or hurting their cause, and why. And what they think all this media attention may change over time, if anything. That’s the story you missed by walking away.

  118. bob says:

    Here is the problem: “In the early days of all this, I was warmly greeted and approached by Ferguson residents.”

    This is not about you. You should be as invisible as possible and report on what is happening, not injecting yourself into the situation. From what I have seen, you are spot on though. The people covering this mess have been unprofessional and amazingly lacking in any self-awareness. Most of the video I saw had an equal number of journalists as protestors. It was a circus. As a journalist, you are to be our eyes and ears. Not our hands. From what I have seen, journalists have largely stopped reporting on what is happening, and are constantly looking for the personal connection to the story. The public needs more than that. I do not need every journalist lined up along the street so every person with an opinion struggles to get on tv with them. I tried to find a broad shot from a rooftop so I could actually see what was happening. Cameras, microphones and lights in the melee only causes a distraction and gives the participants someone to pander too. It stops being a protest and starts to become a “what can I do to get on tv” mentality. It stops being journalism and becomes reality tv news.

  119. Wesley Walker says:

    Ryan. I understand your cynicism about the Ferguson coverage. As a spectator of the news coverage, I’ve reached a saturation point. I refuse to watch anymore. Fox, CNN and every major news outlet in between have embedded journalists there hoping to film conflict between demonstrators and police. I honestly think the media’s aggressive presence there is helping to fuel the fire. If what you say is happening, there is a question of how much of the news is being managed for effect. The real story emanating from this should be what other municipalities are doing to bridge the disconnect between increasing militaristic approach of local police departments and public trust particularly those in communities of color.

  120. doc says:

    This is how I and many others view the media and it is becoming overwhelming to spend the energy to find the truth about anything.

  121. Nobody Atall says:

    I share your disgust at what “journalism” has become in recent decades. Unfortunately, you may need to think about a career change if you want to live with yourself. Best wishes.

  122. Amy says:

    My father was a journalist in the 60’s through the mid-70’s. He got arrested a couple of times, even, because he wouldn’t betray his journalistic principles. He thought as a journalist the truth was more important than an “angle”. He got fired once by his editor for standing up for this.

    He left journalism and went to work as a press aid for a Congressman in the late ’70’s. Said if he was going to be an equivocating, dissembling, manipulating whore he might as well not trick people about his profession while masquerading behind a facade of truth. Plus, he wanted to get paid for it.

    But even in Washington Dad always did what he believed in and worked for people who supported causes he believed in. When he died he was proud of his professional life. I am still proud of him.

    Hope you can say the same on your deathbed. Sounds like you’ve had an epiphany. Hope it stays with you. Good luck Al-Jazzera.

  123. Pat McGuire says:

    Thank you Ryan. You let us know there are still a few real journalist reporting news, without the commentary, without the sensationalism, without the need to spur people into making a spectacle for another sound bite. Maybe, just maybe, Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley, and other journalists and news people from the 50’s-60’s can still be a model today.

  124. Linda says:

    Actually, the reporter is right. I too was very sympathetic and sided with the family and of course they are still in my prayers. However, journalist need to get out of there and all parties need to get it together at this point. Everyone, is exploiting the family and everyone needs to go. We have way too many problems over seas to be fighting among ourselves. Media, residents, police, feds; get your act together and work it out where it is fair and justice. I am tired of seeing you on my tv.

  125. David says:

    I agree with journeywithjudah on the last statement he made that a good journalist does look for angles that are being ignored. This projects the hidden evidence of a report. But journalist laughing and joking about the spot where Brown was killed and taking pieces of private property to fix their malfunctioning equipment is disgusting. This is why journalism is one of the lowest rated careers in the world. How bout if I joked and laughed about one of their sons or daughters getting raped or killed or swiped a piece of their media equipment to replace mine. I would be in jail for the latter and my ass would be beat for the former. The point here is that these poor Black Americans who are being treated like it does not matter.

  126. WhatTheHuh says:

    all i needed to see was a picture by a ‘journalist’ saying he believed he had found some rubber bullets, when in fact what he had found were ear plugs. instead of tweeting to his 55,000 followers for confirmation, perhaps he should have asked one of his umpteenhundred ‘journalist’ buddies beside him if they were indeed rubber bullets. oh wait–god forbid they steal his scoop! any moron with a cellphone and a twitter account can be a reporter these days—but it doesn’t mean they are a journalist. i commend this guy for knowing when to move on from a horse that has been so beaten to death that its not even recognisable as a horse anymore. kudos @ryanschuessler for having the cajones to do so.

  127. Ron says:

    This is one of the most ridiculous blog entries I have ever seen. You don’t like something so you are running away and whining. If it bothers you so much, how about trying to be part of the solution. In Ryan Schuessler’s world, would you have not covered the police confrontation with protesters? Would you have not covered police using tear gas?

    Deeper examination of issues is important but when the story is happening you are not going to ignore the breaking developments.

    Some of your points are very valid. Reporters’ conduct (a cameraman yelling at someone to move) is not always what it should be. But you are running away because of this??? Have you ever heard about gallows humor? I hope you never work in an emergency room. You will end up writing a blog about how “I am not returning” to work in the ER because of the horrifying conduct of the doctors.

    Would you prefer the media not cover this?


    And I can’t believe you wrote this —

    -Another major TV network renting out a gated parking lot for their one camera, not letting people in. Safely reporting the news on the other side of a tall fence.


    You are attacking MSNBC for finding a secure, safe location to report the news? What should they do — invite everyone inside?

    Get some thick skin.

  128. Pam says:

    I hope that after the media circus leaves #Ferguson and move on to the next big story, that those journalist that truly want to make a difference stays in #Ferguson. I am looking forward to seeing the change and the influence of the media to help the community understand how important it is to vote and stay educated.

  129. Keryl Douglas says:

    Thank you, #ryanschuessler. Your unwillingness to sacrifice conscious and decency in your reporting is greatly appreciated and admired!

    • Ron says:

      I am glad Ryan treated this subject so seriously and didn’t fall into the trap of other jounalists who joked with each other, and even did such things as talk about the best place in ferguson to get a burger…….Oh I am sorry Ryan DID talk about the best place to get a burger. How horrible to talk about such things and reduce the seriousness of this subject. My point is — even though Ryan makes some excellent points – his attacks are holier than thou attacks.

  130. mac says:

    It’s still just as Mark Twain wrote: “If you don’t read the newspapers [and other media], you are uninformed. If you do read them, you are misinformed.”

    I despise what is generally known as “mainstream media” in the U.S., particularly MSNBC. They’ve not been in my home for two decades now. They’re liars with a specific political view they want to promote [Democrat Party] and they’ll omit, shade, twist, spin and outright lie to accomplish that task. Journalism students are rightly held in contempt by other college graduates, not just for the ease of their major but also for the ease of their virtue.

    When the Old Gray Lady in N.Y. finally bites the dust, the cause of death will be found to be self-inflicted. They mixed the editorial pages and the front page too often and the resulting toxic gases drove their readership away. They were once the paper of record for the U.S. Now they’re a fish wrap. The day of their demise can’t come soon enough for me.

  131. Dmitry says:

    In Gaza, this is the same cherry-picking of sexy pictures without any attempt to analyze or to say something even remotely describing the real problems: the audience doesn’t like complicated sentences, and Hamas could rescind your journalist permit together with your head.

  132. John Greene says:

    No one cares if you return to Ferguson. Anyone who works in any way for Al Jazeera is a traitor to the United States of America. You’re a whiny shit head. Get a real job Take some time to pick up a copy of the Constitution, read it and go back to your history classes. Stopping being a liberal putz And kissing the ass of Islamofascists like Al Jazeera.

    • WhatTheHuh says:

      john greene, youre an uninformed idiot. i shudder to think where you get YOUR news, although i have a pretty good idea.

  133. Kay (but not the first commenter Kay) says:

    I hate that people use stories like this as an excuse to remain apathetic and NOT to care. Too many people just want this to “go away”, and don’t see the many broader issues that Ferguson has provoked. These people also complain about the “shallow news” regarding celebrities and the Ice Bucket Challenge. They don’t want to go to alternate “first source” news (like Twitter and Reddit, or god forbid going to Ferguson and donating some school supplies and asking residents what they can do to help)… so I guess those observers and FaceBook sharers will only be happy when there’s more cute cat memes? Lazies, if you’re a journalist and not getting the angles that aren’t being covered (as a previous commenter said), and if you’re a FaceBook sharer who does nothing but read the major-outlet’s headlines above the fold.

    This is a good link bait article, following the advice of many experts to write something controversial to get hits, and it says something that you don’t have ads.

    I totally agree with the first commenter named Kay.

  134. Uncle Mike says:

    Interesting, Mr. Schuessler. Have you ever heard of Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy? “In any organization, there are two groups: those who work to advance the goals for which the organization was founded, and those who work to advance the organization itself. Over time, the second group will seize control of the organization, and drive the first group out..,” That is every news organization that has appeared in Ferguson, writ large – they’ve long since driven out the heirs to Murrow, and have conflated actual journalists like Murrow, Wallace, Woodward, et al., with the likes of Rivera, Cooper, Olbermann, and Stoessel. They’ve wed themselves to a pursuit of ratings and narrative, knowing that how they slant the narrative determines how well they hang on to the core audience that drives their ratings.

    I could, perhaps, forgive some of it, if they would clearly delineate between, “Here are the facts as I understand them,” and, “Here is my opinion, based upon those facts.” They do not. They shop their chosen narratives to their respective core audiences, and blur the distinction between opinion and fact to the point of invisibility. Nobody uses qualifiers, nobody adds caveats, nothing of the sort. And we, as consumers of the product your colleagues sell, never refuse to buy. To borrow a phrase, “Does that seem right to you?”

    If you decide to revisit the Ferguson story again, sir, might I humbly suggest looking at the competing narratives being pitched, debunking the ones that don’t pass the smell test, and reporting on what you come up with? It won’t make you favored among your peers, it won’t win any awards, and it won’t gain you a position with any organization. But, you’ll be able to look at yourself in the mirror with a little bit of pride, and some of us out here in “Flyover Country” who are tired of the thinly-veiled R and D partisanship will grant you some respect for your integrity,,,

  135. Reblogged this on Learning as I go and commented:
    Great piece from one of our journalism students. He has been covering the situation in Ferguson, Missouri for Al Jazeera America. Unfortunately, he’s seen way too much of the sad, pathetic sides of journalists.

  136. What has been said it’s completely and totally true. As a retired agent I can honestly say all media in general Sucks. AJN is the better of all news groups. However I really have no respect at all for the majority of them. White trash in media is the norm these days.

  137. P H Madore says:

    Name, shame, and defame the individuals responsible or all this amounts to is you being the first to grab “honor points” or whatever. Inform the Fergusonians of a platform called indymedia, which is also open source software they can use to create their own news to stay safe from and alert to state aggression. You just made it to my radar so i would strongly advise you do what the fuck i say. Crimethinc.com if you have any real questions to answer.

  138. Kathy says:

    You walked away? Really? Poor little flower. Perhaps you ought to stick to art photography.

  139. Nanne says:

    But, as a reporter, you should stay, and continue to do news reports on the behaviors of the news reporters!

  140. swenhoward says:

    Reblogged this on swenhoward and commented:
    Thank you Ryan for providing an accurate report of the uglier underbelly of a national media frenzy.

  141. Seth says:

    Wait a minute, wait a minute…you mean to tell me those reporters were there in Ferguson ACTING LIKE PEOPLE!!!??? Say it aint so!!!! Have you sought therapy for what could easily turn out to be full-blown PTSD?

  142. As an aspiring journalist, perhaps you should expose these jerks rather than just be disgusted at them. A good journalist exposes corruption when he or she sees it. Record these people. Show the world what is happening on the other side of the screen. It will only serve to clean up the industry.

  143. News Man says:

    I am a career journalist. Mr. Schuessler, Please bear with me and read through this entire comment.

    I was in Ferguson for over a week. I am sorry I did not cross paths with the media’s moral authority while I was there. I am sure I could have learned a lot from someone who just graduated from college and has spent approximately one year out in the field.

    Let me address your issues one at a time:

    1) The network that was broadcasting from behind a fence on private property was *****. They likely rented the space from the property owner and injected some badly needed cash into a community where businesses have been negatively impacted by the events of the past two weeks. They did not seclude themselves behind a fence because they were afraid to meet the people face to face. They did so that they could broadcast on private property and be unimpeded by both the police and the few bad actors in the crowd. As you are probably well aware, the police occasionally pushed the media around on W. Florissant Ave. and sometimes prevented us from exercising our First Amendment rights as journalists by not allowing us to stand in one place and cover the news as it happened. By remaining on private property, ***** was able to get an unencumbered bird’s eye view of W. Florissant Ave. 24/7.

    2) The TV crew you witnessed taking concrete blocks from a retaining wall to anchor their tent was with *****. We all know this because we all watched their nightly broadcasts from the avenue while other networks chose to report from the command center at Target, far away from where the news was actually happening. What you probably didn’t realize was those bricks/blocks were already loosened and damaged by dozens of protesters several nights before. When they were were involved in a major, violent clash with riot police they tore up those retaining walls and used the blocks/bricks to build a barricade across W. Florissant Avenue. The landscaping rocks that were being held back by those retaining walls were then used by the same protesters and thrown at police by the dozens. I saw them flying through the air as I covered the clash up close. At the end of each broadcast day, I watched as ***** took down their tent and the blocks/bricks were put back in their place on the retaining wall. When all was said and done, ***** very likely paid the owners of Pubic Storage on W. Florissant for the use of their parking lot because that’s what networks do. In fact, the nation’s media put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy in greater St. Louis last week by employing local security guards, staying at local hotels, getting food from local restaurants and patronizing local shops for supplies.

    3) Cameramen always yell at people to get down when they are covering press conferences and meetings. They are broadcasting to a national audience. People sitting in front of their television sets at their homes don’t have the luxury of being in the room. The cameras bring them into the room. But they can’t convey what is happening if all the viewer can see is the back of someone’s head.

    4) While you may have watched a few journalists reporting live on scene and felt that they glossed over major aspects of the story and did not provide context, did you watch the hundreds of television packages and read the thousands of newspaper articles written about events in Ferguson and the shooting of Michael Brown? If you had you would know that the news coverage in Missouri did more to add context and advance the conversation surrounding race relations and socioeconomic injustice this year than any other story in recent years. It’s surprising that a supposed journalist like yourself would watch a few live stand ups and think that they were representative of the overall coverage of events in Ferguson. If anyone is taking things out of context it is you.

    5) One journalist asking you to take a picture of himself with Anderson Cooper is not representative of the attitude of hundreds of seasoned professionals who reported from Ferguson. Again, you’re taking things out of context. How about juxtaposing that with the dozens if not hundreds of reporters and cameramen who suffered the effects of tear gas along with the protesters, had flash grenades go off at their feet, had police weapons pointed at them, suffered bruises and even broken bones (one guy sustained a fractured rib from the butt of a police rifle thrust into his side) from being pushed around and hit by both police and looters. They also felt bullets fly by them as local thugs and gang bangers settled disputes Thursday and Friday night and on later days fired at police from sides streets, wounding several other protesters in the process with their random, sporadic gunfire. Let’s not forget that many journalists put themselves in harm’s way in order to report from Ferguson night after night.

    6) Were their a few members of the media who at moments exhibited bad taste and made light of things taking place before them? Did you witness brief moments of callousness? Probably. But they were the exception, not the rule. Most members of the press treated the story with the respect it deserved. They had respect for both the people of Ferguson, the protesters from elsewhere and the police who found themselves in a difficult situation. And people who had just experienced extremely chaotic, confusing and dangerous situations are entitled to use humor as a coping mechanism.

    If you intend to pursue a career in journalism I suggest you learn a thing or two about what it means to document news events and to learn a thing or two about life in general. You come across as a naive, young person with a tremendous sense of entitlement and an over-inflated sense of self-importance.

    Finally, you are not a journalist. You haven’t lived long enough to actually kept a journalistic record of anything. You are at best a reporter, and more realistically you are a blogger who occasionally feeds quotes to news outlets like Al Jazeera. I strongly suggest that the next time you find yourself surround by the nation’s news media and so many seasoned professionals you use the opportunity learn a thing or two instead of acting like you have the moral authority to judge those around you doing the important work of the Fourth Estate.

    • daveshroomer says:

      Your opinion has a price tag ! A persons Morals are between them and their God and I don’t think He cares about the economics of these trauma-dramas . Is it just coincidence that S & P set new record highs as ‘We the People” lose more freedom ?

  144. G says:

    Ryan is an inexperience little boy from a well off community who doesn’t understand news is a business. He doesn’t understand that the photog needs to usher people near the mic or their story doesn’t get told or that in a riot it is much better to be in a fenced off parking lot. There are Way to many Young, inexperienced journalists there who think they are there to advocate, instead of to report and… Journal. The media caused the protests to drag out and for misinformation and speculation to spread. While many have patted themselves on the back, they are in-fact a case study of how Not to cover news. I’ve never been more embarrassed for my profession in many cases. Ryan needs to work for HuffPo or some non-profit group.

    • daveshroomer says:

      War is a Business too , S&P sets new record highs . Apparently ,Warring with Ourselves still puts money in their pockets .by the way , Bob Dylan grew up rich too ! I’m old and wise too , that’s WHY we both now ,The youth are Right . I’m Not a journalist ,so I’m not a stickler for it’s ‘Old School ‘ traditions . I WANT FACTS ! Ryan’s brief article has a McMasters quality (Arthur George McMaster ) .

  145. Reblogged this on time4aresolution and commented:
    The truth is never so sexy as a lie…

  146. News Man says:

    Are you now censoring comments? I wrote a long, well thought out response to your blog post. I’m a journalist who spent 8 days in Ferguson covering events daily. I addressed each of your observations point for point explaining what you saw and why it was happening. My comment was waiting for moderation. It seems to have not appeared here. I would appreciate it if you let your audience see my response because there is an explanation for everything you saw. You, sir, have taken many things out of context. They need to be explained.

  147. Dana says:

    If you are so principled compared to the other journalists, why is your response to witnessing these things to abandon us, the public, to the likes of them? Just complain, wipe your hands of it, and leave? The author is a coward. You willfully contribute to the dominance of sensationalizing, insensitive salesmen in this field.

  148. Sam Stone says:

    In January, 1982, a backhoe operator dislodged a gas line regulator releasing high pressure gas into water heaters and furnaces of Centralia, Mo homes. Almost instantly, 28 homes were ablaze. I was not there at the time, but a local editor told me news helicopters rushing into the scene fanned the flames with downwash from their props.

    At all times, journalists must avoid affecting the story. Yelling at sources to step into the light might or might not affect the story – the demeanor with which journalists prompt sources to comply with the newsgathering process can affect the mood of sources.

    Laughing and joking at death scenes is not part of the job. Gallows humor might be a common way of decompressing, but at best journaists’ joviality must be removed from scenes where the local mood is part of the story. Moods affect moods. Professional journalists would do well to find other ways to work off stress – I recommend an hour in the gym back at the hotel.

    Making a story about journalists is not part of the job. Journalists who complain they can not leave a designated journalists’ area during a general curfew do not add much to the story. Likewise, journalists who refuse to move quickly when police clear an area have nobody to blame but themselves if they are taken into custody. During a crisis, police have no more than an individual’s claim that they are journalists. Journalists do not enjoy an unfettered right to shine blinding lights from a crowd into responding police, but police do not have a right to tell journalists to stop recording – only to order them to leave if everyone else is ordered to leave.

    As for people dissing Schuessler for standing down from one assignment, if a journalist determines his presence is doing more harm than good, it is his call whether or not to stay on that story or to continue working for a particular publication. There are ample sources covering the streets of Furgeson for now, and woefully few reporting more than scant details about records of police activity in Furgeson or reporting the extent to which those records may or may not be available

  149. SouthernGal says:

    This entire situation has been crazy. I can not wait to the commotion has subsided and the investigation continues.

  150. I wish you would have stayed and reported on the food drives and community outreach. I wish you would’ve stayed to expose the major network news for what it is. While I applaud your insight and respect your decision to walk away, we need journalists willing to report on the REAL news and expose the rest for what it really is.

  151. it’s your sense of morality i am impressed with. i don’t think people are interested in doing what is morally right any more. Most people, i don’t think, couldn’t give you a definition of the word ‘character’. you have it. Greed i think, has replaced the knowledge of of what is right and wrong. Stories like yours won’t get reported because a good story is not, ‘dog bites man,’ it’s ‘man bites dog.’ your story wouldn’t sell … it’s the ”bubble headed bleach blond,” reporting, ”is the head dead yet.” we don’t even sing about it anymore. but then again, i think what your ”theme” is; it’s not the story … it’s the crude crass way it’s being reported. it seems to me, the truth isn’t as important as how the truth is communicated. thanks for the inspiration. ks

  152. Kelly says:

    With respect, I’m a little disappointed in this blog post. If we saw someone else acting insensitively or betraying the public’s trust, then we’d report on that story with the necessary details. This vague, broad condemnation of journalists actually does more to harm the good people of our profession than it does to shame the bad people in our profession.

    I really wish this post had named the names of the news organizations so that we could hold them accountable. To be frank, I wish you had actually interviewed the individuals misbehaving to get their side and justification for such behavior, because if we saw a politician, doctor, lawyer or athlete acting in such a manner, we’d be doing comprehensive reporting on that, rather than simply posting a frustrated, albeit heartfelt, missive.

    • DKWilson says:

      Naming names equals what can be tantamount to blacklisting yourself from ever reporting on any meaningful event, or worse, never having another job in the field of journalism.

      If you don’t understand the game, why not ask questions instead of making presumptive statements which, in reality, only illustrate a lack of knowledge of that which you seek to challenge?

  153. skyeknightdent says:

    But, if you really did not want the Ferguson story to be about you as a journalist, wouldn’t you simply have left without making such a big public deal about it? Looks like you became so addicted to the attention that you could not even leave Ferguson without one final shot to the arm.

    • sherrym2 says:

      A BIG public deal about he Michael Brown case? LMAO – surely you jest! This whole story has been a story blown out of proportion!

  154. sherrym2 says:

    Thanks for your honesty & views on this. I personally don’t get it. There is an investigation underway and the police officer was maybe just doing his job and they have Michael Brown as a saint – his funeral televised on local channels today! OMG! This is way out of hand in oh so many ways!

  155. impricelesst says:

    It looks like you are the one reporter who should be there…

  156. Sandy says:

    You are a journalist, as opposed to the gaggle of ‘urinalists’ in Ferguson that tried to influence the story. Thanks!

  157. daveshroomer says:

    I feel ya ,Ryan ! Your story here is more reason to stay in Ferguson and film these other ‘news’ crews blatant disrespect for the 1st Amendment Right essential for a democracy to function and to Journalism . Facial recognition programs could be used to identify them as Habitual Nuances who may just ‘troll’ American Hot Spots to cause disruptions giving ‘authorities’ cause to Limit Honest Journalists .The ‘same actors’ have been recognized in other ‘disturbances’ . False Flag Attacks are no long ‘theory’ Internationally or locally . You more than most people do understand the ‘authorities ‘ DO USE Plants to instigate actions they are prepared for- “If the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer,…. ” ya know ? Or maybe; Compete this story ,video interviews with offensive ‘crews’ give us their Names , network assoc.’s ,if any, and ‘sponsors’ . An Informed Pubic is why You play this game . Good work ! ,Ryan .Thank you .

  158. Mark says:

    Nice reporting. My wife watched the whole sideshow the news teams produced. Sadly, journalist go for the stuff that sells and poke at the real issues enough to stir emotions and gain support for there brand of reporting (left, right, center). It is sad that this incident happened. My prayers go out to the family and the community and to that young man. In addition, to the officer who I’m sure felt he was in bounds with his actions…..but not mine or anyone else’s call to make without the true facts. However it comes out, I hope justice and truth will come together as the result.
    Our country is being dismantled by our bought and paid for administration while our media is insuring we remain partially and incorrectly informed of what pieces are falling and where they are landing. It’s like a B movie from the 60’s…….bad scripting, poor acting, weak plot, and a long forgotten experience in the end.
    Our country is in trouble with weak domestic and foreign policy, false economic reporting of the true facts of the state of our nation, and out site national debt. The lawmakers are divided because of their party loyalty and seem indifferent to what is best for our country.
    These are factors in the underbelly of this incident and the media sideshow that followed. Issued long ago raised to fever pitch and never resolved because we got to busy sweeping things under the rug and becoming falsely….politically correct.
    The task at hand will take decades to clear. Making this country a place where everyone walks together and not on opposite sides of street is a commitment not an event lasting until the next big thing overshadows the “story”. Get to work lawmakers and local political hacks and make a difference.

  159. Johnk793 says:

    Definitely pent topic matter, appreciate it for selective information. dbedegkedckk

  160. Your style is very unique compared to other folks I have read stuff from.
    I appreciate you for posting when you’ve got
    the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this blog.

  161. I live in the st louis area and everything that happen was ridiculous .

  162. Reblogged this on Even Deities Evolve and commented:
    I appreciated the honesty of this journalist.

  163. Povonte says:

    Amazing collection,Nice job! Keep it up!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] A kid named Ryan Schueller, freelancing for Al-Jazeera, wrote a blog post about what he viewed as the horrors of the media siege in Ferguson.  It’s got a deer-in-the-headlights quality to it, but his observations are worth a click.  […]

  2. […] week, freelance journalist Ryan Schuessler blogged about his time in the media pit with fellow journos covering the tragedy in Ferguson. It serves as […]

  3. […] week, freelance journalist Ryan Schuessler blogged about his time in the media pit with fellow journos covering the tragedy in Ferguson. It serves as […]

  4. […] has been covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri for Al Jazeera America. Last week Schuessler took to his personal blog to lament the lack of professionalism exhibited by many covering the […]

  5. […] when a journalist reports on the poor conduct of media outlets covering an event — and everyone, including myself, is grateful to them for exposing the story […]

  6. […] freelance photographer Leo York, who was present in Ferguson during the riots. An Al Jazeera writer posted an article discussing his contempt for the media’s reaction to the events, and mentioned how a reporter [Later unveiled as Leo […]

  7. […] capacity with the local authorities. There was also a great mistrust for the media. As freelance journalist Ryan Schuessler wrote, “The behavior and number of journalists there is so appalling, that I cannot in good […]

  8. […] “I will not be returning to Ferguson” – a reporter’s comments about the media circus that occurred in Ferguson – once the media started paying attention, which was days after #Ferguson exploded on Twitter: https://ryanschuessler.com/2014/08/21/i-will-not-be-returning-to-ferguson/ […]

  9. […] thoughtful essay from a student-journalist, I will not be returning to Ferguson: There are now hundreds of journalists from all over the world coming to Ferguson to film what has […]

  10. […] a student-journalist who has spent more than a few days and nights covering the unrest in Missouri. I will not be returning to Ferguson: There are now hundreds of journalists from all over the world coming to Ferguson to film what has […]

  11. […] I will not be returning to Fer… on Ryan L. Schuessler […]

  12. […] -One reporter who, last night, said he came to Ferguson as a “networking opportunity.” He later asked me to take a picture of him with Anderson Cooper. Rest of the post. […]

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