The Mirror

Al Jazeera Contributor Disgusted By Media Behavior In Ferguson

FERGUSON, UNITED STATES - AUGUST 18:  A journalist reacts during a protest on August 18, 2014 for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer on August 9 in Ferguson, United States. Captain Ronald Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, makes statements to reporters as the protests continue in Ferguson. Some of the protesters were detained by the police during the clashes on Monday. The 18 year-old Brown was killed in a confrontation with a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. Details of the fatal encounter continue to be disputed but racial tensions flared between the majority black community and predominantly white police force following his death. (Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) FERGUSON, UNITED STATES - AUGUST 18: A journalist reacts during a protest on August 18, 2014 for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer on August 9 in Ferguson, United States. Captain Ronald Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, makes statements to reporters as the protests continue in Ferguson. Some of the protesters were detained by the police during the clashes on Monday. The 18 year-old Brown was killed in a confrontation with a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. Details of the fatal encounter continue to be disputed but racial tensions flared between the majority black community and predominantly white police force following his death. (Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)  

Ryan Schuessler will not be returning to Ferguson.

You may not know or care who he is. But the recent college grad and Al Jazeera contributor went there to cover the protests, along with a lot of journalists who wanted in on the action, but left disgusted by his own profession.

“The behavior and number of journalists there is so appalling, that I cannot in good conscience continue to be a part of the spectacle,” Schuessler wrote in a story he published on his personal website.

When approached by The Mirror for an interview, he declined. “I’m going to respectfully decline,” he said. “Kind of defeats the purpose of me writing that if I continue to talk about it. I know that makes me a hypocrite, but I’d just like to respectfully decline. Does that make sense? But I appreciate your call.”

He details about 10 things he saw there regarding the media. Some of the worst among them (but you’ll want to see his full list):

  • 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.

Schuessler, who studied journalism and political science at the University of Missouri, wrote that Ferguson is now a media spectacle, and nothing he wants to be a part of. “In the early days of all this, I was warmly greeted and approached by Ferguson residents,” he recalled. “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.”

He concluded darkly, “We should all be ashamed, and I cannot do it anymore. I’m thankful for my gracious editors who understand that.”