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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]


Mooring Mast covers Seattle demonstrations

Mooring Mast covers Seattle Demonstrations
PLU's student newspaper, the Mooring Mast, featured the WTO demonstrations in Seattle on its front page.

They marched, chanted, were gassed--and their story made the front page of the Dec. 3 edition of the PLU Mooring Mast.

They were 48 PLU students in the vanguard of the nationally-reported World Trade Organization (WTO) convention protest march in Seattle, last Nov. 30. Mast news editor Kelly Kearsley '01 and photographer Josh Miller '01 covered the story for the PLU student newspaper.


Mooring Mast news editor Kelly Kearsley crouches down to write notes during the WTO conference in Seattle.

Seattle police were out in force, facing the street demonstrators and rioters, during the WTO conference last November.

"It was a little difficult to remain objective," Kearsley says. "We were on the edge of the march and wanted to yell out, too. It was hard to be with my peers, but it was important to put it in perspective."

Covering the convention "was the closest I've ever come to covering breaking news. Josh and I talked to spectators, protestors, police--we wanted to get an overview of the event."

The WTO conference "was an opportunity that cannot be duplicated in the classroom," said PLU communication Professor Cliff Rowe, who is the Mast adviser. The student reporters "focused on PLU's involvement, localizing an international story. Their coverage, which was quickly turned around in time for the paper's deadline, was fair and accurate. There was no over-exaggeration of events-altogether it was a great experience for them."

"It was the first time I felt obligated to my job as a journalist," Kearsley says. "I felt that I was part of history-understanding what my parents told me about the marches of the '60s and '70s. The experience helped solidify my decision to be a journalist."

Greg Pickett '00, vice president of ASPLU, demonstrates
Greg Pickett '00, vice president of ASPLU, was among a group of PLU students who demonstrated during the WTO conference in Seattle.

Prior to the event, Rowe, a veteran of the Chicago 1968 Democratic Party convention, impressed on his news team that they were participating as journalists, not as demonstrators. His assessment: "they were very honest, they did a professional job. They learned firsthand that (this kind of coverage) is not fun and games; it's ugly when the violence happens."

Rowe added: "I'm a champion of free speech, but I hate it when violence breaks out. My advice to them before they left was to 'use common sense and don't go where you don't belong.'"

He concluded: "The Mast had good coverage of the WTO activities. You can't duplicate that in a classroom."

Photos: Josh Miller, The PLU Mooring Mast

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