Wick Communications

‘I need some muscle’

In Media on 12 Nov 2015 at 6:11 pm

When I first saw this Monday night, I actually had to get up and walk away from my computing machine. That’s how angry it made me.

By now you surely know about the turmoil at the University of Missouri (which happens to have one of the nation’s finest journalism schools.) This week the president and the chancellor of the university said they would resign. The complaints are widespread and include what many believe to be a culture of racism in the administration.

Those are important charges that deserve respect and introspection from the state’s leaders. Congratulations to peaceful protesters who made themselves heard and affected real change in their community.

Which brings us to Melissa Click. She, on the other hand, needs to go back to elementary school. She’s been stricken from a couple posts at the school and apologized. I’d call that a start.

At the moment, anyway, Click is an assistant professor of mass media. Yet, apparently has never heard of the First Amendment let alone the benefits of the mass media in bringing attention to causes like hers. On the above video, she can be seen grabbing a reporter’s camera and screaming, “Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle.”

To which, I might say, “Who wants to help me get this assistant professor out of the University of Missouri College of Communications? I need some muscle,” if I were the type of person to do so. …

One of the reporters seen on the video is a student named Tim Tai. He’s trying to take photos of the protesters who had gathered in a public place on a state university. They had apparently convinced themselves that they nonetheless deserved – nay, had the right to – privacy. So they surrounded Tai and pushed him away. All the while, Tai behaved rationally, calmly … like the professional journalist he is training to become. Sorry, already is. Clearly. I will be very surprised if he doesn’t come out of this with a job offer.

Here’s the most disturbing part. People like Click seem to think agents of the state such as herself have the right to boot the press from government property. And she is teaching students about the effects, uses and principles of mass media! It’s, it’s … incredible.

I wrote to Click’s boss, department chair Mitchell McKinney, seeking comment following Click’s performance. He was very gracious in getting back to me. He says everyone in the department reveres the First Amendment and that he can’t talk about any personnel issues involving Click.

Since events that day, many of the student protesters seem to have learned that their actions that day were inappropriate. I’d say that is what school is all about. Lord knows I did some things at college for which I’m less than proud.

You can read the New York Times next-day story here. And this is a very well-reasoned response from the Columbia Journalism Review.



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