Some Minnesota Journalists Embedded With Cops At GOP Confab


Some Minnesota journalists were “embedded” to observe police during this month’s Republican National Convention in St. Paul, but a few were “unembedded” when they were arrested with protesters, says when he was arrested along with at least a dozen journalists and hundreds of protesters on the Marion Street Bridge. Two “embeds” – the Star Tribune's David Chanen and the Pioneer Press' Mara Gottfried – suggested a rough concept to police weeks before the convention. They wanted to ride along with the “mobile field forces” patrolling the streets, or watch the coordination at the command center.

After internal discussions, the cops set the rules for what became embedding. The key provision was an embargo: Embeds could not report on police strategy until after the convention. Beyond that, Chanen recalls, “They said, 'We're not your babysitters; we're not looking out for your welfare, you're on your own.’ ” The carrot for reporters, other than inside access: They wouldn’t be told to leave the scene – even though some journalists were subject to arrest if they didn’t follow orders to disperse. Major-media journalists who were smart enough to ask about the embedding got in, but a St. Paul police official did some outreach among direct competitors. Greener or less-connected media likely never knew a “stay out of jail free” card was available.


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