Ole Miss journalism students stand by reporting on protests - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Ole Miss journalism students defend reports on protest

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One of the reporters who caught video of Ole Miss protest One of the reporters who caught video of Ole Miss protest
From Newswatch's video on Ole Miss Protests From Newswatch's video on Ole Miss Protests
OXFORD, MS -

(WMC-TV) – Ole Miss journalists were a few of the first to cover the protests on the university campus following the presidential election.

How the demonstration escalated the people burning signs and yelling racial slurs is still unclear.

Reporters like Jon Monteith and Stewart Pirani rushed to the scene where they recorded video of police trying to get some of the unruly students under control.

"We interviewed at least 15 people and just about all of them used the word ‘riot'," said Monteith.

Action News 5 relayed what campus media was reporting. But as the scene calmed, authorities told Stewart Pirani there were no injuries or property damage that are typical in riots.

"We didn't see any violent actions so therefore we did change it to the word protest," said Pirani.

For the journalism students, because of the racial slurs and startling pictures, this was a story they had to tell.

"I as a student of Ole Miss was upset and distraught of how we acted, but as a journalist I felt the need to report on that," said Pirani.

And now as the campus is reacting to national headlines, some have been criticized by fellow students and staff. But with all of the rumors flying around social media, these two stand behind their decisions, because without pictures, what happened on election night may never have come to light.

"This was also in a way to defend Ole Miss in the coverage we did because we had to show what happened," said Monteith.

"Journalism is about getting out the truth to the best of our knowledge and I believe that that's what we did," Pirani added.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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