Editors were working overtime, especially when tents were set up and protesters stayed overnight or when an eviction was imminent. From journalism on the edges of current affairs, to working in the focus of attention with an editorial team many times smaller than that of the regional and national media, which are also more equipped for this kind of ad hoc journalism.

For EM a fortnight ago, that also meant dropping everything we were working on and, due to the closure of the campus, setting up our editorial office elsewhere. Close enough to cover the announced demonstration but also dry (and with coffee!) to work properly. And halfway through the day, when it was announced that the demonstration would not take place on campus but near the central station, we packed up all our equipment and gear and moved to a new location that served as a temporary editorial office for the rest of the afternoon.

And as it goes when the pressure gets high: then a lot can be done, and everyone does a lot. Of course, this kind of current affairs also makes our journalist hearts beat faster. This is what you do it for; being where the action is and reporting on what is happening for your readers who want to be informed. In this sense, we are all on the same side: as a journalistic independent medium, you play an important role in university democracy, just like the participation councils and the right to demonstrate.

Colleagues at the other action sites around the country also reported journalistically on the protests. Unfortunately, not always to the delight of the protesters, who preferred not to talk to the press, or not to be photographed, and did not always make it easy for the university and other media to do their job.

Foto_werken op cs_dag van protest_foto door Tessa
Being away from the office for a day requires creative solutions. Image credit: Tessa Hofland

What the protesters had cleverly done, however, was to set up their tents right next to the editorial offices of our colleagues in Nijmegen en Groningen. But the fun stopped there. As it turned out, the protesters were not so keen on media attention. For instance, the protesters in Groningen referred to their Instagram page for any comment and the photographer in Nijmegen was annoyingly followed while trying to do his job.

Here in Rotterdam, things are going well so far. Although here, too, EM’s photographer was asked not to depict the protesters recognisably. That’s allowed of course, you don’t have to cooperate with the journalist’s work. But it is ultimately the responsibility of the attendees themselves not to be in the picture recognisably; the photographer, and also the reporter, is only trying to capture an image of reality at the time, and that may include facial expressions.

In Rotterdam, things are quiet again but for how long? And while it is not for me to give tips, let me just say that the best camping spot on campus is right near our editorial office.

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