Junior Skye Aitken, co-editor-in-chief and culture editor of The Campus Citizen, IUPUI’s independent, student-run media, attended and covered the Indianapolis protests against racial inequality in late May and early June.
Aitken said she was nervous about covering the protests on the first day, but slowly started to feel more comfortable.
“Originally, I had no press pass, so I was in the crowd experiencing everything exactly as protesters experienced it,” she said. “[At times] I thought that I should back off or move out of the way, but once you are in it, you feel compelled to report it and experience it. Reporting on the protests has reminded me why I fell in love with journalism when I was younger.”
Aitken said she wanted to live-tweet from the protests to provide people with a student perspective, and a perspective of what it feels like to be in the crowd rather than on the sidelines. She had to think ahead and come prepared, though.
“I wore goggles, a mask, protective clothing, and brought a mixture to pour on my face in case of tear gas,” she said. Her preparations came in handy.
“[The mixture] felt like liquid gold after being tear-gassed,” she said. “When I was tear-gassed, I couldn’t see and was blinking to try to get through [the crowd] without being hit again.”
Aitken said the scariest moment for her was on June 1 when a group of protesters was approaching the Governor’s Mansion and she spotted a line of officers. After previous clashes between protestors and police, she said she felt anxious about what the officers would do to people. Eventually, the protestors moved back downtown.
“Without The Campus Citizen or my IUPUI Journalism classes, I would not be where I am,” she said. “With my experience, skills and knowledge, I felt prepared to take on something like this.”
“Journalists are risking their lives to be out there and I think that should justify subscribing to your local newspaper or reading your student publication,” said Aitken. “I hope everyone continues to follow the updates made by journalists and reaches out to them to say thank you.”