Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Drop That Tape Recorder!

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Drop That Tape Recorder!

Article excerpt

Reporting while black

Sean Gonsalves, Cape Cod Times

'Driving while black' has entered the lexicon as a term for police targeting of African Americans for traffic offenses real or imagined. Now, a Cape Cod Times columnist's bizarre run-in with two Eastham, Mass., police officers is stirring talk of another racially charged phenomenon: reporting while black.

The May 21 incident would have been unusual even without the

police. Sean Gonsalves, a 29-year-old African-American columnist and reporter for the Times, had gone to heavily traveled Route 6 to interview Arthur Blessitt, a born-again Christian from Florida who says he has hiked across 281 nations carrying a 12-foot-long cross. With traffic noise in the background, Gonsalves was holding his tape recorder close to Blessitt when an Eastham squad car appeared.

"I thought he was going to say, 'Look, you have got to move on because it's a traffic hazard,'" Gonsalves said. Instead, he asserted, the officer began shouting, "Get your hands in the air! …

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