by Cynthia Gordy
ProPublica, March 28, 2016,
Earlier this month Chicago voters decisively ousted Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. The prosecutor was at the center of controversy after the release of video showing the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald – a video that Alvarez tried to keep from public view for 13 months. Alvarez didn’t charge the officer until just before the video was released.
Brandon Smith, an independent journalist, forced public disclosure of the video (which sharply contradicted police’s recounting of events) by suing the city after his Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was denied. On this week’s podcast, Smith speaks with ProPublica senior reporter Julia Angwin about how he was the only journalist in Chicago to sue for the video, the challenges and benefits of practicing journalism independently in his free time, and his thoughts on what “counts” as journalism.
Journalist Brandon Smith talks to reporters after a Cook County judge ordered the Chicago Police Department to release a video of an officer fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Highlights from their conversation:
Listen to this podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher. For more, follow Smith’s work at brandonsmith.com.
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