By Charlie Deitch
Pittsburgh Current Editor
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has sidelined a second black journalist from covering the protests that have been occurring daily over the death of black citizens killed by police across the country and the history of police violence against black Pittsburghers.
Just like @alexisjreports I have been barred from covering any protest related stories. @PittsburghPG has chosen to silence two of it most prominent Black journalist during one of the most important civil rights stories that is happening across our country! https://t.co/ppIHrAyiOd
— Michael M. Santiago (@msantiagophotos) June 6, 2020
In the past two days, The P-G and its increasingly alt-right leaning ownership/editor have removed Santiago, a Pulitzer-Prize winning photographer and Alexis Johnson, a P-G reporter who has been one of the few black journalists covering the protests that have been ongoing for the past seven days.
Johnson was removed from coverage after sending the following tweet a few days ago.
Horrifying scenes and aftermath from selfish LOOTERS who don’t care about this city!!!!!
…. oh wait sorry. No, these are pictures from a Kenny Chesney concert tailgate. Whoops. pic.twitter.com/lKRNrBsltU
— Alexis Johnson (@alexisjreports) May 31, 2020
Johnson’s removal was protested by the paper’s union, the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh and its members on June 6, who tweeted her original tweet under their own names. Then on Friday, PG management pulled two stories related to the protests by guild members and writers Ashley Murray and Lauren Lee without explanation.
Yesterday, dozens of our members shared this post, word for word, in a showing of solidarity with @alexisjreports. By Friday night, in our view, the Post-Gazette’s retaliation began. https://t.co/e5zV2EXmPi pic.twitter.com/DTf20kBqPR
— Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh 🗞 (@PGNewsGuild) June 6, 2020
PG staffers showed their outrage on social media:
This is crazy. I’m sorry for you, Michael, and sorry for Pittsburgh.
— Brian O'Neill (@brotheroneill) June 6, 2020
So did Astead W. Herndon, national politics Reporter for the New York Times.
— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) June 6, 2020
On the day before Santiago was removed from coverage, this is some of the work he did for the Post-Gazette.
Members of the medical community and staff from UPMC Presbyterian Hospital took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds the length of time a police officer kneeled on the neck of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota and subsequently killing him. (Michael M. Santiago/Post-Gazette) pic.twitter.com/ZSpYdVMn5z
— Michael M. Santiago (@msantiagophotos) June 5, 2020
On Friday,when asked for comment from the Pittsburgh Current, Brian Cook, president of the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation said, “To remove one of very few African American news reporters – in the entire city of Pittsburgh – from a beat where she could make a difference, is not only troubling, it is abhorrent.”