2016 is poised to be an eventful year for journalists. The most obvious are the national conventions for the two major political parties and the presidential election in November.
Recently, CNN Money reported that Cleveland is in the market for 2,000 sets of riot armor, including upper body and shoulder protection, elbow and forearm protectors, hard-shell shin guards, and tactical hard-knuckle gloves, plus 2,000 batons. The city seems to be preparing for use of bricks and bottles. In addition, Cleveland is seeking two dozen sets of ballistic body armor with visors, face shields and vests; 2,500 steel barriers; three horse trailers; 2,400 hydration packs; 300 bicycles; and 310 bicycle helmets.
Following brief skirmishes in Chicago during a recent GOP rally, which involved a crowd inside of about 25,000, and a crowd outside with roughly 5,000, the national conventions will need to plan for much larger crowds, more organized protest groups, and the possibility for flash fires, property damage, and personal injuries.
A few journalists were detained, and it’s not clear whether they were rounded up with groups or singled out specifically. We will see in the aftermath, but this is a clear example of what reporters face when covering civil unrest, riots, and political events with large numbers of attendees and protesters.