Until that moment, few people in Denver — including other journalists — were aware that some news outlets hire private security to escort their staffs. Media experts say it’s a practice increasingly used by local media, particularly TV stations, since the 2015 Ferguson police protests and the 2016 campaign of President Donald Trump.
“The environment for news reporters and media crews has become more dangerous in recent years,” said Robert Mahoney, deputy executive director for the Committee to Protect Journalists. “You’re out there covering stories against the backdrop of people seeing the media as the ‘enemy of the people.’ There’s background music of hostility against the media before you even get out on the streets.”
In Denver, 9News and Denver7 acknowledged in statements after the shooting that they hire security guards and request that they be unarmed. Fox31 Vice President and General Manager Byron Grandy and CBS Denver News Director Tim Wieland would not discuss whether their stations provided bodyguards to journalists while covering local news.