BLM Protests & the Press in Philadelphia

Speaker(s): Denise Clay, Avi Wolfman-Arent, Muira McCammon

Virtual Roundtable: BLM Protests & the Press in Philadelphia

Join Philly journalists Denise Clay (Philadelphia Sunday Sun) and Avi Wolfman-Arent (WHYY) as they share their insights, expertise, and insider stories on covering the weeks of protest that followed the killing of George Floyd. In a conversation moderated by Annenberg Ph.D. candidate Muira McCammon, Clay and Wolfman-Arent will discuss what they experienced on the streets of Philadelphia and how local media outlets document police activity. Wolfman-Arent will speak to his own experiences of arrest and being charged with failure to disperse while covering the protests on May 31, 2020. Clay will share her own observations about longstanding systemic racial inequalities that have plagued Philadelphia’s media landscape and discuss the work of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists’ Media Monitoring Committee. 

Denise Clay is an independent journalist based in Philadelphia, specializing in politics. Clay is a regular contributor to the Philadelphia Sunday Sun, her work has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Magazine and on the websites Keystone News, XO Jane, AllDigitocracy,, the BBC, the Huffington Post, and the Australian Broadcasting Company. She was also the co-host of the “Mark and Denise In The Mornings” radio program on WWDB-AM 860. Clay has worked at a variety of news organizations including the Philadelphia Tribune, the Bucks County Courier Times, the Elmira Star-Gazette, and the Reading Eagle Times. She received her degree in Broadcast Journalism from Temple University and from 2003-2005, Clay served as president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, a founding chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. She currently serves as the chair of PABJ’s Media Monitoring Committee, which monitors the coverage of Philadelphia’s Black community in news outlets.

Avi Wolfman-Arent is the K-12 education reporter for WHYY, a position he’s held since 2016. He joined WHYY in 2014 as a Delaware-based education reporter. Prior to that he covered nonprofits for the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Wolfman-Arent’s radio career began at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He earned his undergraduate degree at Haverford College and grew up in the D.C. area.

Muira McCammon (@muira_mccammon) is a member of the Center for Media at Risk’s steering committee and is a Ph.D. candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. She holds a Master in Law from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a Master of Arts in Translation Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her research interests include journalistic coverage of U.S. detention facilities, administrative law, and the history of the US First Amendment. Prior to her doctoral studies, she covered Guantánamo as a journalist. Last year, under the auspices of the Media, Inequality and Change (MIC) Center and the Center for Media at Risk, she co-authored  “The Right to Know or The Right to No: Public Records Laws and Investigative Journalism in Philadelphia,” a report exploring the impacts and infrastructure of RTK laws through interviews with 16 Pennsylvania-based journalists. McCammon’s writings have appeared in Slate, The Massachusetts Review, How We Get to Next, and the Columbia Journalism Review.

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