My first assignment (and I'm using "assignment" here in the "homework" sense, not the "job" one) as a journalism student was to cover a stop-and-frisk rally in front of the NYPD headquarters. Cornel West was there, because of course he was. He was joined by 20 or so journalism students hoping to be confused for professionals and a few genuine professionals who had stopped by, because not stopping by would throw the relationship between the press and the press-friendly into complete disarray.
The day started with a press conference, followed by a 15-minute march to a courthouse, because you have to march somewhere. Marching is telegenic, plus it stretches out the time of an event, but this all happened on a Wednesday, and people had work, lunch breaks being only so long, after all.
Other than the speakers at the rally, some people I took to be their close acquaintances, and the press, no one showed up. By the time the march started, Cornel West had disappeared.
I've been to a couple protests since, and they've all followed that model, which is why it was refreshing to report on a rally this past weekend where thousands of people felt compelled to voice their support.
It was an immigration rally in Brooklyn. Trying to get at a story that's a little different than the Latino angle, I was there to cover a group of Middle Easterners whose problems are pretty much the same as those of the the Latino community, except people also call them terrorists.
There was a march across the Brooklyn Bridge, because of course there was.