Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Remember when?

In response to a Twitter question I couldn't answer in under 140 characters:

2004 was the year of the Red Sox for Northeastern. It was also my freshman year, and as an overexcited genuine Red Sox fan living in Kennedy Hall, I lived in incredibly close proximity to Fenway Park throughout the storied playoff run. In fact, I found myself rioting celebrating outside the park on, I believe, six separate occasions that October.

The majority of those incidences were entirely peaceful. Following the win against the Angels and the first three wins against the Yankees, Lansdowne Street was a bedlam of jubilation, rather than that of destructive mentalities.

But the final win against the Yankees, after Game 7 (where the result was never really in doubt), the mob got unruly.  BPD officers were summoned to try and control the crowds behind the Monster, and several patrolmen were armed with specialized guns that fire pepper pellets.  These pellets are designed to disperse crowds; think projectile Mace.

Well, at some point during the evening, a BPD officer found cause to fire his pepper pellet gun into the crowd. The shot struck an Emerson student in the face, and she lay bleeding on the sidewalk.  Naturally, since this was the fifth such riot in only two weeks' time, several news organizations had photographers stationed near Lansdowne Street to respond to the riots celebrations. The photographer for the Boston Herald took a picture of a then-still-alive Victoria Snelgrove as she was treated on the sidewalk.

Snelgrove died between press time for the Herald and morning reveille. The Boston Herald had a picture of a bloodied (but, I repeat, alive) Victoria Snelgrove on pages A2 and A3.

Cue mass outrage.  The unwashed masses hollered in protest at the callous treatment of Snelgrove by the Herald, despite the fact that she had not died when the paper went to press.  Every journalism class in Boston discussed the merits of publishing that photo.  But NEU took it one step further and removed the free Boston Herald copies throughout campus.

Technically, it can't be proven (as far as I'm aware, anyway) that the removal was in response to the Snelgrove picture. But I don't recall there being any exhortations to the contrary from NEU administration. After another outcry from the student body about the injustice of the papers being taken, they were eventually restored. For the remainder of my college career (ending in 2009), the Boston Herald, Boston Globe, NU News (later Huntington News) and NU Voice were all available to students if they knew where and when to look.

The cowardice of the NEU administration wasn't forgotten by the JRN students, though.

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