How a St. Louis Suburb Became a War Zone

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All eyes have been on Ferguson, Missouri since the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson on Saturday, August 9. The daily and nightly protests since escalated on Wednesday night into a full blown confrontation between the demonstrators and the police. “It was the kind of sight that I understand why people could look at this from around the world and around the country and say it looks like a war zone, and that’s how it felt,” Trymaine Lee, national reporter for MSNBC, told Brooke Gladstone from Ferguson, where he has been reporting all week.

Lee talks candidly with Brooke about how far we’ve since the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Hashtag efforts like #IfTheyGunnedMeDown are a start, but Lee says that “how we’re choosing our photos and the images we’re putting out there is still a direct reflection of a lack of diversity in the newsroom.” Covering tragedies like Brown’s death are difficult for Lee, but he feels a personal responsibility to continue. “As a black journalist who is tasked with trying to go out the stories about, again, how we live and how we die and how Americans suffer, and how we overcome, and how our institutions have failed us, it does weigh on you. But if not me, who else?” Listen to the full interview here.