Monday, February 16, 2009

Josh Wolf mugged in San Francisco

Josh Wolf, who was jailed a record 226 days for protecting source materials, reports that he has now been mugged in San Francisco by an inmate he met in prison.

Wolf printed an account of his Feb. 4 mugging in the Palo Alto Daily Post, where he works as a reporter.

Wolf identified his attacker at Terrell Trammell, 28, who he met at the Dublin Federal Detention Center three years earlier. Wolf said he didn’t know why Trammell decided to mug him.

After work one evening, Wolf said he ran into Trammell at Volare’s Pizza at 456 Haight St., struck up a conversation and then left.
    As I walked home with a box of pizza in one hand and two sodas in the other, I heard Trammell call from across the street, “Got a light?”

    I awkwardly fished out a lighter from my pocket as he crossed the street. But when I went to hand it to him, I was greeted with a punch to the face. The pizza went flying.

    I lost my glasses and called out for help, as a quick series of jabs to the face continued. But my cries were only greeted by a friend of his I had first seen at the pizza place coming to his aid. I fell to the ground asking, “What do you want?” as I began to wonder if this was a robbery or simply a beating. The punches became kicks. I shielded my face.

    “Let’s go,” said the friend as the kicks continued.

    Trammell then grabs me by the jacket and reaches into my inner pocket, where he had likely seen me put my iPhone after I got a call at the pizza place. He grabs my left pocket, where my car and house keys are kept. He tears the pocket, but runs away with his friend before he can grab the keys.

    Blood squirting from my nose, heart pounding, I lie on the ground for a moment, collecting myself as I watch the feet of my two assailants dart away.
Wolf reports that Trammell is now in jail on robbery charges. He is not eligible for bail because he is on federal probation.

Wolf was sent to prison in 2006 by federal Judge William Alsup after he refused to testify before a federal grand jury about the identities and activities of protesters he had covered for his video blog, and for refusing to surrender his video outtakes. He was held in contempt of court for 226 days and was released after posting the video to his Web site.

[Full disclosure: The Press Club's webmaster is Dave Price, an owner of the Daily Post.]


Anonymous said...

So, did Josh Wolf ever go to j-school where you learned the "rules" of journalism?
And does his hiring by the Daily Post now make him a "real" reporter compared to this wannabe reporter?
The Daily Post follows in the SF Chronicle's footsteps, if newspapers say Wolf is a journalist, then he must be. After almost 30 year of being in journalism, I am dismayed at the way journalism is going.
Josh Wolf's antics, which rightfully landed him in jail, are no different than if a "citizen" journalist had refused to give up his/her "notes."

Robert Holmgren said...

Josh Wolf's account as decribed in the Palo Alto Post also describes his ambivalence about contacting the police but without giving the predicate to those feelings. He then says that without a witness the DAs office will not prosecute, even though this incident landed the perp back in jail.

Tom D said...

Dear Anonymous, what are the "rules" of journalism? I've got even longer in the business than you and I don't think I know what the rules are. And who does get to declare someone a journalist? Newspapers can't decide, you suggest. Okay. Then who?

I say anybody who wishes can be a journalist. I mean, if Katie Couric and Matt Drudge, why not Wolf? Or me? Or you?

Anonymous said...

This guy is a joke. Calling him a reporter is a slap in the face to every working journalist who actually learned their craft. I've seen better writing in a 5th grade composition class. No wonder newspapers are going under.

You would think the Daily Post could find some real talent with all the recent layoffs of qualified people.

"B4 I got this job i cudn't even spel jernalist, now i r one"

Anonymous said...

Tom D, if there are no rules then why not let anyone and everyone with a camera, notepad and pen become journalists. Oops, we are headed that way. We both know that there are rules, which include ethics, media law, fairness, and a host of other things we learn not on the job or through a blog.
Newspapers nowadays are hiring community college students, not even with an AA in hand, to write stories. Sad state of affairs. What's next, high school freshmen?
Just because Mr. Wolf had a camera in his hand does NOT make him a journalist. He was there to document the protest for his side. Since when did journalist take sides? He even admits that he learning that journalism is about being fair, not offering opinions, of getting the facts and letting the readers decide.
Of course, that makes the Daily Post a training newspaper for all those wannabe journalist who never went to school and took all the required classes.
Anyway, when readers realize that there are no real journalists out there anymore, that the valued tradition of being fair, of having ethics and proper training are gone, perhaps then we'll all cry for what's lost. Hopefully, that day will come sooner than later.

Anonymous said...

Back in the day, real reporters, editors and news photographers rarely described themselves as "journalists" -- that's a name academics have attached to the business, trying to make it sound more professional than it is.

Anonymous said...

If the first and fourth posters don't think Josh Wolf is a journalist, they probably don't think Thomas Paine or John Peter Zenger were either. Sheesh! Learn a bit about history before you slam somebody like Wolf.

Tom D said...

Oh, dear. I'm spending more time on this.
Anon says, "Since when did journalist[s] take sides?" Well, since the founding of our country. Objectivity is a rather new concept, and probably kind of silly at that. The journalists the Founders knew were rapid partisans, opinionated crazies, with not an AA among them
And, BTW, I don't have a degree at all. The Chicago Sun-Times hired me because I was good and I learned on the job.

Anonymous said...

Of course Wolf is a journalist-- he writes articles about contemporary events and has them published. Nothing else matters.

Anonymous said...

If anybody doubts Josh is a journalist, they should check out his series on red-light cameras that issue bogus tickets. He's definitely a solid reporter.