NATO Summit Resources

Get Ready for NATO

With the NATO summit approaching, the Chicago Headline Club will try to compile as many tips and resources for local journalists here. If you have any more links or tips to share, please send them to and we’ll add them to the site.


These are notes from a meeting Wednesday that a number of news outlets held with Chicago Police officials in order to establish and understand the ground rules for covering the upcoming events here. Hugh Dellios of the AP, and a new Headline Club board member, did an outstanding job in getting the meeting set up and lining up news outlets to join in the effort. I urge you to go over these points and if possible keep a printed copy on you. Likewise, keep a list of the pro bono attorneys. If you are arrested,endangered or harmed while covering the events, make sure you notify police that you are a journalist and you want your news outlet, colleagues, pro bono or company attorneys or the Chicago Headline  Club notified. Keep these numbers handy. Steve Franklin, my cell is 773 595 8667, 


 Debra Kirby, chief of the Chicago Police Department Office of International Relations, said it is not the intent of Chicago Police to limit or otherwise interfere with coverage of protests and other events related to the NATO summit.  The department anticipates that members of the media will be accompanying protesters.


 Kirby said the department is not endorsing a formal embedding policy (reporters/crews will not be assigned to tag along with specific police units).


 The department is cognizant that not everyone covering the protests has a NATO or Chicago Police credential.  Kirby said credentials from other jurisdictions as well as from the US State Department will be honored, and she recommends that they be worn on a lanyard.  At the same time, she is also aware that those who did so in New York encountered problems from protesters; doing so in such circumstances is a judgment call.  If there is any question, reporters will be allowed to pull credentials from their pockets to show to police on the street.


      Police will allow credentialed reporters access to press sites at the various events. Access privileges for those without such credentials is less clear and you need to keep this in mind.


 Information will be released through two joint incident command centers, effective Friday.


U.S. Secret Service (Security-related information and arrest 


tallies): (312) 469-1440


City/OEMC: (312) 746-9454


Chicago Police News Affairs (generally for non-NATO-related 


information):  (312) 745-6110


 In addition, she said that Chicago Police lieutenants and captains “on the ground” will have access to most information.  At minimum, OEMC will host one briefing a day on activities relating to the summit at OEMC headquarters, 1411 W. Madison St., probably in the evening. She said information will be relayed to news desks with sufficient time to set up.  More will be scheduled if events warrant, but Kirby does not know that it would be the wisest use of a news organization’s staff to place someone at OEMC full-time.  


News Affairs Director Melissa Stratton is checking to see if the briefings can be webcast.


 She said that media access generally will be the same as public access.  Credentials will, however, allow media personnel access to media-only areas.  No “cutting” in and out of police lines will be permitted, or “going up against their backs.”  Those who follow protesters onto private property to document their actions are also will be subject to arrest if laws are broken.


      This is a critical point. If you are carrying costly equipment, you might want to consider how to pass off your equipment if you face possible arrest.


 Any member of the media who is arrested will have to go through the same booking process as anyone else.  Release of equipment depends on what part the equipment played in the events that led to the arrest.


There will not be any quick personal recognizance bond just for media members.


 Kirby said that the Chicago Police Department does not intend to “break ground” in terms of enforcing the Illinois eavesdropping law.  


In short, police will not interfere if we videotape or record audio of police activities, including arrests.  However, the attorney for the CPD noted that the recent federal appeals court ruling, overturning the state law, applies only to the ACLU, which challenged the law, and until it is rescinded, Cook County prosecutors can take legal action under the law. Keep that point in mind.


Likewise, Kirby says the department has no intention of “kettling” protesters as they did on Chicago Avenue during antiwar protests in 2003; there will be plenty of warning by loudspeaker to clear or avoid specific areas before arrests are undertaken;  however, those reporters who choose to disregard such warnings are subject to arrest.  To date, the department has seen no evidence that protesters are turning on media representatives as happened in New York.  She urges media to keep safety in mind and to “not become the story.”


 If there is a problem, Office of News Affairs Director Melissa Stratton can be contacted through Chicago Police News Affairs.  If you text message her office, please say in the body of the text who you are and what news organization you represent.


 Chicago Police command will be broken down by sector, and the department has made efforts to provide media parking for large planned events.  These parking zones are effective from 8 p.m. Friday until 6 p.m. Monday.  They include:




Petrillo/Grant Park/Art Institute events:


Columbus Drive: Both curbs from Jackson to Monroe, but not blocking 


the entrance to the Art Institute.




South of Loop/River


9th Street: both curbs, Wabash to Michigan


Upper Randolph: south curb, Columbus to Field Drive




Nurses Rally (only on Friday)


Randolph, south curb, Clark to LaSalle


Clark, east curb, Randolph to Lake




North of River


East Lake Shore Dr.: north curb, mid-block to inner LSD


Mies Van Der Rohe Ct.: west curb, Chicago to Pearson


Upper Cityfront Plaza Dr.: west curb, North Water to Illinois (no 


satellite trucks)




McCormick Place/end of protest


Cermak Road: south curb, State to Clark


24th Street, both curbs, State to Federal




 The National Nurses’ Union has control of the parking area for the Friday rally and concert.  On Sunday, the CANG8 protest group will set up the media bullpen.  In addition, police say they will attempt to set up media parking and bullpen locations along march routes as they determine what is happening.




 The Sunday march steps off at 2 p.m. and is anticipated to take two hours and 15 minutes to cover the 2.64 miles.  On Sunday, no risers will be provided at Cermak/Michigan in the bullpen area for the concluding ceremonies of the big march. Cameras will have to shoot over one another. Space is constrained at the end of the march for the 


general public.   Parking Sunday will be at Cermak/State and dispersal 


of the crowd will be to the west.  Kirby does NOT recommend that reporters who march along the parade route try to get into the media bullpen at the end of the march; she said it will be possible, but it will not be easy to do so.


 If a suspicious package is found or an area is cordoned off because of a potential bomb, the area cleared will depend on the threat that is posed.  Media will be allowed as close as possible, but that is an event-by-event call.


 Reporters who carry backpacks should be prepared to show their content to police. You may be asked to fire up and demonstrate any equipment that does not look familiar to officers.


 Those who have negotiated parking on private property should inform CPD News Affairs if they have not already done so.  Police may check to make certain that vehicles are parked on private property with consent of the owner.  Unmarked vehicles should have Chicago Police news media vehicle identification cards displayed at all times.


 It is the intent of Chicago Police to provide close access, with direct vision and contact with those entering and leaving events/marches/rallies.  But police emphasized that those who choose to walk amid the protesters are “on your own.” The department cannot guarantee the safety of those who do so and cannot guaranteed that they can extract any reporter who ends up the target of protesters.


      (Note that safety experts advise against being caught between active protestors and police)


 Repeatedly, the speakers stressed that the rights of the media are the same as those of the general public.


 Police say if a street is “stripped” of parking, and no parking is allowed for the general public, outside of the aforementioned locations, it is done for a reason.  KIRBY STRONGLY SUGGESTS THAT VANS AND CARS BE SENT WITH DRIVERS SO THAT IF WORKING PRESS MEMBERS MUST LEAVE THE VEHICLE, IT REMAINS ATTENDED.  She said Chicago Police will not hesitate to tow city-owned vehicles if they are in “stripped” areas, so media representatives should expect to be cut no slack with live trucks or other vehicles that are parked where prohibited.

Legal Help: 


The law firm of Mandell Menkes has specifically agreed to represent journalists covering the NATO summit. Its office phone is (312) 251-1000. Attorney Steve Mandell may also be reached at (312) 215-1001, and Attorney Steve Baron may be reached at (312) 505-4452.

The 24-hour hotline for attorneys at the Reporters Committee for a Free Press is 800-336-4243. 

Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, is also available. He can be reached at (716) 566-1484, (716) 983-7800 (cell) or (716) 608-1509 (fax). 


NATO Summit Reporting Help Desk from

Here’s a webinar from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Resources from the ACLU

Illinois’ eavesdropping law

Victory for First Amendment Right to Audio Record Police

Chicago police won’t enforce eavesdropping law during NATO summit, city says (Chicago Tribune)

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin — NATO 2012 Summit in Chicago

Experts for stories (from Kent College of Law and DePaul University): 

Bartram Brown, professor and co-director of the International and Comparative Law program, (312) 906-5046,

Dean Krent, tensions between personal privacy and security of the masses, First Amendment issues, Illinois eavesdropping law, (312) 906-5010,

Sheldon Nahmod, First Amendment issues (speech, association, peaceably assemble, press), (312) 906-5261,

Richard Kling, arrests, criminal trespass, Illinois eavesdropping law, (312) 514-5120,

Daniel Coyne, arrests, criminal trespass, Illinois eavesdropping law, (312) 906-5077,

Douglas Godfrey, former prosecutor, arrests, criminal trespass, (312) 906-5283,

Issues Related to NATO Countries:

Turkey: Professor Ozan Varol, (312) 906-5366,

Canada: Sarah Harding, (312) 906-5227,

Croatia & Albania: Henry H. Perritt Jr., (312) 906-5098,


J.D. Bindenagel, vice president, Community, Government and International Affairs. A former U.S. ambassador with 28 years of experience in the American diplomatic corps, Bindenagel can talk about NATO, the euro crisis and Afghanistan. He is an expert on U.S. relations with Europe, particularly Germany. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he speaks German fluently. He can be reached at (312) 362-7579 or


Leonard Cavise, professor, College of Law. Cavise can discuss First Amendment issues related to summit protesters, and police and legal issues related to the summits. He speaks Spanish and French. Cavise can be reached at (312) 362-6841 or


Kaveh Ehsani, assistant professor, international studies. He can discuss dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, international sanctions and threats of military confrontation. Ehsani is an expert on the politics, economy and culture of the Middle East, particularly Iran, and the geopolitics of Iran and Afghanistan. He is co-editor of the journal Middle East Report and an editorial board member of an Iranian quarterly publication. He can be reached at (773) 325-7642 or


Dick Farkas, professor, political science. He can discuss the dilemma NATO faces in the Balkans, where tensions are rising due to instability in Kosovo and the failing government in Bosnia despite the provisions of the Dayton Accords. Author of “Democratization in the Balkans.” He can be reached at (773) 325-1977 or


David Franklin, vice dean, College of Law. He can discuss free speech issues raised by G-8, NATO planning and protests. Franklin is a constitutional scholar and former law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He can be reached at (312) 362-5226


Animesh Ghoshal, professor, economics. He can discuss what will be accomplished at the G-8 summit and why it attracts protesters and controversy. He is an expert on international business and economic development, trade policy and protectionism, North American Free Trade Association, European economic integration, and exchange rates. He can be reached at (312) 362-8008 or


Thomas Maier, assistant professor, or Chris Roberts, director, School of Hospitality Leadership. They can talk about the impact of the summits on the local tourism industry. Maier can be reached at (312) 362-6049 or; Roberts can be reached at (312) 362-6777


Khalil Marrar, visiting assistant professor, political science. He can explain what the G-8 Summit accomplishes, what the big issues will be and why it causes such controversy and attracts protesters. Marrar’s expertise includes peace and conflict resolution, terrorism, globalization, multiculturalism and democracy. Author of “The Arab Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy: The Two-State Solution.” Marrar can be reached at (773) 325-8682 or


Thomas Mockaitis, professor, history. Based on his work in international security, Mockaitis can discuss security concerns and precautions for both summits as well as issues faced by NATO. A conflict historian, Mockaitis is an expert on U.N. operations in the Middle East, U.S.-European relations, general Western European history and current events, NATO, peacekeeping missions, the European Union, and contemporary conflicts. He can be reached at (773) 325-7471


Antonio E. Morales-Pita, invited assistant professor, economics. He can speak about the international political economy, emerging economies, the European Union and European financial crisis. He is fluent in Spanish and Russian. He can be reached at (773) 791-1864


Joe Schwieterman, professor, public service and director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Planning. He can discuss the transportation logistics and economic impacts of the summit. He can be reached at (312) 362-5732 or


Erik Tillman, professor, political science. He can talk about the role, interests and actions of any of the European members participating in the G-8 Summit, as well as the European Union. He can also discuss public opinion, protests and controversies surrounding the G-8. He can be reached at (773) 325-4131 or


Patricia Werhane, Wicklander Chair in Business Ethics, College of Commerce. She can discuss global poverty, education, global corruption, the debt crisis, job creation in the G-8 countries, and the future of G-8 economics in light of the economic development in Brazil, Russia, India and China. She can be reached at (312) 362-8793 or

International News Safety Institute Tips Covering Civil Unrest


Before you head out


  • Make sure your accreditation/identification is in order and easily accessible.
  • In case of tear gas, carry a bandana soaked in onion, lemon, or vinegar, which neutralizes irritation. Milk of magnesia washes out pepper spray.
  • Don’t wear contact lenses. Bring eye drops and spare glasses.
  • If there’s a chance you might be pepper-sprayed, don’t wear face crème or cosmetics. They burn on contact.
  • Use earplugs to help neutralize sound cannons.
  • Wear comfortable boots that you can run in.
  • Don natural fabrics, which are less flammable than synthetic fabrics.
  • Prepare a backpack with supplies to last a day: lightweight raingear, energy bars and water, spare batteries for electronic equipment.
  • Have an editor/ point person number on speed dial
  • Have the NLG number on your arm and on speed dial. (For Chicago.: 312-913-0039). Give this number to your editor/point person to call in case you are arrested and cannot be located.
  • If possible, explore the terrain ahead of time. Are there stores you can dart into? Can you arrange to film from a high vantage point? Negotiate a “safe” place where you can retreat if mayhem erupts.
  • Contact protest organizers/ check Facebook event: is there a planned march route? Are there Twitter hashtags to follow?
  • Research local police tactics is kettling/ tear gas/ pepper spray likely?

At the scene

  • Don’t go alone. Get someone to watch your back if you’re shooting pictures.
  • As soon as you arrive, spot escape routes and look for landmarks like a tall building or lamppost. It’s easy to get disoriented in a crowd.
  • Stay on the edge and do not get caught between police and protestors.
  • Crowds have a life of their own. Stay aware of the prevailing mood. Keep police and protester motivations in mind.
  • Alert your editor/ point person if the scene turns angry.
  • If planning to move, seek advice from people who have just come from the direction you’re heading.
  • Television crews should travel as light as possible. If experiencing aggression, leave the tripod behind so that you can run fast.

When trouble erupts

  • Avoid horses. They bite and kick.
  • Stand upwind from tear gas.
  • Maintain a safe distance from violence.
  • Repeat to police officers that you are press. Keep note of officers badge numbers as names.


NLG Chicago: 312-913-0039         News safety hashtag: #journosafety