U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Alaska radio reporter attacked while covering abortion demonstration

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 21, 2019
Soldotna, Alaska


Was the journalist targeted?
Courtesy Jennifer Williams

Jennifer Williams, News Director for Alaska-based KSRM Radio Groups, shows the lacerations and bruising she received when an object was thrown at her while she was reporting.

— Courtesy Jennifer Williams
May 21, 2019

KSRM Radio Groups News Director Jennifer Williams was assaulted while covering a Planned Parenthood rally on May 21, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska.

Williams was covering the rally and speaking to both pro-choice advocates and anti-abortion counterprotesters. According to Craig Medred, an independent journalist in Alaska, Williams had finished interviewing an anti-abortion protester, and walked across the street to speak to a pro-choice advocate when she felt an object hit her face.

She told Craig Medred News that she saw a car speed past and someone tell her she was “going to hell.” Williams did not initially realize that she had seriously been hit, and she and the person she was interviewing moved closer to the large group of protesters.

When Williams got into her truck to leave later, she realized that she was bleeding and the hit was more serious than she thought initially.

Later that evening, Williams tweeted that she had been attacked.

Williams told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that she does not know who attacked her, but she has filed “a police report with the Soldotna Police Department in hopes of getting some information on who made the attack and hopefully prevent it from happening again.”

Craig Medred News reported that Williams had received an outpouring of support from anti-abortion and pro-choice advocates since the attack.

“Both rallies, the pro- and the anti- have been great,” Williams said. “We live in a small community where people are generally pretty tolerant.”

On May 23, Williams tweeted a video thanking her supporters and emphasizing that she hopes the attack will not deter journalists from covering the news, or activists from voicing their opinions.

“I was out there just trying to do my job, and they were out there just trying to stand up for what they believe in,” she said. “We all have one common goal in this life.”

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].