U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Multimedia journalist assaulted while reporting in Charlotte

Incident Details

Date of Incident
November 1, 2019

Assault

Was the journalist targeted?
Yes
November 1, 2019

Paige Pauroso, a multimedia journalist for WBTV, a CBS-affiliate station based in Charlotte, North Carolina, was assaulted while filming b-roll in the city on Nov. 1, 2019.

Pauroso, who did not respond to messages requesting comment, posted a video to Twitter that shows a woman approaching Pauroso as she’s carrying a camera atop a tripod toward a couple of cars. Approximately 5 seconds into the clip, the woman hits Pauroso in the head, knocking it into the camera. The woman appears to then say something to Pauroso and walk away.

According to a police report shared with the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, the assault occurred shortly before 1 p.m. at the intersection of North Sharon Amity Road and Campbell Drive.

Pauroso wrote an account of the incident: “This woman verbally and then physically attacked me for just doing my job. I tried to diffuse the situation by deleting the clips she might have been in (she was walking on a public street). But it was obviously she hated me for just being in the neighborhood with a camera.”

Pauroso wrote that she was “a little shaken up” and her head was sore from where it hit the camera; she also confirmed that she had filed a police report about the incident.

“I’m ok, thankfully. But I know this situation could have been worse,” Pauroso wrote. “I’m not sure exactly the point of this post other than to remind other journalists to be careful. And for those outside the biz, your local journalists aren’t the enemy, we’re your neighbors.”

Pauroso also noted that safety concerns are an ongoing conversation among multimedia journalists — many of whom are young women — as they often report in the field alone.

Officer Thomas Hildebrand, a spokesperson for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, told the Tracker the case is still open and no one has been charged.

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