Political News - Conservative Views - Education - Solutions
Unicorn Riot is a decentralized, volunteer-run media collective. A non-profit organization, it originated online in 2015. The non-hierarchical media organization operates in the US cities of Denver, Boston, New York City, and Minneapolis. They produce live streams of rallies and protests and are funded by viewer donations.
Unicorn Riot has maintained a channel on livestream.org since May 2015. Besides creating live video of protests, the media collective also engages in investigative journalism, producing web series, video packages, blogs, and podcasts. They have published documents obtained through open records requests, including a copy of the Denver Police Department Crowd Management Manual. They also produce the weekly news show Deprogram. Unicorn Riot releases its content under a Creative Commons license.
The founding members of Unicorn Riot met while filming direct actions in support of Tar Sands Blockade and Occupy Wall Street. Some had previously worked for online news outlets and had grown frustrated with news organizations that failed to publish their work. The founders of Unicorn Riot started meeting in Minneapolis in the fall of 2014. Among the founders were Andrew Neef, Niko Georgiades, Ray Weiland, and Lorenzo Serna. Unicorn Riot seeks to amplify the voices of people from marginalized communities and to broadcast and bring context to stories that are not picked up by the mainstream media. Early on, they documented the Ferguson protests following the shooting of Michael Brown. During the next year, Unicorn Riot registered as an educational 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Unicorn Riot journalists are often embedded in protests, and film from the front lines. Members of the media collective have been repeatedly targeted for arrest by law enforcement officers and often have their cameras and equipment confiscated. Their press credentials have also been challenged by the police.
Unicorn Riot has documented a number of rallies and protests related to the Black Lives Matter movement. Following the November 2015 shooting of Jamar Clark in Minneapolis, Unicorn Riot maintained a live stream of the occupation of the Minneapolis Police Department's 4th Precinct station. The media collective also documented the protests that took place following the shooting of Philando Castile, including blockages of interstate freeways.
In Denver, Colorado, Unicorn Riot live streamed the removal of homeless encampments, including an eviction that took place during a blizzard on the morning of December 15, 2015.
During the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, Unicorn Riot was one of the first media groups to be present when Standing Rock Sioux tribe members set up the Sacred Stone Camp on April 1, 2016. The media collective has maintained a near continuous presence at the pipeline protests. Video from Unicorn Riot showing a crowd of protesters being sprayed with water cannons during sub-zero temperatures was used to contradict police reports that the cannons were only being used to put out fires. Four Unicorn Riot reporters were arrested in September and October 2016. Chris Schiano and Georgiades were arrested on September 13 as they were filming protesters who had locked themselves to equipment being used to construct the pipeline. Reporter Jenn Schreiter was arrested in October while reporting on a lockdown at a DAPL construction site in Iowa.