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#OccupyHarrisburg Turnout Underwhelms


Occupy Wall Street recently came to south-central Pennsylvania by way of Occupy Harrisburg. Occupy Harrisburg began its occupation of the Capitol at 12:01 a.m. on October 15, 2011 and ran through the day. Various media outlets reported that the group would extend its occupation through October 16, 2011, although they would legally be required to move from the Capitol. This report offers a brief reference list of how local media covered Occupy Harrisburg and then provides my firsthand account of what happened along with analysis of the event.

How Local Media Covered Occupy Harrisburg:

Various south-central Pennsylvania media outlets reported on Occupy Harrisburg. Some of the stories are written by the local media outlets and others are AP feeds. I did not do an exhaustive search to see if the media outlets that ran AP feeds did stories of their own. Also, I did not check every single local media outlet, although I tried to choose some of the major ones. I’m linking to some of them so that the reader can compare and contrast how these media outlets reported on Occupy Harrisburg with how my report on it is.

The Patriot-News: Harrisburg, PA:

York Daily Record: York, PA:

The Sentinel: Carlisle, PA:

ABC 27, WHTM: Harrisburg, PA:

FOX 43, WPMT: York, PA:

My Coverage and Analysis:

I went to Harrisburg and watched the 12:01 a.m. (October 15, 2011) start of the Occupy Harrisburg event. The Capitol building in Harrisburg is located at the intersections of North Third Street and State Street. I estimated that there were between 100 and 125 people during the time I remained there. This intrigued me. I thought that such a relatively large number of people at the event for that time of day could indicate that Occupy Harrisburg might grow into something rather large by the time daylight hours arrived. However, I don’t think that occurred (I’ll explain later why I say this).

I left the event after an hour or so and then returned during daylight hours. The crowd now was smaller than the one at midnight. I estimated that approximately 60 people stood on the steps.

Occupy Harrisburg on October 15, 2011Occupy Harrisburg on October 15, 2011. Photograph Paul Hair, 2011.

The relatively small amount of people is particularly significant when considering that York Daily Record reported that Occupy York combined with Occupy Harrisburg for this event. My own photograph shows one of the participants holding up an “Occupy York” sign…

Read the rest of this report here.


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