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NewsNation reporter released from jail after arrest during briefing

A national correspondent for Nexstar Media Group’s cable news upstart NewsNation was arrested on Wednesday while working at a press conference in Ohio.

Evan Lambert was covering the press conference on Wednesday, which centered around a train derailment that released toxic chemicals in the state.

While preparing to deliver a live report for NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” program, Lambert was told by police at the press conference to “be quiet,” the outlet reported. The order was purportedly given because Ohio’s governor, Mike DeWine, was speaking at the press conference.

Lambert complied with the request, tossing back to NewsNation anchor Nichole Berlie, who cut away from the press conference. At the top of the next hour, NewsNation aired video showing Lambert being taken into custody.

According to NewsNation, Lambert was detained on suspicion of disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing. Video from the scene shared with The Desk showed Lambert being escorted by two law enforcement officials out of the building where the press conference was held and into the back of a sheriff’s vehicle.

At the press conference, DeWine said he did not request Lambert to stop reporting, nor did he give the order for the journalist’s arrest.

“It has always been my practice that if I’m doing a press conference, someone wants to report out there, and they want to be talking back to the people back on channel, whatever, they have every right to do that,” the governor affirmed. “If someone was stopped from doing that, or told they could not do that, that was wrong. It was nothing that I authorized.”

In a statement sent to The Desk on Wednesday, NewsNation’s Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief Mike Viqueira said Lambert “was doing his job – what hundreds of journalists do without incident – reporting to the public on a matter of urgent, critical interest to our audience. Evan reports that he is charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.”

After spending several hours at the Columbiana County Jail, Lambert was released from custody around 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time (7:30 p.m. Pacific Time). His release came after DeWine called the jail and personally advocated for the reporter’s release, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).