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Photogs refuse to sign consent form at prep event; papers don't shoot event

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Johnny Dangerously, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member


    Newspapers battle LHSAA in Hammond

    Photographers walk out of Top 28

    Advocate staff writer
    Published: Feb 27, 2007

    At least four newspaper photographers were banned from taking pictures at the Ladies’ Top 28 Tournament in Hammond after they refused to sign a Louisiana High School Athletic Association consent form.

    The form said photographs taken at the girls’ state basketball tournament that were not published in an “actual physical newspaper” could not “be sold without express written consent of the LHSAA.”

    The commissioner of the LHSAA, Tommy Henry, said the form was created to keep photographs placed on any news media Web site from being sold.

    He said allowing the practice would violate Musemeche Photography’s contractual agreement to serve as the “official photographer of the LHSAA.”

    He also said he did not ban media photographers who did not sign the form from the event but would not issue them LHSAA credentials to take photographs from the sideline.

    “They can take them in the stands,” Henry said. “They can take all the pictures they want (there).”

    However, photographers from The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, The Daily Star in Hammond, The Times in Shreveport and The Advocate declined to sign the form and did not take photos of the tournament.

    Kathy Spurlock, the chairwoman of the Louisiana Press Association’s Freedom of Information committee, said publishing extensive photo galleries online allows the audience to “gain a better perspective of what the event actually was.”

    She said a newspaper typically could only print two photographs in its printed edition but provide 15 to 20 photographs on its Web site, giving its audience a better perspective of the event.

    Telling a newspaper what it can do with photographs that are not printed on paper violates its right to determine content, she said.

    “We’re the people who ought to be able to determine what photographs are used and where they are used,” Spurlock said. “That’s our choice and our responsibility.”

    The Advocate’s photographer did not take photographs Tuesday of the Southern Lab-Acadiana Prep game and The Dunham School’s game with Arcadia because of the form.

    Carl Redman, executive editor of The Advocate, said the newspaper offers online photographs for sale but does not make much money from the practice.

    The photographs are offered online to give The Advocate’s online viewers a sense of the event, he said.

    He said he was concerned a public institution would try to limit freedom of the press.

    “Our primary concern is that we are a news gathering organization,” Redman said. “We cannot agree to have limits on our news gathering abilities.”
  2. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    I'm torn on this.

    On the one hand, I believe that nobody should be able to tell a newspaper what it can do with the photos it produces at this event.

    On the other hand, I believe the newspapers are waging this battle just for the sake of waging a journalistic battle. It's not necessarily to serve the best interest of the readers.
  3. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    I don't know, shot. At my last paper, we did a lot of business selling prep photos on the web. We'd run one with a game story and point readers to the web for more, allowing more parents to see more photos of their kids, and consequently, giving them an opportunity to purchase glossies of the web photos. It's really a spot where newspapers can take advantage of the web.
  4. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    OK, but this from one of the news execs fighting this particular policy:

  5. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

    It's a public service. The fee covers expenses, the time it takes to deliver the goods to the parents, fans, players, etc., and leaves a tiny profit.

    We get a ton of calls from people wanting photos. We surely aren't going to give them away, so selling them makes sense. We are not going to get a pay raise from the money we make selling them.
  6. Let's take the argument a logical step further. Suppose the LHSAA forbade placing additional print coverage on a newspaper's Web site, because it wanted the advertising hits on its own Web site. The only recourse for the newspapers is the one they took, denying coverage. In fact, they should take it to the next level -- no print or photo coverage.

    And I'll bet the LHSAA isn't giving a cut of its photo profits to the schools playing those games, either.
  7. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Best argument I've seen.
  8. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Asked the guy from our state association about this at the START of the state finals today (mistake in itself, but that is another post).
    That wont happen here, unless the photo firm comes in with a buttload of upfront money...
  9. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    At my previous papers, people would pay good money to get prints involving their kid. And by putting them online and letting them order them that way, it freed up the photog to spend more time taking photos and less time answering custom requests from parents.

    Don't see this at all as an issue of the newspapers fighting this just because they want a fight.

    Perhaps in your neck of the woods photograph sales aren't that significant, but that's not the case in my area. Hell, they even offer the sale of coffee mugs with the photo imprinted on it and key chains featuring a photo.
  10. IGotQuestions

    IGotQuestions Member

    if newspapers sign those consent forms, eventually those forms become more and more exclusive to the point that we lose all rights, in a public domain, no less. Not that it would get that bad, but technically, it could, if people who think like Bush and the New Repubs do have their way.
  11. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    This is a "slippery slope." But, it needs to be fought not because of the reason given by the paper executives. The NY Times, LA Times and AP fought the NHL's consent form five years ago.
    And it is very important. For one simple reason, permission and the right to reverse charge.
    If the photographs not used in the "news-gathering process" becomes the property of the tournament or a league, then newspapers want to use a file photo from that event, they can be charged for using their own photographs.
    This is really bad. And it throws shit into the face of copyright ideals.
    APSE was really involved in these discussions with the NHL.
  12. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    the problem i see with fighting this is that they are not banned from taking and using photos; they're banned from being in perfect position to take the photos.

    in any case, i would think that if more papers refuse to sign, pressure from the parents via principals or ADs will force the association to back off.

    it's also a stupid decision. all the association needs to do is hire a couple of its own freelance photogs - i've never heard of an area with a shortage of qualified freelance photographers - and have them shoot pics that will be available for purchase on the association's web site.
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