Whether you love it or hate it, the term “journalist” is increasingly being accepted by our culture to include freelancers, bloggers, even just citizens who happen to “be there”.
In a crazy story I read about first over at Wired Mag’s new photo blog, RawFile, they report that a student photographer who photographed paramedics tending to a homicide victim was given journalistic protection provided for by the law. From the Wired story:
“In recognizing the journalistic entitlements of the student, whose name has been sealed by request of his lawyers, Judge Tomar Mason has strengthened persuasive authority supporting the rights of freelance photographers and journalists.
Legal wrangling erupted following the April 17th homicide of the student’s primary subject, Norris Bennett, a resident of San Francisco’s Bayview/Hunter’s Point neighborhood. The student had met with Bennett earlier in the day and admits to being in the neighborhood at the time of the shooting. When police responded to the scene, the student was found photographing paramedics tending to Bennett but he refused to submit to an interview, citing protection under California’s shield law.
Police were issued a search warrant by Judge Mason, which they executed on April 27, seizing photographs, files, cameras and DNA evidence from the student’s home…[click the ‘continue reading’ link below]
…In overturning the original warrant, Judge Mason recognized the validity of the student’s published freelance work, as well as the project underway when the student’s subject Bennett was murdered. Police will have to return all items seized during the execution of the warrant. It is unclear whether the District Attorney’s office will attempt to appeal the decision…”
Is our judicial branch actually coalescing that most traditional “news” is really yesterday’s news, and that a lot of “new” news is provided by freelancers, students, and citizens?
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Since you seem to fancy yourself a "professional journalist", no doubt with a degree from an accredited university, then you should know the difference between the words "there" and "their", and the correct use of each. Perhaps it's not the ignorance of tradition and values, but ignorance of the English language that's undermining the industry.
I don't know whether or not they should be considered journalists or not. But this reminds me of an incident that happened in my area recently.
It was at a local High School football game that I was photographing for one of the school's yearbook. One of the home team's coaches is also the yearbook advisor and my friend, so I was helping him out. But anyways, one of the players on the field collapsed after a play on the field. And while people were trying to help resuscitate him, there was a photographer who kept trying to get up real close while they were helping to try to get pictures. The referee kept yelling at him to back off too. I'm pretty sure he has Press credentials and is a professional (on paper).
I just thought that his behavior was quite inappropriate. I can understand him wanting to get pictures for a story or whatever, but to get in the way of people trying to save the life of a 17 year old? I hope that this is a rare case and that most photojournalists are not this bad. I don't know, I haven't been taking pictures long.
The strange thing is, I don't even know what he was doing that close. The guy was using a Canon 70-700 L f/2.8. And I know that the minimum focusing distance on that thing is 1.3m if it's an IS lens. So what was he even thinking going in that close because he COULD NOT have gotten a picture anyways.
Kind of off topic I guess, but what do you think about how far a photographer should be able to go to get a picture?
Access to the latest tech is creating citizen journos which is fine I can live with that.
However journalism as a profession had a unwritten rules, and traditions that these citizen journalists know nothing about.
This ignorance to tradition and values is undermining the industry.
If I am working at a job and a uncredited NUJ journo turns up I generally do not give them the time of day. Not nice I know, however the other professionals that are there do the same as they are protecting there interests.