Monday, September 05, 2005
Crisis of photojournalism: Seeking ways out
Does the future of photojournalism lie in galleries and museums? Professional photographers discussed this question last week in a debate at the International Photojournalism Festival Visa pour l'image in Perpignan, France, reports Swiss newspaper 24heures (in French). Starting point for the debate: Luc Delahaye successfully exhibited a series of photos he took in Afghanistan, selling them in New York for US $15,000. He thinks of himself more as an artist than a photojournalist.
But the artistic side of photojournalism also raises moral questions. Photographer Stanley Greene is worried about seeing people drinking champagne while watching photos of dead bodies in a gallery. Alain Frilet, editorial director of photo agency Magnum, said that the principal task of photojournalism - to witness and to inform - is disappearing. On the contrary, photographer Jonas Bendiksen thinks of the gallery as a new place to show works of photography that do not receive much exposure.
Evidently not every photojournalist can switch and become a successful artist. The discussion about such alternative sources of revenue is, however, an indicator of the crisis photojournalism is facing.
The Festival Visa pour l'image awards six prizes for photography. The Visa d'Or for news went to Philip Blenkinsop for his work on the tsunami. Informations about the award winner should soon be on the festival's home page.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
US: Professional and citizen photographs
At most news sites professional and citizen photographs are still seperated, writes Steve Outing on Poynter. He came to this conclusion while looking for photos of the Hurricane Katrina. He cites Nola.com as an typical example for this separation.
He suggest that a combination of the best photos from both, citizen and professionals, would do better: "From the perspective of the Web reader/viewer: I'd like to see a single gallery of the best images from the storm, whether they be from staff photojournalists, wire-service photojournalists, or citizen photographers. In a story like this, there will be citizen photos that are more powerful than what the pros come up with. So why not mix them up to produce a hurricane-image gallery made up of the best photographs, period? ... Staff photos are labeled as such, and citizen submissions are clearly labeled as coming from an eyewitness amateur photographer ... I would not want to rely on citizen photos alone to understand the breadth and depth of Katrina's impact, but they can add to the pros' body of work to give the viewer a better overall picture ... my expectation is that professional photojournalism plus the best of citizen news photography will best serve the public."
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Citizen photography agency: many members, no buyers
Scoopt, the first citizen photography agency that launched in July (see previous posting), has now members in 35 countries. As Press Gazette reports, the agency attracted 1,200 amateur mobile phone photographer within one week. Scoopt founder Kyle MacRae said on Press Gazette: "It's incredibly exciting when you are just sitting there in front of the computers and someone from one of 35 countries sends in something that they think is newsworthy. You just wonder what it is." The agency, that is currently run by three business partners, has plans to expand.
However, Press Gazette also states that "so far the agency has yet to sell any pictures, although it has already had 600 sent to it".
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Germany: mind your photographs!
On Thursday Princess Caroline von Hannover and Germany reached a friendly settlement in one of the most controversial cases in media law. Germany will pay 115,000 Euro to Caroline, 105,000 for cost and expenses and 10,000 Euro for non-pecuniary damage. The impetus of the case were photographs appearing in German magazines showing Caroline shopping, riding or biking. According to Netzeitung (in German) in particular photos showing Caroline with a bald head triggered her to fight against the paparazzi.
The corresponding decision of the European Court of Human Rights is already one year old. In June 2004 the court ruled that "there had been a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private life) of the Convention, in that the German courts had failed effectively to protect the applicant's private life against interferences resulting from the publication by various German magazines of photos of her in her daily life." With this ruling the court disagreed with former rulings from German courts, notably one from the German Federal Constitutional Court which ruled that celebrities would have to accept the publication of photographs also without their consent, albeit with some restrictions, reports FAZ.net (in German).
According to Newsclick (in German) German media claim that the decision constitutes a charter to censorship. But despite pressure from publishers and broadcasting stations the German government did not appeal against the judgment. Thereupon the media accused the government of sacrificing press freedom in their own interest. However, there seems to be some uncertainty among German journalists as to which ruling, that of the European Court of Human Rights or that of the Federal Constitutional Court, should guide their work. As stated by Newsclick it is very likely that many photographs and articles are already not published for fear of proceedings.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
UK: first citizen photography agency
Early July the first agency for citizen photographers, Scoopt, launched. Following from the fact that many people have mobile phones with cameras nowadays, Scoopt wants to promote photographs from people accidently being at some place when something newsworthy is happening. They just have to register, which is free, and than to send their photo. Scoopt will then try to negotiate a good deal with some news media and split the take 50/50. According to Poynter "Scoopt is pretty much for amateurs only; professional photographers won't like the site's insistence on six-month exclusive rights to images that it pitches to the media. Scoopt founder Kyle MacRae explains the rationale for asking for exclusivity in this exchange with Citizen Paine's Ari Soglin. MacRae's argument is that he can negotiate the most lucrative deals by offering media clients exclusivity on an image."
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
US: ethical double standards for war photographs?
In May, The Los Angeles Times published a study finding that very few photos of dead or wounded American service members were printed in 6 major U.S. newspapers during 6 months. According to Editor & Publisher the survey "found almost no pictures of Americans killed in action at a time when 559 Americans and Western allies died; the same publications run just 44 photos from Iraq to represent the thousands of Westerners wounded during the same period." One primary reason is assumedly logistical: sometimes there might be no camera or it is too dangerous for photographers. Other photographs might be too late or never reach newspapers due to different rules which embedded journalist have to obey as The Detroit News suggests: "A complex machinery sifts out many other images before they reach print. Photographers embedded with the U.S. military agree not to use photos that show the dead or wounded if faces can be recognized. A rule requiring notification of family members means that some photos are held for so long that they lose their immediate news value. In other cases, stateside photo editors rule pictures too graphic for publication."
But even if photos are transmitted, they are sometimes left unused. Editor & Publisher cites Moises Saman, a long time photographer for Newsday, who believes that "so few pictures are appearing in American papers because of a double standard that ... reflects the nature of our society. 'Americans understand we are at war - but not many people want to see the real consequences, especially when they involve one of your own. I think some publications cater to this sentiment by trying not to anger subscribers and advertisers with harsh 'in-your-face' coverage of the true nature of war.' "
Editor & Publisher refer also to David Swanson, a Philadelphia Inquirer photographer, who was embedded with Echo Company and for whom "the dearth of photos of the dead and wounded smacks of 'situational' ethics: 'There's less chance of publishing a mortally wounded American on the cover than that of an Afghani or Iraqi.' " For Swanson "the poverty of images has removed death from the war: 'It's war, whether you agree to it or not ... death needs to be shown. You have to know what you might lose before you commit so many lives. A country needs to be reminded that an 18-year-old has just died, and that Memorial Day and Veterans' Day are not just days for picnics at the beach.' "
And Democracy Now, an American community media collaboration, notes that "images of thousands of dead U.S. soldiers helped to turn the tide of public opinion against the Vietnam War, but now photo-journalists are even banned from military funerals at Arlington national cemetery."
Monday, May 09, 2005
India: Times redesigns
Agencyfaqs reports that in the face of new competition from proposed English-language newspapers, the Times of India has begun to give itself a new look. Apart from personnel changes, the major daily has improved its presentation, added more color pages and has introduced a six-page city and a four page international supplement. It's Sunday edition followed in presentation enhancements and also added new cultural and book sections. The pinksheet Economic Times is also being marketed more aggressively with news that Western financial publications such as Business Week and the Wall Street Journal are poised to enter into the Indian market (see former posting).
Posted by john burke on May 9, 2005 at 05:27 PM in g. Photojournalism, h. Young readers / New readers, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers, r. Revenues and business models | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Advice on the tabloid trend from the experts
Garcia Media, an information design firm, has recently published a report about compact conversions that is sure to be the go-to document for all papers considering the switch. The 23-page PDF includes a detailed history of conversions worldwide, a summary of free papers, reasons for transforming your paper, and advice on how to do so. Mario Garcia and Co. have worked with 16 broadsheets around the world who decided to shrink in size to appeal to the changing habits of their readers. Read the report at Garcia Media (top right hand corner of page).
Posted by john burke on April 28, 2005 at 04:23 PM in d. Design and infographics , e. Compact vs. broadsheet, g. Photojournalism, h. Young readers / New readers, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Thursday, April 21, 2005
US: two Websites for one paper?
Picking washingtonpost.com's brain
Mark Glaser at Online Journalism Review recently interviewed CEO and publisher of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive Caroline Little and washingtonpost.com's executive editor Jim Brady to find out where the heralded paper's web strategy is going. Here are some of the main ideas:
Splitting the website: Since the Washington Post juggles local and international news, Little and Brady are contemplating separating these domains into two separate sites pandering to their two distinct readerships. Site registration and location will determine which page is opened on the reader's computer.
No paid content: Both execs are hesitant about charging for their online material. With various search engines and blogs constantly connecting to their content, they figure that building a paywall will only be detrimental to traffic as so many other free news sites still remain.
Blogs: Although the paper has been launching a number of blogs on its site and would like to continue to do so, Brady sees a kind of contradiction in their use. He questions putting all of their blogs on one site seeing as they are so varied in subject matter.
Advertising: Both Brady and Little prioritize content. Quality content attracts readers, and readers attract advertisers.
Human vs. computer editors: For Brady, the human editor adds more value to the content. Referring to the popularity of its columns White House Briefing, Media Notes, and Today's Papers on the recently purchased Slate, "human aggregators" that WaPo employs are more valuable than their computer equivalents at Google or Yahoo.
Citizen's journalism: Although they're not ready to open their website to citizen publisher's quite yet, Brady is keeping an eye on the new medium and toying with ideas on how to implement it. If ever adopted, he says that it will be used where it makes the most sense; in hyper-local news.
Multimedia: WaPo.com has been showered with awards for its use of online images and video, but readers don't seem to know so. Presently, they are working on ways to make it more visible and easier to use, taking full advantage of the opportunities the Internet adds to journalism.
Mobile: Like most papers, WaPo is figuring out the best and most profitable way of integrating its content into mobile devices. Brady says that it's possible that news organizations will have to adapt to this evolving means of diffusing news.
Source: Online Journalism Review
Posted by john burke on April 21, 2005 at 01:01 PM in a. Citizen journalism, c. Multimedia convergence, g. Photojournalism, h. Young readers / New readers, m. Improving editorial quality, r. Revenues and business models | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
UK: The Independent changes design
Not even a year after going completely compact, The Independent has changed its look again. Independent editor Simon Kelner introduces readers to a new design," which has been given a fresh, modern look." After complaints from readers about the number of pull-out sections, Britain's first quality compact daily will whittle them down to one a day covering a different topic each weekday. Media listings, art pages and general features were also incorporated in an expanded main body of the paper. As the British elections approach, one page a day will be contributed to news about Westminster. Kelner opens the paper up to criticism, calling on its readers to continue sending suggestions. Apparently he was able to appease advertisers, who were a bit peeved by the new design (see posting here).
Source: The Independent
Posted by john burke on April 12, 2005 at 03:57 PM in d. Design and infographics , e. Compact vs. broadsheet, g. Photojournalism, h. Young readers / New readers, k. Circulation and newspaper launches, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack