Friday, March 27, 2009

Editorial photographers shooting advertising?

Unlike a newspaper, I don't use names. I write about issues that may have negative effects on my friends. Therefore my points are broad and not specific to individuals. I try hard not slander but I do want to get my point across.

I just learned that a newspaper staff photojournalist I know is now being asked to shoot an assignment for advertising. The photographer's assignment sheet actually said, "do it and don't complain".

See my post about the "One Eyed Button Pusher".

This is wrong on a couple of fronts. First it's an ethical conflict of interest. Newspaper editorial departments and the advertising departments are separate. They are separate for a reason. Newsrooms can't function impartially when advertisers are dictating terms and conditions to the money they spend on advertising with a newspaper. Example: If an advertiser is selling products that are killing people does the paper hold back on reporting it? If they're a large advertiser I'll bet they'll wait until another media outlet picks up on it first before reporting it? Then they don't have a choice and the decision is simple to report. You can bet discussions like this have already taken place in executive conference rooms for years.

Secondly the photographer was hired as an editorial photographer to cover the news, not as an advertising photographer. They're different jobs that require different skill sets. Advertisers should submit their own photography. Talk about keeping the economy going there are commercial photographers out there that live on this revenue.

All an advertiser needs to do today is call the Publisher and wine! Remind the Publisher how bad the economy is and that the newspaper industry is in the toilet. I can only imagine the conversation. You need my advertising dollars to survive right? If you want my advertising dollars send your photographer and a reporter over here and help us out. Since the screw is being tightened daily the executive management will turn their journalistic check and shamefully send their College Educated Photojournalist to shoot the assignment. Since they know its wrong they'll shamefully write don't complain on the assignment sheet.

This is bad policy by newspapers and I hope it doesn't become a trend.

1 comment:

Tony Blei said...

You may have noticed that the end of newspaper is near.

As they continue to drown, in a panic, they are grasping for anything they think will save them.

Sadly, they will die with their boots on — as they fill with water and drag them down...