Story   Photographer   Editor   Student/Intern   Assistant   Job/Item

SportsShooter.com: The Online Resource for Sports Photography

Contents:
 Front Page
 Member Index
 Latest Headlines
 Special Features
 'Fun Pix'
 Message Board
 Educate Yourself
 Equipment Profiles
 Bookshelf
 my.SportsShooter
 Classified Ads
 Workshop
Contests:
 Monthly Clip Contest
 Annual Contest
 Rules/Info
Newsletter:
 Current Issue
 Back Issues
Members:
 Members Area
 "The Guide"
 Join
About Us:
 About SportsShooter
 Contact Us
 Terms & Conditions


Sign in:
Members log in here with your user name and password to access the your admin page and other special features.

Name:



Password:







||
SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Journalistic Responsibility Part 2
Autumn Cruz, Student/Intern, Photographer
St. Petersburg | FL | | Posted: 5:17 PM on 10.26.04
->> I guess I'll add my 2 cents on the original topic now.

Ethics is a difficult thing, and half the time I'm trying to figure out what my stance on certain grey areas is because I can see the value in many perspectives.

What I'm seeing here is a clash of two classsic ethical dillemas. (Yes, I learned this from college) It's the utilitarian ethical system compared to the golden rule. Different people decide their ethics using different principles.

The utilitarian perspective puts the greatest good for the greatest number as priority. As journalists, we often fall under this code of ethics, by the very nature of our job. Our subjects sometimes, sadly, become martyrs to the greater good. Victims of crimes or accidents or fires ect. often wish their photos weren't published, but the photos often lead to policy or action that goes to correct said crime or accident. This is the ethical system Omar was operating under.

The golden rule perspective, obvioiusly, Judeo-Christian in origin, says do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Many people who posted here are operating under that system. So who's more ethical? That's a personal choice, but the truth is, they are both ethical, only in different ways.

Oh, why can't life be more simple? We can go round and round in this debate and it will never be solved. Our greatest philosophers couldn't even do it.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (6) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Dirk Dewachter, Photographer
Playa Del Rey | CA | USA | Posted: 5:43 PM on 10.26.04
->> Hmmm, so Omar is a martyr? You have to be kidding me.

I hope that Omar never falls victim to a property or person crime, even better, never falls victim to a crime to which there is a witness or witnesses, whether it includes a photographer and/or videographer, who fail to (1) report the crime - and it is a felony burglarizing a vehicle and (2) from the comments made in the captions one can infere that he actually participated in the commission of the crime.

This isn't petty theft, this isn't student antics, this is about doing the right thing and the right thing should have been returning the keys to the public safety office so the owner wouldn't be the victim of auto burglary and not have to incur the cost of having to replace the now discarded keys, rather than to make a story out of it and it really projects that Omar created the story, which if you are a true journalist can't do.

Hiding behind the facade of journalism is a farce and cowardly excuse. Maybe our educational system should evaluate and teach some common sense to the people attending our educational institutaions rather than fill their head with different approaches to ethical issues so you can twist and turn everything around and justify one's actions.

There are many members on this forum that have been victim of property crimes, like having their equipment stolen, in one form or another and Omar Vega's decisions to participate and document this criminal act as well as those who defend him seem to lack any common sense.
 This post is:  Informative (4) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Smith, Photographer
Elk City | OK | USA | Posted: 5:49 PM on 10.26.04
->> I'm curious. Is there a level of crime where the "utilitarian" model should be abandoned? I guess you could always argue the "greater good" of photographing crime to change policy, so what about these?

What if the kids had decided to steal the car?

What if the crime is a bar fight?

What if it is a hate crime, say 3 thugs beating up a homosexual or a minority?

What if it is a rape?

What if it is a child being kidnapped?

I've seen many photo stories over the years documenting crimes, and almost all of them were of "victimless" crimes. More accurately, the victims of the crimes are the ones committing them, prostitution, drug use, etc. I understand why these stories are told, photographed and published.

However, when you are confronted with a crime, with a victim, and you can either document it with a camera, or prevent it from happening, you are stretching all limits of credibility to assert that the "greater good" is in snapping the frame. Granted, there are times when you cannot stop the crime, but if there is a victim involved, your position as a fellow human is more important than as a journalist and you should do what you can to help the police and the victim.

There are no easy answers, but there are simple ones.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Joe Nicola, Photographer
Fort Worth | TX | USA | Posted: 5:50 PM on 10.26.04
->> So, Autumn, is Omar going to turn in his photos of the people involved so that policy or action can be effected to correct this situation?
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Joe Nicola, Photographer
Fort Worth | TX | USA | Posted: 5:52 PM on 10.26.04
->> Interesting how he took down his photos. I wonder if the SFSU police got a chance to see them before he did that.

Hmmmm.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Autumn Cruz, Student/Intern, Photographer
St. Petersburg | FL | | Posted: 6:04 PM on 10.26.04
->> I didn't say that Omar is a martyr. I said our subjects, meaning those we photograph, or those who are involved in what we photograph.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Smith, Photographer
Elk City | OK | USA | Posted: 6:10 PM on 10.26.04
->> Autumn, if it had been your car, would you have been perfectly willing to be "martyred" for the "greater good" of photographically illustrated petty theft on campus?
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Rick Rowell, Photographer
Canoga Park | CA | Usa | Posted: 6:10 PM on 10.26.04
->> Autumn, the system that Omar was operating under is called PRIOR KNOWLEDE of a crime that has the possibility of being commited. Omar did not accidently come upon this crime in progress, he photographed it for his own profit. The point is the crime could have been stopped before it was commited. Their is no excuse for this kind of behavoir. Were is the greater good here. I'm sure the owner of that Mustang is just dying to thank Omar for his actions or inaction as the case my be, (NOT). Do you think that the police do not know that crimes are being commited on campus? The police rely on all of us to do the right thing, if you can't stop it then report it. The police can't be everywere all the time. It is wrong to steal and it is wrong to stand by and watch others steal without doing something to about it. For instance, CALLING the police. Ethics is not a difficult thing. Most people in this world know right from wrong. They do wrong only because they believe they can get away with it and profit from it. Omar crossed the line on this one. He's going to find out far he crossed when the police start questioning him about the crime and his past associations with the suspects.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Autumn Cruz, Student/Intern, Photographer
St. Petersburg | FL | | Posted: 6:15 PM on 10.26.04
->> This is a good subject that I would love to discuss more and hear other's opinions on but I don't like being attacked or seeing others being attacked which is why I defended Omar in the first place.

I find it disappointing that some people on this board have a hard time discussing subjects without attacking people, so I'm signing out of this conversation.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Thomas E. Witte, Photographer
Cincinnati | OH | USA | Posted: 6:19 PM on 10.26.04
->> How ironic that I was flipping through Cocaine Blue Cocaine True last night wondering what I would have done in Eugene's shoes.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (2) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Dave Amorde, Photographer
Lake Forest | CA | USA | Posted: 6:23 PM on 10.26.04
->> After finding the car, imagine what kind of photo series Omar could have produced if the group had decided to...

Hunt down the owner?

Squat and have a party until the owner showed up? I have this vision of a hungover coed coming out to his/her car in a panic, and a group of equally hurtin' collegues saying "looking for these?" while dangling the keys.

And Autumn: by definition, a "martyr" must willingly be sacrificed. I doubt the owner of the car signed up.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Smith, Photographer
Elk City | OK | USA | Posted: 6:24 PM on 10.26.04
->> Autumn, I hope you are not referring to me as an attacker. I certainly don't mean for my post to be construed as such. I asked the question that I did, because I think it points to a very simple philosophical illustration of a simple truth.

If you place yourself in a situation where you make a decision to allow someone else to be victimized because you believe that what you are doing is more important, you have made what I believe is an arrogant and self-important decision. If you would not put yourself in the victim's shoes, you can add hypocritical to that decision's description.

Incidently, there is a very definable difference between attacking a person and disagreeing with them.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Omar Vega, Photographer, Student/Intern
San Francisco | CA | USA | Posted: 6:32 PM on 10.26.04
->> The following is a response to the above by Omar’s editor on the Golden Gate Xpress.

First I would like to say that it wasn’t very professional to call and threaten Omar, or post personal attacks.

Second we have had a conference regarding the matter and discussed Omar’s actions in great length. We came to the conclusion that it was a difficult situation Omar was put in, however, we feel he did the best he could. Should he have called the police? It’s a question that could be debated for hours, and could lead to a lot of what ifs. I would say defiantly if they started destroying personal property or stealing a car, but the fact remains that they took less than $20 worth of stuff, which included about $8 and a few burnt CD’s.

Further, Omar did not encourage or participate in the crime, and they documented their own actions. I also would like to point out that Omar’s decision not to go to the police immediately isn’t one that closes the door on these people being held responsible for their actions, since, as you have seen and probably know the story he was working on is one about Freshmen dorm life, so these people live with him and are known by the housing officials.

Omar’s decision to take down his photos was something I encouraged based on our concerns for his being charged with involvement, and may be reposted pending legal advice from our lawyer.

I would also like to point out that this is a college newspaper used as a learning tool, and regret Omar’s decision to involve the professional world with out first getting advice from any one who’s had some experience. I hope that his decision to shoot this won’t result in a stigma for this talented 18-year-old freshman photographer, and can be taken as something that he, and I will learn a lot from.

Further, I would now like to explain the story Omar is (was) working on. The story I asked him to do was one documenting a large and inaccessible community we have on campus; the dorms. The idea came to me last semester after I had met with the photo editors at the Chronicle to see what I could do to improve our newspaper for this semester as an editor. The advice they gave me was to shoot what we know and what’s around us because with age you lose access to situations like the dorms. I realized what they said was true and that my freshman year experience was one that had never been reported: people dealing drugs, breaking into homes, having all kinds of sex, defacing public property. Not to say I was involved in any of these activities, but word of mouth travels quickly in that type of community. However, I wish I had known that I wanted to be a journalist at that time so I could have documented it.

The reason I assigned him the story is because he’s in the perfect condition to document these horrible situations. The journalistic importance of this story is to show, first hand, the lack of concern for the incoming youth on this campus, and the lack of response by local authorities or the housing officials. The dorms are presented as being a productive caring wonderful community to move into when you first move away from home, but after you’ve moved in for about a week you realize that they’re anything but. There are serious health hazards; for example when I lived there some one threw up in the elevator and the head of housing said it was ok to leave it there until the weekend was over and the janitors came back as long as there was a newspaper over it.

There’s also the seriousness of the rate in which STD’s are passed around.

Every dorm story I’ve ever seen has been one about a caring and somewhat goofy off beat community; that’s not the case here and we’re trying to show it.

Also from personal experience I would say that there’s about an 80% chance that the police and officials will find out about the incident from word of mouth because news like that in a community like that travels quickly, and I can almost guarantee that about 50 people have seen that video by now and it’s been talked about to an RA.

I also don’t think that his photographing people who stole $20 worth of stuff compares to anything compared to the stories I’ve seen on drugs, prostitution, gangs… the pretense all of these stories were shot under was a sort of, “greater good,” mind set. That’s exactly what we had when we started this story.

If you would like to talk to me I can be reached at natekeck@yahoo.com or 415-244-7814. I’m putting my contact info here so that Omar doesn’t have to be alone on this. However, please don’t use this to cuss at me or belittle me like some have already done to Omar. I would like to hear any concerns you have though. And thanks to Autumn Cruz for trying to point out some of the finer points that people seem to be overlooking, mainly that Omar is 18 and still learning.
 This post is:  Informative (6) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (5) |   Definitions

Allan Campbell, Photographer, Assistant
Salem (Portland) | OR | USA | Posted: 6:38 PM on 10.26.04
->> Taking this a little further.... so if you shouldn't photograph a crime taking place....

Do you not cover riots after the World Series...

Do you not cover demonstrations outside of political conventions....

Do we stop doing photo stories on domestic abuse, drugs, etc.

Each of these possiblities lend themselves to the "knowing a crime might take place" logic.

Do we lose something when we give up our observer status and become willing participants to either side (police or bad guy)?

Thomas brought up Eugene Smith, I mentioned Larry Clark and Mary Ellen Mark... Does it make a difference when it is a photographer of note vs. a student?

Would there have been such an uproar if Omar had spent more time with an opening explanation and captions?
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mike Ullery, Photographer
Troy | OH | USA | Posted: 6:48 PM on 10.26.04
->> Thank you to Omar's editor for your explaination. While I still strongly disagree with his actions, he can feel fortunate to have an editor who will stick with him. I hope that he learns from this.

And Autumn, if you have points and counter-points, don't stop writing because someone disagrees. I had plenty of remarks on the original thread that disagree with my opinion. That's okay. If we all agreed on everything it wouldn't be any fun. And there would be no need to watch 1000 TV commercials every day telling us which candidates are going to lead us into a new era and which ones will lead us down the tubes. (Notice how I stayed non-partisan)

Anyway...to the SFSU editor...thanks for your time.
Mike
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Smith, Photographer
Elk City | OK | USA | Posted: 6:57 PM on 10.26.04
->> Allan, the decision that was made was to allow someone to victimized so that the photos could be taken. Simple action could have stopped the theft from occuring.

Calling the police during a riot won't stop the riot. Equally, they already know about the demonstrations at the conventions. I mentioned drug abuse earlier, along with prostitution as "victimless" crimes and you can read my thoughts on those. Domestic abuse? Well, I assure you this, if I'm in a situation where I can photograph a man punching his wife, or I can stop it from happening, rest assured the photo won't get taken.

Simply, it is one thing to document a gritty underworld of drug abuse and the dispair it causes to those who use drugs. Or to show the misery and death that is commonplace in the lives of gang members. It is wholly different to watch someone being victimized, have the ability to stop it, and take a photo instead.

Regarding Omar, I think it is stunningly obvious that he is a very gifted photographer. I also understand that he is young. I do not think he is a bad person for taking these photos, however I very much believe he made a poor decision. To not point that out is not only a disservice to the community in general, but to Omar, as well. Defending Omar, in my opinion, is unnecessary unless Omar is attacked. If people have called him up and screamed at him or cussed him or threatened him, then they are more deplorable than the petty thieves in Omar's photos.

Finally, it is important to understand that simply disagreeing with someone's actions does not equate an attack.
 This post is:  Informative (2) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Andy White, Photographer
Neenah | WI | USA | Posted: 6:59 PM on 10.26.04
->> To Omars editor, stealing is stealing no matter what the amount was, not to mention breaking and entering. And you shouldn't justify bad behaviuor by pointing to other bad behaviour.

I am personly disgusted with the Omar, and now it seems the editor as well.

This is a criminal matter plain and simple. Is Omar a criminal, well thats for the police to decided, and they have been informed.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Dave Amorde, Photographer
Lake Forest | CA | USA | Posted: 7:03 PM on 10.26.04
->> "Would there have been such an uproar if Omar had spent more time with an opening explanation and captions?"

Possibly not. I'll freely admit that my first impression of the series, based upon its orginal captions, was that Omar was at least a catalyst, if not an active participant, in the evening's activities.

"Do you not cover riots after the World Series...
Do you not cover demonstrations outside of political conventions...."

In both of these cases, the actions of the masses are in no way directed, or preventable, by the presence of a journalist. Documenting the actions of the mob has a clear value to society, as well as (possibly) to law enforcement.

"Do we stop doing photo stories on domestic abuse, drugs, etc. "

Domestic abuse? I've seen plenty of stories about victims of abuse; I've yet to see photographs taken while a husband is actually pummeling his wife. Are you telling me you would take those photos, and not come to the woman's aid?

Drug use? The stories I've seen all involve willing participants - so called "victimless" crimes. Photographing a drug deal, or someone shooting up, is one thing - photographing someone murdering their children while hallucinating on PCP would be something else.

I guess you have to draw the line somewhere. I believe Omar crossed the line, but I am thankful that the price paid was relatively small.

Omar has taken it upon himself to deal with controversial subject matter in a controversial manner. As such, he MUST be willing to deal with that controversy in all of its aspects. Rightly or wrongly, that goes with the territory of being a journalist. If he isn't willing to take that heat, then I suggest a different career path.
 This post is:  Informative (2) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Chris Jennings, Photographer
Sherman | TX | USA | Posted: 7:03 PM on 10.26.04
->> "Would there have been such an uproar if Omar had spent more time with an opening explanation and captions?"

I think that's the key question. I don't think there would have been such an uproar if the story was fully explained and good concise captions had been written. I'm sure Omar learned from this. I know I have and this thread has accomplished some of it's original intent.

Given the story basis I think Omar was not only right in doing it on a journalism standpoint but was obligated to do so.

I applaud Omar for his work and his editor for backing him up. Some will change the world with their photographs, but first they must change their own. I think Omar is on the way to doing that.

I for one would be interested in seeing the whole story when it's done. Now if we can keep the discussion civil lets continue.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Smith, Photographer
Elk City | OK | USA | Posted: 7:14 PM on 10.26.04
->> "Given the story basis I think Omar was not only right in doing it on a journalism standpoint but was obligated to do so."

That is right at the heart of the philosophical distinction I keep trying to point to.

The decision was to allow someone to be victimized because it is believed that journalism is more important than stopping the victimization.

I think that is a dangerous notion. It is one that has only been defended by the use of scale, in effect, "it was only $20". This allows the whole thing to get muddied up with nuance and perceived complexities that simply don't stand up. Where does the scale tip against taking the shot? 21 dollars? 500 dollars? Bodily harm? Death?

If you have a choice between taking a photo and stopping someone from being victimized, stop the crime, period. Your calling as a journalist is not more important. You are not more important. Your photos are not more important.
 This post is:  Informative (6) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Edmund Fountain, Photographer
New Port Richey | FL | United States | Posted: 7:23 PM on 10.26.04
->> Dave mentioned never having seen "photographs taken while a husband is actually pummeling his wife."

Everyone here that has not already done so should look at the photographs AND READ THE TEXT to "Living with the Enemy" by Donna Ferrato.

She photographed the above situation and the results are photographically beautiful, if one can describe photographs of such a nature as beautiful. The content is absolutely tragic. More importantly here, she writes very eloquently about the situation that this placed her in....trying to stop the husband, but finding him so enraged that he paid her no attention.

I was in a situation several years ago where I was doing a story on a family dealing with mental disorder and photographed a man assaulting his young daughter. I was not in a situation where I felt I could have prevented it from happening and I had no idea such action was about to take place. I spent many nights agonizing over what to do about it and spoke with many people about it. Ultimately I decided that going to the police would cause the family in question more harm than good. I did talk with the family about the situation however, and that helped me.

This stuff never has easy answers and I think there is no cut and dried line we can call our judgements from accross.

I am not defending Omar's actions, I do not think I know enough about the situation he was in. As journalists we are certainly in no position to quell thousands of celebrating Sox fans, and just the same, there are times when we are in no position to quell a couple arguing in their own living room.
 This post is:  Informative (3) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Rachel E. Bayne, Photographer
bellingham | wa | | Posted: 7:25 PM on 10.26.04
->> Amen, Mark!
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

James Prichard, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbia | MD | USA | Posted: 7:28 PM on 10.26.04
->> "...almost all of them were of "victimless" crimes" as a justification for photographing drug users, prostitutes, etc. is bunk IMHO. I find youth breaking into a car and stealing more 'victimless' (I'm in the opinion that there is no victimless crime) than the others.

So Eddie Adams, may he rest in peace, should have stopped the Viet Cong prisoner from being executed instead of taking the picture...called the police.

Pretty important picture if you ask me.
 This post is:  Informative (3) | Funny (0) | Huh? (2) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Brian Tietz, Photographer
Lexington | KY | USA | Posted: 7:32 PM on 10.26.04
->> I would be curious to hear if some of the legends of our time would condone Omar's actions, and back him up on this. It's a long shot but does anybody know Mary Ellen Mark personally? Or for that matter any of the members of "VII."

If they give him the "thumbs up" for his actions I would gladly insert foot in mouth for an earlier rant on the original thread.

A lot of good points have been brought to attention on this subject.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Smith, Photographer
Elk City | OK | USA | Posted: 7:34 PM on 10.26.04
->> Edmund, if you are in a situation and cannot stop the crime, that is wholly different than if you are in a situation where you can. As I stated before, there aren't easy answers, but there are simple ones. If the choice is between taking a photo or stopping the victimization, you should stop the crime. If you cannot stop it, then you are in a completely different situation, and likely, photographing it may very well be the best course of action.

I'm going to kick my soapbox aside for a bit as I need to go to the airport and pick up my lovely bride. I hope everyone understands that my passionate responses on this thread are about ideas and not the people who hold them.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Matthias Krause, Photographer
Brooklyn | NY | USA | Posted: 7:40 PM on 10.26.04
->> "Where does the scale tip against taking the shot? 21 dollars? 500 dollars? Bodily harm? Death?
If you have a choice between taking a photo and stopping someone from being victimized, stop the crime, period. Your calling as a journalist is not more important. You are not more important. Your photos are not more important."

I'm a hundred procent with Mark here. And to ask the question the other way around: What would you have done witnessing such an occurance without having a camera with you? You would have stopped it (hopefully). But just because you have your camera with you, you let it happen? I don't think so.

Btw - there are thousands of powerful war pictures that have never been taken because the photographers decided it's more inportant to help than to shoot. Never the less there are still plenty powerfull images left to tell the stories.

Bottom line: There is a fine line - and if you ask me, Omar crossed it.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Wesley R. Bush, Photographer
Nashville | TN | U.S. | Posted: 7:56 PM on 10.26.04
->> This is only remotely related to the topic, but Mark's post reminded me of something my paper did while I was in school. The editor at the time wanted a weekly picture of "Eyesore of the Week" that showed, or at least attempted to show, some small part of the school's inadequacies. I hated it. Needless to say, whatever photographer pulling the shift on that deadline was left walking around looking for something, anything.
One day, we ran a picture of a couple trash cans that were placed on top of a handicap parking spot. We actually ran a picture of it on the front page and listed it as an eyesore of the week. Why the photographer couldn't just move the cans over a few feet is beyond me. Instead, it was documented. *sigh*
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Allan Campbell, Photographer, Assistant
Salem (Portland) | OR | USA | Posted: 7:58 PM on 10.26.04
->> I enjoy these type of threads...

More questions...

Does the breakdown of opinions fall into easily defined areas? Do the event photographers look at the issue differently than the editorial based shooters?

I wonder if some of what I think of as harsh opinions come from being victimized at some point? Would my opinion differ if I had been a victim of a crime. Would it change even more if it was a violent crime.

Dave mentioned about the riots and demonstrations..
"In both of these cases, the actions of the masses are in no way directed, or preventable, by the presence of a journalist. Documenting the actions of the mob has a clear value to society, as well as (possibly) to law enforcement."

I would ask. Do not each of these events have a starting flash point? One or two individuals that start the snowball down the hill? Do the anarchists that seem to invade calm demonstrations do so to make the nightly news and appear in the paper as a story? What line do we cross, do we not shoot the starting point, but as soon as it gets large it becomes ok?

The "victimless crimes" of drugs etc... If you think it is ok to photograph the gritty underworld... Does that not come with the expectation that they are most likely committing a crime to get the money to do drugs?

Omar has an insight into a world that many of us have experienced long ago. Would the images and their content be more accepted if shown in a forum with other related college stories he has shot. 10 images shown of crime vs. a large 100 image show of dorm life including crime?
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Rick Rowell, Photographer
Canoga Park | CA | Usa | Posted: 8:01 PM on 10.26.04
->> So, if the police ask for the photographic evidence are you going to turn it over to them or are you and your lawyers going to obstuct justice because Omar may be implicated? I'm interested to find out what happens in that regard. As for Omar doing the best he could with this situation, it is possible he may have not been given the proper tools to deal with it. Weather thats the fault of the university faculty given the responcebility to teach these ethics or his parents, somewere along the line someone dropped the ball. I remember when I was 18 and I faced situations very simular to this. I tryed like hell to convince my friends to not commit the crime and if that didn't work I called the police, because if they were my friends they would not have comitted the crime. I guess I'm lucky to have parents who taught me right from wrong and not leave it up to some university to teach me moral relativism to the point that I can't think for myself. It does not serve the greater good to let any such crime go unreported or unpunished. If they get away with it once, chances are they will try again. All of the other crimes that happen on campus have nothing to do with this situation involving Omar and his dormie.

Let me get this straight, this petty theft is not a big deal because bigger things are happening on campus, or because it was only $20 dollars worth of property. How about the time and inconveince to the owner of the Mustang, is that not worth something? How about replacing the key and alarm device, that's got to be worth something. How about the victum not feeling safe on campus any longer and transfering to another university taking their tuition with them, and if the problem continues, others doing the same.

It seems to me that there has been an eroding of ethics in journalism in last few years. CBS and Dan Rather just resently for example. Journalism is about finding the truth, first, formost and always. Journalism is not all about effecting change in the world, although it has been known to have that effect from time to time. It should never be all about making change in the world as this tends to have the effect of corrupting the journalist into following their agenda rather than continuing with the truth even though it may be counter to their agenda or the truth they thought they would find.

Writing about or photographing a crime in progress that you had prior knowlege of is not journalism. If you want to effect change for the better in the dorm system then fiight for more restrictive rules and inforce them with the cooperation of the campus police. But I guess that sounds to harsh to most of the students on campus. As long as the students continue to see the campus police and law enforcement in general as the enemy and not the ally, then nothing is going to change.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Sam Santilli, Photographer
Philippi | WV | USA | Posted: 8:14 PM on 10.26.04
->> Just a stupid question here.....anyone forward the site to the SFSU authorities? Is that why is was pulled? If you are defending your position, why pull the images in question? Different ethics for different folks.....get a clue. We all know what is right and what is wrong. Omar was not "put into this situation" as stated by his editor, he chose to be a part of it. Young and dumb, we all have been there....I am glad Omar and his editor as happy to listen to those of us who have been around the block before. This is not the site for those images and that story line, but they do have merit in the stated venue. Thanks for the explanation, and I hope SFSU expels the culprits, they need to go home and learn right from wrong.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Andy White, Photographer
Neenah | WI | USA | Posted: 8:18 PM on 10.26.04
->> Sam,

I forwarded the address to the SFPD, from there I don't know what happened, maybe they did nothing, maybe the saw the site after the images were pulled.

People may hate me for doing what I did, but thats thier ethical issue. Let the police investiagte, after all thats why we pay them. Let the legal system decided if Omar did anything wrong or not.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

David Johnson, Photographer
Social Circle (Atlanta) | GA | USA | Posted: 8:18 PM on 10.26.04
->> I am curious to hear view points from editors... how do they instruct their photographers to handle similar situations? What's the policy at thier publications?

In a case where a journalist knows about the intent to commit a crime before the criminal action occurs, is it proper to share the information with the authorities or should the journalist "let nature take its course"?
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Rick Burnham, Photographer
Enfield | CT | USA | Posted: 9:00 PM on 10.26.04
->> Hi everyone,

I just want to thank everyone especially Omar and his editor for the replies to my original thread. I posted the information vaguely because I didn't want to point fingers at Omar not knowing the facts while I was using his specifics to ask some general questions for my own and maybe someone else's good. As a nearly 40 y/o man, I am well aware of what is right and what is wrong. I felt, and still feel, that what was depicted in the photos was wrong. As a recent crime victim I had an empty feeling in my stomache looking at the photos. I asked the questions I did because I wanted to see how others if in a similar situation would act and respond and where our responsiblities lie as journalist and as a person. I'm sorry I didn't originally post Omar's page for others to view but I didn't want to call Omar out in a public forum but felt it was important to discuss.

I really appreciate all the responsible thoughtful answers and the attempts to keep the post to the original content. But I'm sorry others seemed to have used it to express themselves in a negative, unprofessional and childish way to Omar.

I hope we all learned a little something from all the responses today. I know I learned a ton.

respectfully,
Rick
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Joe Nicola, Photographer
Fort Worth | TX | USA | Posted: 11:06 PM on 10.26.04
->> Andy,

As did I. Like I said earlier, that key and key fob run nearly $200 to replace.

20 bucks stolen? How 'bout that two hundred to replace a key and keyless remote key fob?

What say you Oh Great and Powerful editor, defender of the petty theft in the name of journalism and photo essays about dorm life on campus?????
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (6) |   Definitions

Jeffrey Haderthauer, Student/Intern, Photographer
Norman | OK | USA | Posted: 11:39 PM on 10.26.04
->> I notice that the vast majority of people slamming Omar on here don't come from a journalistic background- I wonder, does that have something to do with their reactions?
 This post is:  Informative (5) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Andy White, Photographer
Neenah | WI | USA | Posted: 12:44 AM on 10.27.04
->> Joe,

Did you find it as hard as I did to find an email address for them?

I dont care about how much, its the act also. last time I checked, breaking into a car was a crime, even if you take nothing.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Rick Rowell, Photographer
Canoga Park | CA | Usa | Posted: 1:37 AM on 10.27.04
->> Jeffery, are you so sure about that. People change jobs all the time. I know of several photographers who worked in the journalistic field and changed later to editorial, public relations, commercial and other areas of photography. You might be assuming to much here. Just because someone may not have a photojournalistic background does'nt mean they don't now about the ethics involved in that field, or that they don't know right from wrong.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Alan Stewart, Photographer, Photo Editor
Corydon | IN | USA | Posted: 2:38 AM on 10.27.04
->> As this subject reaches close to 100 posts, I'm wondering why Omar's controversial shoot is generating so much interest, while another thread involving shooting an illegal act (http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=12598) went virtually untouched.

I digress.

Ethically, I don't condone what took place, but there's another side of me can understand why he did what he did. There was a story to be told and he found a way to shoot it like few others have done.

For an 18-year-old, it took some big ones to not only to shoot the act (obviously identifying the thieves faces) but to post them on a professional web site and open himself up for some MAJOR criticism.

We've all made mistakes (and hopefully learned from them) and if this is the worst thing that Omar does in his life, he'll still turn out to be a good egg.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Dirk Dewachter, Photographer
Playa Del Rey | CA | USA | Posted: 2:41 AM on 10.27.04
->> How about them apples!

Here is the link to the definition of burglary as per the State of California penal code section 459.

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate?WAISdocID=8585986888+3+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve

In our case here, if any person enters a locked vehicle, as defined by the California Vehicle Code, with the intent to commit grand or petty theft is guilty of burglary, regardless of the amount of valuables that were taken.

How about this one;

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate?WAISdocID=8591667912+1+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve

Read penal code section 182, which is conspiracy. If two or more persons agree to commit a crime (any crime) and if just one person in that group commits an overt act towards the commission of that crime they all are involved in the conspiracy.

Does a journalistic background makes a immune from prosecution? And does it really matter whether or not those on here have a journalistic background. I do know that I have some moral and ethical values that have a serious problem with what Omar and these students did. Obviously, they don't know that ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Then you have an editor that condones this kind of behavior and simply brushes it aside that it was no more than $20.00.

Many of the members have iterated here that there are limits and if you want to go out on a limb, be prepared to face the consequences. I saw the images and read the commentary and captions and I certainly question the level of Omar's judgement and involvement in this entire incident. I certainly hope that Omar has learned a lesson but as others have pointed out he crossed a line, then hid behind his "journalistic integrity" and had someone use his sportsshooter log on, pretending to be his "editor" trying to rectify or control the damage. I am just not buying it.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Omar Vega, Photographer, Student/Intern
San Francisco | CA | USA | Posted: 3:43 AM on 10.27.04
->> Hey everybody,

It has been a very educational day for me, and I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful and intellectual comments. Thank you for accepting who I am and who I am becoming. No matter how critical, please inform me. I’m glade and proud I joined this professional organization.


Respectively,

Omar
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Joe Nicola, Photographer
Fort Worth | TX | USA | Posted: 9:12 AM on 10.27.04
->> Alan,

I don't think it took "big ones" to do what he did; he shot those photos and posted them out of ignorance of the potential consequences involved. Most here, it seems, are willing to cut him some slack because he's a youngster and that means that he lacked the experience to responsibly comprehend all the ramifications of his actions.

As I said earlier, it would have impressed the hell out of me if he had presented a photo series about what these kids went through to return the keys to their rightful owner instead of acting like a bunch of juvenile delinquents.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Joe Nicola, Photographer
Fort Worth | TX | USA | Posted: 9:26 AM on 10.27.04
->> Why is it "inappropriate" to ask the editor, who weighed in via Omar's membership (which I thought was not allowed) to comment about the theft of the contents by Omar's "subjects" and the expense incurred by the owner as result of the "subjects'" actions?

I marked Omar's post as "inappropriate" because the rules of this board clearly state that non-members use of a member's posting privileges is not allowed. To wit:

"...And finally, please do not post a message 'on behalf of someone else'. This is a message board for members, not for people who just-so-happen-to-know a member."
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Craig Peterson, Photographer
St. Petersburg | FL | US | Posted: 10:23 AM on 10.27.04
->> I agree with Joe....The editor had no buisness chimming in on behalf of Omar, using Omar's membership. If he felt that strongly about defending Omar, he should have applied for his own membership. Period.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Joshua Michel, Student/Intern
Raleigh | NC | USA | Posted: 10:35 AM on 10.27.04
->> Some food for thought; would going to the police have made any difference. Would they have even cared? PDN has an interesting article about theft and the attitude of police. Expecially interesting b/c it involves photographic gear.

http://www.pdn-pix.com/photodistrictnews/headlines/article_display.jsp?vnu_...
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Jerry Laizure, Photographer, Assistant
Norman | OK | USA | Posted: 10:45 AM on 10.27.04
->> Omar,

I checked the Golden Gate Xpress online edition and didn't see the story/photos. Let us know when they are published. I suspect several of us are interested to see how the story and photos are handled.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Andy White, Photographer
Neenah | WI | USA | Posted: 10:51 AM on 10.27.04
->> Joshua,

Its not up for the individual to make the desision not to call the police because they think the police aren't going to do anything. If you inform the police and they do nothing then thats something to discus with the police department. It also shift's some of the burden of the photographer and onto the police.
 This post is:  Informative (2) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Jason Orth, Photographer
Lincoln | NE | USA | Posted: 11:00 AM on 10.27.04
->> Maybe I'm just too old, or I'm not "hip" anymore but back in my younger and more mischievous days, I sure as hell didn't want anyone videotaping, taking pictures or in any possible way having evidence of my deeds. What's with these kids nowadays? ;-)
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (1) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Allan Campbell, Photographer, Assistant
Salem (Portland) | OR | USA | Posted: 11:01 AM on 10.27.04
->> Since we are going to play soap box lawyers... How does California's Shield Law play into this? Does the shield law protect us from becoming the governments investigative agents?

From a Gannett article.

As the bill's author argued, "The main purpose of the shield law is to prevent government from making journalists its investigative agents and to prevent a journalist who is trying to cover the story from becoming part of the story (which makes them wholly unable to cover it)." The amendments will help to ensure that journalists in California are not used by prosecutors and litigants in this way.
http://www.gannett.com/go/newswatch/2000/november/nw1103-7.htm

This seems to be an arguement from at least the 1930's in circles like ours.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

James Prichard, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbia | MD | USA | Posted: 11:07 AM on 10.27.04
->> If the Shield Law is in effect, the next question is 'does a student get the same protection as a professional journalist?'
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

James E. Mahan, Photographer
Troy | OH | USA | Posted: 11:37 AM on 10.27.04
->> From a post by Rick Rowell
"Journalism is about finding the truth, first, formost and always. Journalism is not all about effecting change in the world, although it has been known to have that effect from time to time. It should never be all about making change in the world as this tends to have the effect of corrupting the journalist into following their agenda rather than continuing with the truth even though it may be counter to their agenda or the truth they thought they would find."

Having read all the messages in both of these threads it seems to me that Omar has done exactly what is stated in the words above. He found the truth in the situation he was put in. He did not affect the situation he was put into, he did his job and recorded it for history. When you break it down, that is what a good journalist does. We as photojournalists have a responsibility to document life as it happens in front of us. We are the eyes of our readers. We continually put ourselves into situations that others avoid (fires, wars, floods). We do this so that we can keep the world at large better informed as to what is really happening out there. That is the one thing that gives many of us the drive to go do what we do day after day.

It is my belief that if we go into our cities and do not visually record what is happening out there, then we have failed in our jobs as journalists. Omar could have refused to take the images he did and walked away. He could have called the police. Perhaps those actions would have stopped one crime from being committed. But, who is to say that when the final journalistic essay he is working on is published that those images will not stop a hundred crimes from being committed? To paraphrase Rick's statement above there are times that good journalism has changed the world.

I tell young photographers often that, as long as no human life is in danger, it is our job to document everything we see at that moment. If we stop to think about what we are seeing then the moment has passed us by. After the image has been taken is the time to discuss the ethics of the situation. Omar did just that, he documented what occurred in front of him, and now we are discussing the ethics of it.
 This post is:  Informative (3) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Alan Stewart, Photographer, Photo Editor
Corydon | IN | USA | Posted: 11:52 AM on 10.27.04
->> James, I'm not sure I subscribe to the "shoot first, ask questions later" theory.

Omar overheard what was taking place, grabbed his camera and went out to follow the students. I would think at some point during those few seconds when nothing was happening he could have thought about the ramifications of what was about to take place.

It would seem to me that being ethical first would have been the wiser move.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Louis Lopez, Photographer
Ontario | CA | USA | Posted: 12:09 PM on 10.27.04
->> I am a little late coming to this thread as a fellow sportshooter brought it up in conversation last night.

I find it very troubling that there are those trying to find a way to defend this kid, if the students he was following had found matches and decided to start a fire would that be any different than the supposed $20.00 in CD's that they commited a felony for? For Autumn to compare his actions to journalists responding to and covering fires, riots and accidents, events that have already happened or are happening is so totally out of whack, I wonder if this is what they are being taught at SFSU. I would not want Omar or any of his SFSU defenders to be any of my neighbors. I would think that this would fall into the same area that lawyers face in similar situations, are they not bound to report when a crime may be committed or can and should not be a party to it being discussed or they are held accountable as well? I believe that is how most of the mob lawyers were convicted as being a party to the crimes for just being present during the discussion of the act let alone being present during the commission of the crime and documenting it.
One more question for Omar and his people,

If you are on the freeway and see a vehicle driving along erractically and in what most people would determine is a drunk driver, do you get on the cell phone and call the CHP or follow them and get that exclusive picture of the probable accident that may or may not happen. I, and I feel most of us that live in our community that care for our friends and families, would call the cops and report the situation hoping to prevent a tragedy from occuring. from you and your "Editors" postings using your membership( which I thought was exspressly not allowed)it would seem you would follow with camera ready and hope for a pileup. Things have a way of getting way out of hand from what they started out as and becoming a lot worse...
Omar, you can be sure of one thing your name will not be easily forgetten. It may even become associated with a phrase such as Don't do a Vega or an Omar.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

This thread has reached the maximum number of posts
If you would like to continue it, please create a new thread.
[ Create new thread? ]



Return to --> Message Board Main Index
The official SportsShooter.com multicolored food preparation device ::..