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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

News Photographers blocked @ Wrangler Jr Rodeo
Jeffery Jones, Photographer, Photo Editor
Gallup | NM | USA | Posted: 5:23 PM on 07.02.08
->> It is not up on our web site (yet) so I posted the story to my personal blog - the Wrangler Jr. High Finals Rodeo is once again in town here in Gallup, New Mexico. The city has spent MILLIONS of dollars to get the park the way the Wrangler people want it, and this year they have decided that media photographers, in essence, have to pay for access to the arena.

Our publisher, managing editor and sports editor all said it doesn't work that way. So we are blacking out not only photo coverage, but all coverage.

Here is the link to my blog with the text of the story:

http://tinyurl.com/4h43w6
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Jody Gomez, Photographer
Murrieta | CA | USA | Posted: 6:24 PM on 07.02.08
->> The PBR is doing the same thing. They have a new contract which requires photographers to pay for access. The contract also says that the PBR has the copyright. It's essentially the same contract they've always had, however now the photographers get to pay to give away their images. I'm not sure if it applies to editorial shooting though.
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Michael McNamara, Photographer, Photo Editor
Phoenix | AZ | USA | Posted: 6:35 PM on 07.02.08
->> Good for management standing their ground. Like your sports editor said in the article, agreeing to restrictions can quickly become a slippery slope.

Since the event is held in a city-owned facility, I'd make sure the mayor and the chamber of commerce see the piece.
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William Maner, Photographer
Biloxi | MS | USA | Posted: 6:55 PM on 07.02.08
->> Michael.... you wrote:

"Since the event is held in a city-owned facility, I'd make sure the mayor and the chamber of commerce see the piece."..

I don't know how much of a difference that might make. There are times when an outfit rents a facility, they can impose certain restrictions.

I have a case in point...Last December, our local coliseum hosted a coast-wide basketball tournament. I had gotten a new lens and wanted to go try it out in an indoor sports setting.

I plopped down $7 for my ticket at the ticket window and then when I went to enter the coliseum--paid for by local taxes and in the midst of a $60-something million bond issue renovation, I was told that I couldn't bring my camera in. Three security guys walked up as I was discussing the issue with the ticket taker.

I didn't press the issue..I just left and went home. I wasn't shooting for anyone...had no intention of trying to sell photos.. It just wasn't worth the hassle to try test out the lens in the best-lit facility in my area.

I guess if I was really wanting to be a pain, I could have sneaked in my point and shoot camera and took pictures of other folks with cameras in the stands.

This is one of those fuzzy areas where there are questions about whether a person has an absolute right to take photos in a public facility. I don't know if that's absolutely the case.
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Brian Leddy, Photographer
Gallup | NM | United States | Posted: 7:58 PM on 07.02.08
->> What really stinks to me is the fact that our competitor, The Gallup Herald (sort of, they are a weekly), is allowed access to the arena while we are not. This is because they are a sponsor of the rodeo.

Here's a link to an earlier story about their reasons for not allowing access:

http://www.gallupindependent.com/2008/06June/062008shutter.html

To me it doesn't add up, they say that media outlets with a finacial relationship with the rodeo will be issued a pass, but then go on to say it is a safety issue. Our staff of shooters are all trained photographers, while our competitor, The Gallup Herald, will be out there with P&S cameras shooting happy snaps.

After talking with our managing editor, he informed me that a few other state newspapers, including The Farmington Daily Times, The Albuquerque Journal, the Las Cruces Sun-News and the New Mexico AP are blacking out coverage as well. I'm not sure about the Santa Fe New Mexican, but hopefully they'll jump on board as well.
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Jon Cunningham, Photographer
Lisle | IL | USA | Posted: 9:24 PM on 07.02.08
->> William wrote: There are times when an outfit rents a facility, they can impose certain restrictions.

Right, unfortunately. I had a newspaper assignment to get photos of a "gun show" at the local county fair grounds. The guns were for sale to whoever bought a ticket.

I barely got there, and was asking for the person who was named on my assignment as my official contact at the show, when I was suddenly showed the door (gate) by a band of armed show patrons. Spotting my camera, they told me that no photos are ever allowed at the gun shows. I never met the contact.

Though I got no photos while inside the fairgrounds, I did get an eyeful of several tables full of automatic weapons that looked like one could start a war with.

I shot a few frames from the street outside the gate, showing these patrons walking around with big time automatic weapons slung over their shoulders.

Nothing ran in the paper, but I think that might have been the last gun show at the county fairgrounds.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 9:42 PM on 07.02.08
->> What are the people over at the Gallup Herald smoking? Do they NOT get that what they are a part of sets up, in the words of Mr. MacNamara, a "slipperly slope"?

They're riding high for this event, but what happens if this trend grows? Can they afford to sponsor EVERY rodeo or other event where sponsorship is a required to provide coverage?

Seems to me that some letters to the editor of the Herald from Sportsshooter members might reenforce the point of how short sighted this is.

If they had taken a pass, would the promoters have played hardball?
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Sean Stevens, Photographer
San Antonio | TX | USA | Posted: 9:47 PM on 07.02.08
->> I have never study journalism ethics, but wouldn't paying to shoot, or being paid to shoot a news event, skew things enough that in fact it would no longer be news?

The only analogy I can think of that even comes close to 'pay to play' would be bell-hops paying the concierge of a fancy hotel the right to work there knowing they'll make enough in tips to cover the cost.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 9:53 PM on 07.02.08
->> It appears that the email for the editor and publisher, Joesph Kolb is ghsat@hotmail.com.

Think I'll drop the editor a note...
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G.M. Andrews, Photographer
Mobile | AL | USA | Posted: 10:44 PM on 07.02.08
->> I think it's pretty much SOP for an organization that pays rent, even for a public-owned facility, to set whatever ground rules they want. And the municipality, or county, or state, desperate to keep that facility busy (and making money, thereby justifying the expenditure of public funds to build the arena in the first place) isn't going to cave in to the media. We usually don't pay a penny to cover an event.

Money talks...

And on a side note -

"Though I got no photos while inside the fairgrounds, I did get an eyeful of several tables full of automatic weapons that looked like one could start a war with."

Jon, feelings are pretty strong on both sides of the gun control issue. If you go into an assignment with the mentality reflected in your comment above regarding "automatic weapons that looked like one could start a war with", do you wonder why you were escorted out of the "gun show"?

Sometimes we in the media don't do ourselves any favors.
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Jeff Martin, Photographer
wellington | OH | usa | Posted: 10:57 PM on 07.02.08
->> Jon, I'm just guessing, but I doubt you saw patrons with "big time automatic weapons."

Jeff
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Alvin Self, Photographer
Irving | TX | USA | Posted: 11:10 PM on 07.02.08
->> A point we are over looking. Why do they need to shoot in the arena? I have covered rodeos for 30 years. I shoot from outside the arena. With the lenses and strobes we have available there is no problem getting excellent pictures with out stepping foot in the arena. I know Greg and Judy may shoot inside the arena at times. What would they think if they had to run to the fence and there were 6 other photographers in the arena in there way?
I have shoot at Red Rock and there are plenty of places to shoot with out getting in the arena.
Don't get me wrong I have shoot in the arena before. However after I lost my right leg in 1998 it made it difficult to run and climb a fence.
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Jon Cunningham, Photographer
Lisle | IL | USA | Posted: 11:59 PM on 07.02.08
->> G.M., I did not go to that assignment with the "attitude" that you suggest.

For the record, I am in no way against guns that are legally owned and used. Though I don't shoot (guns) now, I do have an NRA Sharpshooter Bar I medal, from my teenage years. I credit my rifle experience for my attraction to shooting action with long lenses. Focusing, composing, seeing the light, etc. added something for me that I could not get from just shooting holes in things.

I'm only relating what happened at an event at a public, taxpayer supported, venue, The kind of place that newspapers would normally have access to. I expected to be welcome at an event at the county fairgrounds, and looked forward to being there. I had no agenda, other than trying to get some interesting photos.

If they had nothing to hide, why not allow photos? It might mean a bigger crowd for them next time. Maybe my (never to be met) contact would have escorted me and allowed photos, but these thugs got to me first.

Jeff, There were actual military weapons there. I know, I'm a vet who has used what I saw, but only in training. Definitely automatic capabilities. Evidently those are legal at the moment, but I'm not the judge of that.

I think you guys read in something about my "attitude" that wasn't there.
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Greg Ferguson, Photographer
Scottsdale | Az | USA | Posted: 12:33 AM on 07.03.08
->> "What would they think if they had to run to the fence and there were 6 other photographers in the arena in there way?"

More people in the arena isn't a good thing. The odds go up someone won't be paying attention when they should, and because photographers are farther from the chutes they're also a lot farther from the people who can pull a bull off them. Also, when the broncs are in the arena there's a lot greater chance of someone getting crushed on the fence by a bronc. So, the fewer people roaming around the better. Climbing a fence with a camera in one hand is not easy when you're able to take your time. Put a bull or bronc on your tail and it gets REALLY hard. Usually you get one chance, then you're in danger. If you slip or delay you can be smashed against the fence.

As far as the Jr. High and High School Rodeo associations - they're only concerned about getting the sponsor funds, not about the publicity. It's like a pyramid of basic corporate needs - worry about money first, and advertising/publicity second.

Everyone feels slighted when they're told no, especially when they're used to being told yes always, but that's the rodeo world and they do things their own way. Complain about it and they'll consider you whiners, and won't worry about articles in the paper. Digging in is nothing new to them, and odds are good blacklisting them won't faze them.
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Jeffery Jones, Photographer, Photo Editor
Gallup | NM | USA | Posted: 1:11 AM on 07.03.08
->> Do we need to be on the arena floor? Yep. It is the only way that our strobes can come close to lighting the riders.

And we (or at least me) are not actually inside the event area when shooting here - but rather there is a gate/barrier dividing the arena floor into sections. I stand behind the barrier and shoot from that fence. I am not willing to stand in the actual event arena these days - knee surgery on one knee, periodic troubles with the other, and instead of six-pack abs I went for the keg version....

This is not really a safety issue at all for me. I have shot dozens of rodeos at this facility. PBR, AIRCA, just did a performance a few weeks ago of the largest amatuer rodeo in the Southwest. No problems with being in anybody's way while shooting on the arena floor. There is always this series of barricades erected for me to stand at/behind.

Having five or six other photographers in the way when running to the fences? Here? We are not exactly a mecca of news photographers and free-lance shooters. Aside from the staff shooter from my paper, and the guy from the Herald, the only other photographers here are the contract guys. Even the contract photographers stay out of the arena itself, choosing instead to sit in chairs on a platform just outside of the barriers with a big canopy to keep the sun off them.

And it wasn't really my call one way or the other on this. Sports editor, managing editor and publisher all worked this out, or didn't.
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Brian Leddy, Photographer
Gallup | NM | United States | Posted: 1:42 AM on 07.03.08
->> Alvin, I think you are missing the point of why we are not covering the event. As journalists we should not have to pay for access to an event, especially one that taxpayer money plays a large role in subsidizing. If we pay for this event, where do we draw the line? Should we be paying for access to all events (provided the public is paying as well)? This was the logic that our publisher explained to us in making his decision.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 7:42 AM on 07.03.08
->> My email to Mr Kolb...

Dear Mr. Kolb,
My name is Michael Fischer, I'm a freelance photojournalist based in Spencer Iowa.

For the record, I've never been to Gallup, NM. I have no axe to grind. I don't subscribe to the Gallup Herald, or the other paper. I DO believe strongly in the freedom of the press, and am concerned about maintaining a free, strong and independent press. Certainly, there is no doubt, that the independent status of journalism, so important to our democracy, is under siege.

I'm writing regarding your sponsorship of the local rodeo event, the Wrangler Jr. High Rodeo event. If the reports I've read are accurate, you gained access by agreeing to be a official sponsor. Obviously, I don't know the terms and conditions of the sponsorship, but as someone with a degree in business with 30 years plus experience, a sponsorship to me usually means money, or something of value, is exchanged.

It is this critical issue that gives me the greatest concern. At the end of the day, you have exchanged something of value in order to gain access. Are you sure that this is a trend you believe your newspaper, ANY newspaper, really wants to participate in? While it's great to have exclusive coverage of this event, what would happen if the tables were turned? What would happen if next time, the good folks at Wrangler raise the bar to the point that it's no longer economically viable for you?

I know that these are very challenging times in the newspaper business. They are challenging in almost every sector of business. I am the first to advocate finding new ways to find business success.However, I would be the last to advocate something that could compromise the public's trust in my newspaper - or any newspaper - in the long term.

I doubt I need to tell you that the long term implications of this bode poorly for journalism. Not only in Gallup, but, throughout the country. I ask you to reconsider your decision and position in the future.

Respectfully,

Michael Fischer


and his thoughtful, insightful response...

Michael,
I have no idea what the hell you are talking about in terms of "access." With the portrayal of a journalist that you present in this bizarre correspondence, you may have wanted to check your facts before making assertions. As a journalist, am I not supposed to cover one of the major events in my town? As a businessman, am I not supposed to get involved in supporting something that's good for our community? If you are referring to what you may have read in the other newspaper, you , as well as they, should check facts before making a fool of yourselves. If you are referring to my competitor's ridiculous complaints about not being permitted on the rodeo floor, if this is what you mean by "access" let me illuminate this OBJECTIVELY for you. I was on the floor for a short period on Monday taking photos for the paper. It wasn't until Tuesday that I was informed by a rodeo official that there is a strict dress code for anyone on the floor to follow. I, unlike my competitor and you who are not dealing in facts, went to the rodeo media office to inquire about this. I was shown in writing that everyone, even media had to wear western type gear in order to be on the floor. Not having such gear, I sat in the stands the remainder of the week and took photos from there. They may not have been great but they were good. I follow the rules imposed on me by whomever is setting them, whether it is a police line at a crime scene or being prohibited from being on a rodeo floor if I am not wearing a cowboy hat. I know when to pick my fights. Your attempt at a lecture in journalistic ethics was a waste of both of our times.

Joe Kolb, Publisher
The Gallup Herald


So, Jeff, go buy a cowboy hat and boots.. :) :) :) Everything, according to Kolb, should be fine :) :):)
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Alan Look, Photographer
Bloomington | IL | United States | Posted: 7:56 AM on 07.03.08
->> In response to Jon above:

"I did get an eyeful of several tables full of automatic weapons that looked like one could start a war with."

I held a Federal Firearms License for years, attending several gun shows. I heard of automatic weapons at one and of the BATF being at several. I never saw an automatic weapon at any.

Many automatic weapons have identical semi-automatic partners. The M16 and AR15 look very close to the same, one being fully automatic and the other a semi. Yes, an AR can be converted with a few simple parts.

For the Rodeo - I only know what I've read here, but cudos to those saying no.

Save A Tree - Buy a Picture Book

Back to the camera, gotta shoot something.

AL
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Alan Look, Photographer
Bloomington | IL | United States | Posted: 9:25 AM on 07.03.08
->> I should amend that last post. I was half a sleep when typing and it's been a long time since I had that FFL.

I believe a a show or two, there was a Class3 dealer that had an automatic weapon or tow on display, but they were not for sale.

Sorry for being off topic, but wanted to make that clarification.
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Andrew Sullivan, Photo Editor, Photographer
Kissimmee | FL | USA | Posted: 11:44 AM on 07.03.08
->> I kinda wish I could have tabbed Michael's post as 'Hilarious'.


Andrew Sullivan
http://www.picandrew.com
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Non Conforming | MA | United States | Posted: 12:26 PM on 07.03.08
->> While I would have understood not running the the photos provided by the organizer, a complete blackout is an equally dangerous position. Announcing it in the manner that it was announced just made it even worse. IMHO.

With all of the posts about layoff's and newspaper ad dollars vanishing, making a move that tells rodeo fans 'nothing to see or READ here, keep movin" isn't the best laid business plan either. And to do it in ADVANCE? Well that just sends the wrong message to advertisers period.

You would have been better off sending a reporter and running the stories with a black box where the photo would have gone. Then you could have served the subscribers, and brought attention to the photo policy. As it now stands subscribers who want to know ANYTHING about the rodeo have to buy the competing paper. I not so sure that I would want to make a habit of forcing my subscriber base to have to buy the other paper for local news that was blacked out on principle. Not the message that I would want to be sending to advertisers either.

In the end the job is to report the news and deal with the road blocks along the way. When a judge imposes a 'no photos' or 'pool shooter' on a trial do you keep the reporter in the newsroom too? No you deal with the fact that a single (wo)man who may on may not have been elected and who is presiding over a very public proceeding being held in a very publicly funded venue has made a ruling. And you deal with it. The principle remains the same at the core. Report the story as best as you can. The blackout will serve the competition more that it will serve you.

Granted that from what I gather this isn't a big rodeo and that there IS a professional rodeo going on at the same time elsewhere. This isn't hard news, it's fluff, and that's why the paper can so easily blow off the story. So that being the case this might have a minimal impact anyway.

Sorry just my opinion.
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Brian Leddy, Photographer
Gallup | NM | United States | Posted: 12:49 PM on 07.03.08
->> Eric,
We didn't make the decision in advance, we did it after a photographer went on Monday night and was told that he had to pay to get in, thus the editorial on Tuesday, July 1. Again, I think you, as well as a few others are missing the point. We will not pay to cover the event and we will not take photos from the event photographer (for FREE no less), when we have capable, ethical and trained journalists right here on our own staff that have been covering this event for years without any sort of safety concerns ever. As far as sending subscribers to our competitor, they will have to wait until after the rodeo is over in order to read any sort of story as their paper comes out on Mondays, a day after the rodeo is over, so no worries there. One more thing regarding Mr. Kolb's comments about dress; we are well aware of the dress code and indeed would have no problems following it if we were allowed access. That simply is not the issue.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Non Conforming | MA | United States | Posted: 1:08 PM on 07.03.08
->> Brian I stand corrected on the 'advance' part.

So then how much $ are we talking about? And if the admission were to be waived would the next issue be what locations your photographers could shoot from?

As for the paper coming out on Monday. Am I wrong that families and friends of those in the rodeo will have to buy the 'other' paper for stories and photos of the event?

I don't know your paper or ever your region. I DO know good business. In an industry that is greased by advertising dollars, doing anything that shifts eyes from your content to someone else's content is a bad idea. Then again like I said maybe this rodeo doesn't really account for much interest or that many eyes. That would make deciding to blackout coverage a lot easier.
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William Maner, Photographer
Biloxi | MS | USA | Posted: 1:53 PM on 07.03.08
->> Eric C...

You mentioned the effect on advertisers.. What gets lost in these types of battles is what the reader on the street, Jo E Blow thinks.

I'm sure the rodeo is a big event in Gallup. I'm sure readers are looking forward to articles and photos of the event. But what happens when there's nothing in the paper? Joe Blow is going to think the local paper didn't think enough of the event to cover it. In that regard, you are right about a "blackout" being counterproductive.

I don't know that Joe Blow really cares about a dispute between the paper and the organizer over access/coverage.

I don't know how good it looks to have a street shot of the fans coming and going along with a short article about why the coverage is as brief as it is.

I wonder if the general public would think the paper could have done more to provide coverage?
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Jeffery Jones, Photographer, Photo Editor
Gallup | NM | USA | Posted: 2:37 PM on 07.03.08
->> Michael -
as you probably know,rodeo attire for being on the floor is standard policy around here. Why Joe Kolb decided to attend one without it in the first place is beyond me (he used to be an employee here before he started the Herald). Though I don't actually wear a cowboy hat (hard to keep the thing on when shooting verticals or with a flash) I have bought a couple of shirts just for attending rodeos. Gotta love wearing long sleeve shirts in the middle of New Mexico in July...

Maybe I need to buy WRANGLER jeans and shirts?

Whatever. To me, this is not a big loss for our readers. The whole event is kids from out of town. As a result I am free to go to Window Rock and cover the professional rodeo tonight instead, and a much larger segment of our readership is located on the reservation. On any given day we seem to have plenty of other things to cover if somebody wants to give us problems.

My publisher put it this way: if we pay for access here, and then pay for access at high school sports, then pay to cover city council meetings, and pretty soon we'll have Cub Scouts saying $50 to cover our meeting.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Non Conforming | MA | United States | Posted: 2:38 PM on 07.03.08
->> Bill it isn't lost on me at all. To blackout coverage of an event that will be getting covered in a competing paper is to court confusion for the readers. Mr and Mrs Blow will pickup whatever paper has Billy Blow Bustin Broncs. If they happen to be subscribers to the paper doing the blackout it will only add to their dissatisfaction.

The final kicker will be that the 'other' paper has complete coverage..... What are you going to do, hold a class on newspaper ethics for the readers? Educate the readers that you took the high ground on this one. Hope that the local tack shop who bought a 1/4 page in you paper thinking that the rodeo fans would see their saddle sale accepts your moral obligation to the editorial gods?

The general public either doesn't care or doesn't understand all of the underling politics. AND THEY AREN'T INTERESTED IN LEARNING ABOUT IT EITHER. From a purely business stance it was a DUMB idea. LOCAL news and events are the ONLY reason left for people to look at the fish wrapper/cage liner.

I dropped my subscription to the local paper once the first 5 pages of the paper were nothing more than a re-hash of what I had been hearing all day on the radio. The "B" section had 2 pages of local news followed by 3 pages of the same local announcements that are hung on the supermarket bulletin board/church board. Ditto for sports. The classifieds are nothing more than 8 pages of foreclosure notices / bankruptcy notices and ads for merchandise that has already sold on Craigslist.

To hear that a paper is shunning a local story that might play well to the LOCAL reader is like hearing about someone playing Russian roulette with a semi auto pistol.
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Jeffery Jones, Photographer, Photo Editor
Gallup | NM | USA | Posted: 1:24 AM on 07.04.08
->> Eric -
the other paper has access because they paid to be a sponsor.
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John OHara, Photographer
Petaluma | Ca | United States | Posted: 1:47 AM on 07.04.08
->> I am a retired SF Chronicle photographer, 30 years. Sometimes I tyre from saying that. I also photographed California High School Rodeo for 10 years.
An event like the National Final High School Rodeo, started in every state in the country. After a long season, competitors make it to the finals. The competitor is not informed of the decisions of the National Directors of the High School Rodeo Assoc.
These Directors are elected and put into a position where their vote makes a difference as to the outcome of the event. In this case, Media coverage of the the Natl. H.S. Rodeo Finals. The directors probably followed the lead of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. All of this was done well in advance of arriving in New Mexico.
These folks may not have a lot of trust in newspapers or their photographers. Right or wrong, many of them feel that way. Animal rights organizations, and other groups would like nothing more than to raise a stink.
Inside the arena, there are pick up riders, bull fighters and others. One person not tuned in to the workings of a rodeo can alter the outcome of the event.
EXAMPLE, the sponsor did not know about the dress code. It they did not know about that issue, what else did they not know ? If your presence alters the outcome of the event, should you be there ? Think about it.
TO FIX THE PROBLEM, make contact with the National Directors, talk to them, gain their confidence and trust for 2009.
FAILING ALL OF THIS, I would not put one line of text in my paper about the event, I would distract and lead my readers in an entirely different direction not giving the National High School Rodeo Finals any attention what so ever.
P.S . At my paper, there was a very aggressive reporter and a photographer with the same goals. Wanna know what they did, or tried to do at the Salinas Rodeo some years ago ? Email me I'll tell you
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Jeffery Jones, Photographer, Photo Editor
Gallup | NM | USA | Posted: 1:56 AM on 07.04.08
->> John -
the thing is this is the fourth straight year coming here. This is the first time this has come up. I did not hear a word about problems involving any media there in previous years.
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Jesse Beals, Photographer
Silverdale | WA | USA | Posted: 4:01 AM on 07.04.08
->> I ran into this problem last year in Bremerton, WA. Two minutes before the Extreme Bulls rodeo started I was told I had to leave the arena.

Know just so you all now, the rodeo was a 5 day event and I was being told on day 5 that I had to leave the arena. I had shot the first 4 days in my normal work close from just about every angle around the fenced arena. But the day the Extreme Bulls weekend highlight started I was told sorry you have to leave. My paper had already published a weeks work of stuff and we were trying to get the final days action. I asked why am I being told to leave if I have been here all week doing my job. And also why are those other photographers who do not work for a media outlet but are members of the local camera club that donates prints to the rodeo aloud to stay?

The responce I got was this. You have not been here all week or we would of scene you. And second you do not have a cowboy hat, boots or shirt. But if you would like to go to are booth just around the corner and purchase these items we can let you back in. As for the camera club people they have full access because they donate photos to the fair and the president of the camera club is on the fair committee.

I was dumb founded. Because this person was saying I needed to buy his clothing items to stay in the arena and second we were standing 25 feet away from the rodeo wall were all the cowboys hung out and the scores were posted and my weeks worth of published photos that had been cut out of the paper were hanging on the wall for all to see. yet I was supposedly never there all week?

I have been doing the same thing photography wise for the past 6 years at this rodeo. I eventually got my way and was aloud to shoot next to the bucking shoots. I pretty much in a nut shell told the person in charge I can either bring back photos of the extreme bulls rodeo or a picture of you kicking me out of the arena. I stood my ground and said either way one of the photos is gonna run in the next papers issue. You have to stand your ground or you will be walked on.

I am already worried about what to expect this year so lets cross are fingers.
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Allen Hubbard, Photographer
Spokane | WA | USA | Posted: 3:44 PM on 07.04.08
->> I have photographed rodeo for many years (mostly Pro West but some PRCA). It has alway been a rule of most if not all rodeo associations that anyone (not just photographers) who are inside the arena (meaning inside the railings) must be wearing western attire.
I have seen many photographers (working pro's) standing just outside of the rail taking pictures wearing regular attire (even shorts and sandals). Even those in the photo wells don't always wear hats etc.
Being in the arena gives you better shooting angles and gets you closer to the action but yes it is much more dangerous. I have been run down by both horses and bulls, but if you understand their behaviors and pay attention you can come out alive.
Now if you were back behind the chutes, in the "backstage" area where the riders are and the stock is being sorted etc. then it might be different. Some associations might have rules about that where as others don't seem to.
As for paying to take photos, as a freelance rodeo photographer I do have to buy a "Membership Card" as a contractor of the association to be allowed in the arena. As has been stated before many of the larger associations (PRCA, PBR etc) also have a contract that require you to submit images to them and give them the rights to use them. That is why I tend to shoot the "semi-pro" ranks where this doesn't take place, as of yet here anyway. And also the riders are more interested in their photos.
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Aaron Rhoads, Photographer
McComb | MS | USA | Posted: 5:24 PM on 07.04.08
->> Just been told I have to wear helmet and pads to photograph
the upcoming hs football season.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Non Conforming | MA | United States | Posted: 5:42 PM on 07.04.08
->> Could have been worse Aaron, they could have required skirts and pom poms
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Greg Ferguson, Photographer
Scottsdale | Az | USA | Posted: 7:38 PM on 07.04.08
->> "As has been stated before many of the larger associations (PRCA, PBR etc) also have a contract that require you to submit images to them and give them the rights to use them."

PBR probably, PRCA, no.

PRCA photographers are freelance, own their copyrights and get paid for the use of images. If you don't want to submit you don't have to.
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Mike Shepherd, Photographer
Wichita | KS | USA | Posted: 8:12 PM on 07.04.08
->> " ... they could have required skirts and pom poms ... "

And that's a point no one has brought up. Too many organizations want nothing more than for the media to be a cheerleader for their events. That may or may not be the case with this situation but I can tell you exactly where this country is at with a cheerleading press: endless war and $4 gas.
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Greg Ferguson, Photographer
Scottsdale | Az | USA | Posted: 11:59 PM on 07.04.08
->> "I have seen many photographers (working pro's) standing just outside of the rail taking pictures wearing regular attire (even shorts and sandals). Even those in the photo wells don't always wear hats etc.
[...]
Now if you were back behind the chutes, in the "backstage" area where the riders are and the stock is being sorted etc. then it might be different. Some associations might have rules about that where as others don't seem to. "

The PRCA requires anyone inside the arena to wear western wear, including a long-sleeve western shirt and cowboy hat. The PRCA photographers are the only ones exempt according to the rule book, but most of us wear our hat, and most rodeos insist on it, even if the rodeo has sectioned the arena and you're not in the active part of the arena.

On top of that, many insist that press also have on western wear if they are working within sight of the audience, either in front of the fence or behind the chutes - Tucson's spring Pro stop is an example. It's all about the traditions of the sport, and, rodeo people are very traditional. It's a good gesture to have the clothes on, even if you think its silly. The committee and contestants appreciate the respect of the traditions and will be more cooperative. If the hat gets in the way you take it off to get the shot and put it back on or get a "stampede strap" (the string that goes under your chin) so you can push the hat back off your head and have it stay convenient or not blow away in wind. Show you're trying to fit in and they'll meet you half way. Sneer at the traditions or rules and you'll find them very uncooperative.
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Jesse Beals, Photographer
Silverdale | WA | USA | Posted: 11:14 PM on 07.05.08
->> I still feel if your behind the railing you should be aloud to wear normal close and not rodeo attire.

I mean heck the EMT personal, stadium personal or concession people don't wear rodeo gear while they do their job at the rodeo so why must the photographers who are doing their jobs?

So what's gonna be next? I go to a sports game and I hav to wear the team I am coverings logo's?

I just feel that nobody should tell you how you must dress in order to do your job. Is wearing a cowboy hat and long sleave shirt in 90 degree heat in July / August going to help me capture an award winning photo over wearing a T-shirt and a baseball cap?
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Jon Buder, Student/Intern, Photographer
Aztec | NM | USA | Posted: 11:30 PM on 07.05.08
->> I don't completely understand the point of cowboy hats and boots being required, but if that's their policy for anyone who is going to be down in the dirt, then I guess it's up to them. The long sleeve shirt might be partly for safety - I doubt it would help if you were being trampled by a horse or speared with a bull's horns, but if you got pushed against something rough it might save you from getting scratched or something. Grasping at straws...

Personally, when I shoot rodeos there's no way I'm getting down in the arena, at least not for the bronco and bull riding or steer wrestling. Those critters are unpredictable and I'd rather get a shot from a little farther away than get stomped on. I'll sit down on the outside and shoot down through the bars. Maybe if I had a 600mm lens and I could be a hundred feet away from where they go instead of 20-30 feet with a 70-200 it would be different.

I feel a little bit differently about motor/cycling sports, which might be less safe than a rodeo. I trust a person driving/riding a vehicle, despite how fast they're driving, more than a big, angry animal with some guy on his back kicking him.
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Greg Ferguson, Photographer
Scottsdale | Az | USA | Posted: 11:46 PM on 07.05.08
->> Jesse, you can feel that way all you want, but if you are told to shoot at an event by your employer, and that requires you to dress in a suit or Tux, are you going to do it? A good suit or Tux could be required at a wedding, formal corporate event, funeral, etc. T-shirts and caps are considered very disrespectful at many events, and at a black-tie affair you'd be refused entrance.

You can choose to ignore that sort of "requirement", just as you can choose who you work for. If you're shooting at a rodeo that requires dress-code, then it's your choice whether you tell your boss no, you won't do it and go shoot something else or go along with it.

And, as for wearing a cowboy hat vs. a baseball cap - there's a reason they wear those hats. It's for protection from the weather, and on a 120-degree day outside I'll wear mine over a baseball cap. The hat is cooler and offers better protection from skin cancer as will the long-sleeve shirt.

When I'm shooting somewhere besides a rodeo I tailor my clothes for the occasion - sometimes shorts if I'm outdoors, but if I'm somewhere more formal I dress more formal. In my corporate days I'd dress in suits, in the office it'd be sport shirts, polo shirts and slacks or jeans, at a wedding I'll dress according to its formality. It's all about dressing for the job, and sometimes you have to dress differently than you would at home. It's part of having a job.
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Greg Ferguson, Photographer
Scottsdale | Az | USA | Posted: 11:53 PM on 07.05.08
->> ..."Maybe if I had a 600mm lens and I could be a hundred feet away from where they go instead of 20-30 feet with a 70-200 it would be different. "

This made me chuckle. You have NO idea how many times I wished I was at the end of a long lens and on the other side of the fence. With a bull or bronc coming it's really hard to tell distance with a zoom, and sometimes they look like they're right on top of me. THAT is NOT a good feeling, and I've almost knocked myself out a couple times running for the fence, thinking it was a lot farther away and hitting it after the second or third stride.
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Ray Anderson, Photographer
San Francisco | CA | USA | Posted: 5:05 AM on 07.06.08
->> Jesse
Extreme Bull events at Rodeos sometimes have different media requirements than the main rodeo events.
Normally you have to be a PRCA member to shoot the extreme bulls.
As far as cowboy attire most rodeos state on the media forms that cowboy attire is required, this is part of the tradition.
Yes the EMT people and video guys with headsets are not required to wear the cowboy attire but everyone else including the contestants have to dress in western wear.
Most rodeos will waive the cowboy boot requirement but will not allow tennis shoes.
I like the look that the cowboy hats and western shirts give to the wide angle shots of rodeo.

http://www.dobsonimages.com/plogger/index.php?level=collection&id=15
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