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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

the SEC policy redux
David Burnett, Photographer
Arlington | VA | usa | Posted: 9:56 AM on 08.13.09
->> I can well understand the limiting of credentials on the sideline.. all you have to do is attend any game, see the number of people who have no business there, and it makes sense (though of course limiting the photographers will have very little to do with that over crowding), but I have to say that unless it changes, any self-respecting (big leap, here) photographer who agrees to photograph a Univ of Kentucky football game under the draconian measures they are trying to impose -- well they would obviously no longer be self-respecting. When publicly based entities (a 'state' university) become so self protective in such an aggressive way (forbidding the sale of football pictures, for example) it is the sickest sign yet that the mercantilism and marketing forces in this country have totally run amok. I realize that 'freedom of the press' really only refers to the protection which the govt. provides against state sponsored ("Congress shall pass no law") harassment, but it makes me physically ill to see how people seem to go along with these kind of restrictions just so they can take pictures at a game. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, would please me more than to see NOT a single photograph of anything to do with U Kentucky Football for the first two weeks of the season, in any medium (does AP have to 'sell' pictures to the school too?) A total blanket boycott of their stupid program would be the one thing which would get their attention. Say what you will about the French, but those guys really know how to pull off a boycott. IN fact..the coolest thing that could happen would be on opening day, for all the photographers to line up on the side line by the endzone (out of harms way, of course, you know.. 8 or 10 yards behind the 'friends of the coaches' .. and just put their cameras on the ground, and stand there., arms folded. The only photographer shooting anything would be someone taking a picture of the photographers. WE keep accepting these arbitrary and ridiculous restrictions on the ability to photograph... and until we stand up and say "No More", it will continue until there is no one left to shoot anything that isnt controlled by some pinheaded bureaucrat. Ok.. I'll have that Mojito now....
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George Bridges, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | USA | Posted: 11:40 AM on 08.13.09
->> David,

Over the years several leagues have looked at this kind of stuff. I know there have been rumors a couple times since digital cameras became viable that the NBA has looked at shutting out photographers and providing images for print.

Like you, I think the solution is a full-scale boycott from ALL media of coverage. Instead of running a few pages on the local team after a big game or a story on the 11-O'Clock news the sports section and broadcasters simply have an ad or say "The league is preventing us from providing complete, fair coverage of yesterday's game so we are printing nothing -- no box scores from around the league, no stories, no photos. If you would like coverage again please call league headquarters at 555-5555 and voice your concern"

Unfortunately it would never happen as people would be too scared to take a stand like that and you would still have fan-boy websites that would never stand up to the universities or league. And, unfortunately, the league would be happy about that because the fan-boy sites never print negative news.

And yes, the French do know how to protest. My favorite boycott photo I have seen was of a bunch of French chefs in full kitchen regalia -- aprons, hats, rolling pins etc -- marching down the street.
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 11:58 AM on 08.13.09
->> Ha!

It was attempted a few years ago when all of the "biggies" decided to fight back on a very repressive credential use agreement from MLB.

All it took was one unnamed international news organization caving in and the opening day boycott fell apart.

Unfortunately when CYA is the order of the day, there will never be a unified front on this matter I think.

Maybe it's me, having looked at this battle for ... oh ... how long ago did I start the Sports Shooter Newsletter?

All good points... but with the economy and our industry scrambling to stay relevant, sometimes these issue end up on the back burner and then have a way of just being forgotten.

David and George --- I would always have your backs fighting the good fight my friends!
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Jeff Mills, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbus | OH | USA | Posted: 2:18 PM on 08.13.09
->> Problem with any hopes of attempting a media black out is a question of whom is it really going to hurt? Is a large university really likely to suffer any tangible repercussions from a lack of media coverage, or would it instead be countless publications, many already facing tough times, that fold due to decreased circulation and the resulting lack of ad revenue?

A weekly publication I shoot for's bread and butter in the Fall is football coverage. Thats a huge reason why people pick up the publication, for many the only one, and as such why our best ad revenue and circulation is in the Fall. If we were to no longer have the coverage, where would reader outrage lie? With the university for enacting policy we didn't agree with and that as such lead us to choose to boycott coverage ? Thats quite doubtful to me and instead I think a majority of readers would simply be of the mindset that we have no football so why pick us up anymore. Which of course directly translates to our advertisers saying we've got no football so they don't want to pay the same rates. Which then translates to our publisher saying a majority of my compensation is alloted to the fact I'm providing football coverage, which I'm now not, so I'm going to have to have my pay cut accordingly.

So now as a result of standing on principle, our publication is hurting, our readership is down, and I just got a 35% pay cut. The university ? Every game is still a sellout and millions are still watching on tv each week because networks obviously aren't going to give up coverage on events they've paid millions for the rights to broadcast. Think ABC or ESPN cares about a print media boycott ? Heck, here in the Big Ten they've even got their own Big Ten network covering a lot of the games so even if there was a television boycott (unlikely as that sounds) the result is just more viewers for their own in house coverage.

Think about the public opinion and perception of a boycott.

Me explaining to fan/reader why theres no coverage: "Due to the university's trying to limit our ability to resale images, and also rights grab at unfavorable terms to us, we have taken a stand along with other media"

Fan/Reader: "Thats awesome you get to be on the sidelines, I'd love to do that"

Me: "Well maybe you'll win a contest someday"


Really even with in our own industry theres going to be a large number of shooters who simply aren't going to care nor see what the "big deal" is. There are hundreds of credentials given out for a given game and a good number of those shooters, while not GWC or shoot in exchange for credential types, are people for whom this isn't their primary occupation or income. They get their credentials from a publication, shoot the game, get paid and thats the extent of their concern.

Most shooters only use their images expressly for the publication they are credentialed for and nothing else. If they can or can't resale them, or the university wants the rights to those images upon asking isn't a big deal to them.

They show up, sign the forms, get their credentials, go eat the media meal and shoot the game and make their $75 or whatever it is their publication pays them and then its back to their 9-5 on Monday.

Simple fact of the matter is that said policy, as Draconian as some believe it is, isn't going to affect everyone equally. As such, its going to be impossible to expect a united stance against policies that some are simply not going to have an issue with.

So I applaud anyone who's trying to fight the good fight, the sad reality is that a majority of those for whom your actually fighting for, aren't going to even realize it nor are they going to be appreciative.
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John Germ, Photographer
Wadsworth | Oh | USA | Posted: 3:15 PM on 08.13.09
->> Here's an honest question since I don't photograph Div I football. Do you honestly think a PHOTO boycott would accomplish much?
Let's face it - what fans most care about is TV. That is the primary medium they care about - first, is the game televised. Second, is it discussed on Sportscenter.

I would say (as a fan) the next thing I care about is write-ups on my team. From both national and local media.

I think a lack of photos would take a long time to hurt the school IF you still had TV and writers and national pundits talking about the team.

And, of course, the TV can't boycott - there's a contract obligation.

And I don't know how local TV stations would be in trying to create some sort of solidarity in not doing local coverage / stories.

So, at best, you'd get the local paper sports writers involved in the boycott. As Jeff indicated, I think the papers would suffer more than the school.

From the outside looking in, it is my impression the papers need Div I football more than Div I football needs the papers. That wasn't true decades ago. But with TV and the internet the fans get their needs met elsewhere.

So, while I completely understand the thinking and why sports photogs don't like this - I'm not sure a photographer boycott would be all that successful.
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Mike O'Bryon, Photographer
Ft. Lauderdale | FL | USA | Posted: 4:08 PM on 08.13.09
->> Occasionally a boycott can work

Sure the LPGA is not the SEC... and, ironically, the LPGA commissioner who was responsible for these boycotted regulations was forced to resign last month when players sent her a letter... strongly suggesting she step aside.

http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=19443

-- Mike
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Luke Sharrett, Student/Intern
Forest | VA | United States | Posted: 5:41 PM on 08.13.09
->> Can you imagine the hordes of work-for-free Nikon-shooting retired dentists that would clog the sidelines in the event of a large-scale SEC photo boycott?
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Thread Title: the SEC policy redux
Thread Started By: David Burnett
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