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|| News Item: Posted 2001-08-29

Stopping Sideline Madness
By Jon Soohoo

In our field of sports photography we have no connection with PR Directors or Sports Information Directors unless there is a problem. Be it credential issues, yellow jacket issues or begging for parking, any issue we have usually makes us look like a nuisance.

The press box is made up beat writers and radio and television staffs that work all season with PR and SPIN staffs. They are regulars who have developed a relationship over training camp, press conferences, setup interviews during the week.

Most photographers covering games for their respected papers are not beat photographers nor do the PR or SPIN people know one from the other. They are the assigned photog for the day. No rapport has been made.

Then you add "Joe Aggressive Photographer" who crosses security staff who are doing what they are told and you know we are all called a nuisance. This pertains to all of us. We all get lumped together as paparazzi. It is a shame but it is what it is.

Newspapers are not going to send out a staff photographer to cover the beat like writers due to economics and a two-letter word called AP.

Add other agencies like Reuters, AFP and Allsport and you have a regionalized photo journalism. Is it wrong? It is what it is. With publishers merging such as the ones associated with the LA Daily News, only the regional paper will be given the assignment. This means even less contact with the PR environment.

And those kids who are down on the field are the lucky recipients of parents who donate a gazillion dollars to the university and there is no way these kids are going anywhere.

I am hoping to offer a solution, at least at the collegiate level. Those wonderful network NFL people who gave us the double line last season (so still photographers could be five more feet away from the action) so their dish-dicks and handy-cam f**ks could plants themselves in front of us, could be utilized by SPIN Directors who can put "Daisy Donors" behind the second line and the stills at the first line. It has worked during USC games last year as I suggested (pat on my own back). Hopefully I can get enough time to contact UCLA SID Marc Dellins to do the same thing at the Rose Bowl this season.

Just do me a favor. Stay behind the first line.

(Jon Soohoo is the Los Angeles Dodgers team photographer and the official photographer of the California Motor Speedway. He is a graduate of USC. His web site is

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