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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Unpaid spreading like the Flu
Bill Miller, Photographer
Thousand Palms | CA | USA | Posted: 8:55 AM on 06.04.08
->> Working for free is like the Flu, spreading faster then a wildfire. Lebanon, TN newspaper is looking for ???? well you decide. excert from article,

“We are looking for creative and responsible people to take photos at two or more events per month and upload the photos to spotted.lebanondecmorat.com,” said Managing Editor Amelia Morrison Hipps.

“This unpaid position will give shutter-bugs a unique opportunity to practice their photography, make connections and have fun,” she added. “We can't pay you, but you can get professional tips from our two staff photographers, Bill Cook and Dallus Whitfield. All experience levels are welcome.”

Interns will need a digital camera, a high-speed Internet connection and the ability to post the photographs as soon as possible after the event, according to Hipps.

“If you’re able to follow these guidelines, we would love to have you on our team,” Hipps said.


Link to full story:
http://lebanondemocrat.com/news.php?viewStory=3746
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Jeff Brehm, Photographer, Photo Editor
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 9:32 AM on 06.04.08
->> Let me guess ... this is a Gannett paper.

I noted on their web page an ad for digital mammography. I think the hospital should run an ad like this:

“We are looking for creative and responsible people to work with patients and provide one or two cancer diagnoses a month,” said Director of Patient Care Cranston Snord.

“This unpaid position will give amateur mammographers a unique opportunity to practice their work, make connections and have fun,” he added. “We can't pay you, but you can get professional tips from our two staff physicians. All experience levels are welcome.”

I wonder why people like Managing Editor Amelia Morrison Hipps, who would never trust their health, homes or cars to an untrained, unpaid worker, think that getting stories and photos that way is fine?

You get what you pay for. Readers know they're not getting quality journalism and that's why most papers -- especially Gannett's -- are endangered species.
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Brian Westerholt, Photographer
Kannapolis | NC | USA | Posted: 10:37 AM on 06.04.08
->> I wonder how the two professional photographers feel about giving professional tips to amatuer photographers giving theoir work away for free.......Maybe tip number one can be "Don't work for free!"
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Aaron Rhoads, Photographer
McComb | MS | USA | Posted: 10:42 AM on 06.04.08
->> I would give them bad tips. Keep my job.
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Mike Brice, Photographer
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 11:12 AM on 06.04.08
->> Pretty soon, there will only be one staff photographer, and four unpaid Shutterbug positions.
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Jared Wickerham, Student/Intern, Photographer
Pittsburgh | PA | U.S.A. | Posted: 11:25 AM on 06.04.08
->> Jeff,
I got a similar piece of mail from the newspaper in Lancaster, OH that you used to work for and I freelanced for, the Lancaster Eagle Gazette.. They wanted me to shoot free baseball and transmit. I also noticed that they're looking for a full-time position. I wonder why :P
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Erik Markov, Photographer
Kokomo | IN | | Posted: 11:29 AM on 06.04.08
->> Mike, are you saying one staff position for the whole Gannett chain? ;)
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Bryon Houlgrave, Photographer
Waukesha | Wi | USA | Posted: 11:43 AM on 06.04.08
->> Erik, they'll need to keep someone on to provide "professional tips" to the shutterbugs.
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Wesley R. Bush, Photographer
Nashville | TN | U.S. | Posted: 11:46 AM on 06.04.08
->> I don't think they're Gannett, but most of the papers around here operate the same way. Like we always talk about here. There is a steady line of people willing to submit pictures of the games they are already going to be at. The paper isn't looking for award-winning photography, just coverage.
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Mike Brice, Photographer
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 11:59 AM on 06.04.08
->> I am saying that once the Lebanon, TN newspaper gets a steady stream of people willing to shoot events for free, they will eliminate a staff position.

They will keep one staff photographer, who will serve as a photo editor scheduler for the shutterbugs, and take care of critical assignments that might be too important for the shutterbug - like taking the grip and grin shot at the grand opening of a key advertiser...
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Bryan Hulse, Photographer
Highlands Ranch | Co | USA | Posted: 12:19 PM on 06.04.08
->> Not to change the subject (sort of), but what I have also been noticing is that many publications, especially magazines, have been offering 'photo contests' that have great prizes if you win. Trips, lots of cash, even cars. Pet magazines, travel magazines, you name it.

My wife keeps saying I should enter the photo contests because I could easily win (so she says).

But when you read the fine print, it says that they retain ALL rights to the entered photos, whether or not you win.

How is THAT for a scam! The magazine gets hundreds of FREE photos with ALL rights that directly relate to the subject of the publication. And 1 or 2 lucky winners get some nice prizes.

How about HELL NO!
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Jeff Brehm, Photographer, Photo Editor
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 1:16 PM on 06.04.08
->> Jared:

I'm not surprised they're looking for a full-timer. While I was there as a part-timer, they went through four sports editors, five sports reporters, about a dozen news editors and reporters, and five full-time photographers. I think about half have been replaced (multiple times).

The result has been an almost complete lack of serious journalism -- no enterprise reporting, lots of coverage of quick and dirty photo ops like kids reading at the library (imagine that) -- and photographers forced to become reporters so the paper can also get a story by sending one staffer to an event no one really cares about.

If you think a huge spread (with two photos) on how to choose the right lunchbox for your child is the best way to fill the Sunday front page, then of course you can use free help to produce your paper. I guess it doesn't matter if no one wants to read it.

I still remember another staffer shaking his head as he looked at that Sunday lunchbox feature. "If you and your child are so dumb that you can't pick out a lunchbox," he muttered, "then both of you should have been held back a couple of grades."
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Scott Sewell, Photographer
Topeka | KS | USA | Posted: 1:39 PM on 06.04.08
->> I can't speak for the motives of the Lebanon Democrat or any other paper with these Spotted sections. But I will go out on a limb and swim against the tide of this thread by offering some perspective of what's going on locally with the Spotted section of our local newspaper.

My son is a spotted intern. While I happen to think he’s a pretty decent photographer for his age, he is not taking away work from the highly qualified, competent paid staffers at the paper. And if either of us thought that was the intent by having Spotted interns, he would stop shooting for them in a heartbeat.

They ask the Spotted interns to try to shoot a couple of events a month, and they stress they want photos of people at the event. Sometimes the Spotted editor even reminds the interns they are not really there to shoot the event, but the people at the event. The intent is really to drive people to the spotted section of the web site. I have never once thought the intent in using Spotted interns is to eliminate paid staff positions at the newspaper. The very thought that the Spotted interns are competing against, or would take away work from, paid staffers at the paper is almost laughable. They are two completely different kinds of photography and, in my opinion, do not relate to each other in any way.

I have a ton of respect for our local PJs and consider them to be friends (my son does, too). They work their tails off and are underpaid and overworked. But they do a great job. But I would be surprised they feel threatened by the Spotted interns. There are certainly other threats to paid photo positions at newspapers, but I would be surprised if the Spotted interns are at the top of the list of those threats.

I certainly do not want to imply that there are not legitimate threats to photojournalism and this professional in general. But, in my opinion, comparing these Spotted interns to paid staffers is comparing apples to oranges. And getting all worked up about it is expending energy and concern that might better be directed at other, more legitimate threats.
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Jeff Stanton, Photographer
Princeton | IN | USA | Posted: 3:00 PM on 06.04.08
->> Scott, you would be surprised on the kind of stuff papers will run in place of a staffers work. You have to remember, the bean counters don't care what it looks like. As long as it prevents the heads from bumping and as long as they don't have to pay for it.
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Scott Sewell, Photographer
Topeka | KS | USA | Posted: 3:38 PM on 06.04.08
->> Jeff...I would agree with you about some of the stuff some papers would run. I'm just offering my local perspective.

If this is a huge deal to someone, then so be it. I don't mean to suggest to someone that they not worry about this if it's an issue they are concerned about. But it seems to me as though there are much bigger "fish to fry" when comes to threats to photojournalism.
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Rob Bye, Photographer
Winnipeg | MB | Canada | Posted: 4:14 PM on 06.04.08
->> Does anyone else find their use of the term "shutter-bugs" demeaning? Photographers are sometimes taken too much for granted - even the ones foolishly willing to work for free.
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Jeff Gritchen, Photographer
Long Beach | CA | USA | Posted: 4:23 PM on 06.04.08
->> I'd do mammograms for free.. in fact I have
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Aaron Rhoads, Photographer
McComb | MS | USA | Posted: 4:41 PM on 06.04.08
->> We have a stringer, who shoots the spotted events. Called faces here. We pay our stringer.
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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Westminster | MD | USA | Posted: 4:55 PM on 06.04.08
->> Hey if you shoot for a New York based magazine called Contribute, you can get not paid too.

It's just not newspapers.

The irony is lost on their idiot owner. Here he wants to report about how the wealthy contribute to charity, but then doesn't pay his bills.

All the while he lives in a water front home jutting out into Long Island Sound in Westport, Connecticut. The tax records show is home is worth almost $2 million dollars. His office is in Rockefeller Center.

So don't contribute to Contribute.

http://www.contributemedia.com/
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Jeff Brehm, Photographer, Photo Editor
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 5:01 PM on 06.04.08
->> RE: Jeff G's post ... I knew someone would have to put up something like that. LOL.
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David Croxford, Photographer, Photo Editor
Honolulu | HI | USA | Posted: 5:49 AM on 06.05.08
->> How about this scenario as a respite in the ever-shrinking world of magazine photography ...
One of the magazines in our media group is an advertorial publication. We write and photograph advertisers products and projects.

The magazine is a Home Owners remodeling and design magazine, so I often shoot everything from Interior design remodels to exterior landscaping etc.

We have a client who is a landscaper and who for several years has shot his own landscaping photographs and submitted them to cover any editorial features that the writers were writing. None of which the magazine paid for!

Today, that situation ended because the editor and publisher decided that it was unethical, even in the case of an advertorial magazine, to have the featured client take his own photographs. So as the Media groups Staffer, I shot the whole feature. The landscaper was more than a little p*^%$# at the decision and threatened to pull his ads if he couldn't control what was being shot.

He didn't pull his ads and he didn't get to control the shoot! I shot everything.

The editorial team here feels that they need to add some credibility to even their advertorial efforts. It's a stand I didn't expect, but must admit to being thankful for.

FYI - Our group publishes 7 mags, 4, are client driven advertorials, with the other 3 covering professional business markets in the State, City & Regional events and State living and the third covers the State as a whole from a cultural and travel perspective.

So there are still some holdouts for good journalistic practices. We're not quite daily Journalism, but do it on a monthly basis as best as we can!
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Doug Thompson, Photographer
Floyd | VA | | Posted: 8:07 AM on 06.05.08
->> An unfortunate sign of our times and one not limited to shooters.

The Huffington Post, one of the web's most successful political blogs, does not pay its bloggers. Photos and video are often embeds from other sites or wire service. Alternative weeklies here in Southwestern Virginia ask for writers to submit work for free to "see their name in print").

The two TV stations in Roanoke ask readers to submit photos for free showings on the air. The Roanoke Times solicits reader photos for their "Current" section. The Times has good shooters on staff but the paper may on the block because Landmark Communications is looking to divest itself of "unprofitable" properties. They lost one long-time shooter and several writers in buyouts last year.

I freelance for weeklies that don't have even one staff photographer. Media General, the dominant owner of weeklies in Southwestern Virginia, gives the papers a point and shoot and tells the editors to shoot their own photos.
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Eric Isaacs, Photographer
Santa Barbara | CA | USA | Posted: 9:50 AM on 06.05.08
->> Hey Jeff Gritchen:

I am going to be in Long Beach next week. Can we set up an appointment? I'll wear a loose fitting shirt :p

I know of some local papers here that have offered the ripe wage of photo credits in exchange for providing them pictures - they claim they just don't have a budget to pay money.

Years ago I traded a front cover photo for a free ad for my photography business. About a week later I got my first call from the ad - someone that wanted me to advertise in their paper also.

Now I limit my "free" work to family members


EMI
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Yamil Sued, Photographer, Photo Editor
Peoria | AZ | USA | Posted: 11:16 PM on 06.05.08
->> I guess you know how I felt when I lost my Gig at the Local (where I used to live) Business Tabloid to Almost free and Free College Students.

YUP, Lost a great side job to students that would do what I did for free!!

Sucks doesn't it??
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Thread Title: Unpaid spreading like the Flu
Thread Started By: Bill Miller
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