Monday, July 19, 2010

Where are the pictures?

The London Free Press carried no pictures from the Bruce Coburn concert.
Bruce Cockburn was in London Saturday performing at the Home County Folk Festival, a big annual Southwestern Ontario event. And the hometown paper blogged about it. They'd say they reported it and blogged on it, but with the quality of newspapers severely hampered by staffing cutbacks, the difference between their off-the-cuff blog posts and their more in-depth news stories is becoming blurred.

The one story is on a reporter's Free Press blog and carries information supplied gratis by a reader. The other report on Cockburn's appearance is an LFP story. Check them out: Cockburn CaptivatesMe and a Face in the Crowd: Home County/Bruce Cockburn. Note there are no pictures! My guess is no photographer was working Saturday night. No shooter, no shots. It's that simple --- or that cheap.

And you know what else is missing, some information. The newspaper's blogger/reporter asks: "How many of us were there . . . ?" The crowd estimates, supplied by JBNB, range from about 3,000 to 70,000.

If newspapers cannot staff events held a short walk from the paper itself, if the paper cannot supply a crowd estimate with a tighter spread than 3000 to 70,000, why should we continue to think of them as our best source of local information? Are they trying to tell us something when they file reports as blog posts?

Oh wait, a lot of real bloggers would supply pictures. (And maybe better crowd estimates.)

By the way, I did call the paper to offer them my pictures but all I got was an answering machine. The paper has a way of allowing readers to supply images but they want them donated; They do not pay one cent for the rights to a reader's pictures. In this situation the paper seems to be more a charity than profitable business.

If you make a picture donation to this media charity using their "Your Scoop" feature, it is demanded you grant the paper, ". . . worldwide, irrevocable, royalty-free and non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast and publish that Material for any purposes, on any material form and in perpetuity."

When I clicked on Photos to find the Your Scoop link, you might be interested to see what picture popped up. It appears there's ample time and staff to post a "supplied" picture of two-time world land-speed record holder Valerie Thompson.

I wonder if anyone noticed her foot is cropped off awkwardly at the ankle? Oh well, lots more of Thompson still shows in the picture --- maybe enough to make up for the missing foot.

James Reaney's LFP blog now has pictures supplied by Christine Newland, the principal cellist with Orchestra London. I think it is safe to say that because of staffing cutbacks, the paper was unable to send a staff photographer to the Bruce Cockburn performance. Now that the local paper is openly partnering with readers for facts and art, the distinction between journalists and citizen journalists is becoming blurred.

A young woman I know studied photojournalism at college. It was her passion. Upon graduation, this U.S. based photographer discovered the local newspapers around her hometown are all relying more and more on readers for pictures. Work in the industry is drying up.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that they should have taken your photos! I was there on Friday night to listen to the Great Lake Swimmers and I LOVED them! :D Hope you are well and I enjoy reading :D