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2008/01/31

Taken out Context, or Simply Misunderstood

My basketball game for tonight was canceled due to weather (the visiting team couldn't get their buses out of the mud around the school).

So as I monitor the police scanner and browse though some forums on photography for possible story ideas and insights I checked out a web site by Robert Knilands. Robert sent me Email earlier this morning in response to comments I made on Sportsshooter.com a few days ago. The general direction of my post was that people are not educated about our ethics and standards, and not only the general public, but reporters and editors as well (what I call 'word people'). A fact of life - different people have different skills and different interests. I ended my post by saying that all a photojournalist can do is keep on trying to educate people as we go along (after all, isn't that what journalism is about?) Anyway, his initial Email to me said:


Jeff:

You're an idiot. If you truly think the "word" people are to blame here, then you need to go in search of a clue. The next one you find will be your first one.

As long as you're in a newsroom, there'll always be someone holding back the staff. And that's sad. I'll be sure to post your stupidity at my site so people know they always have lamebrains to contend with in the visual arena.



My response initially was "Huh?" How is saying I asked reporters to think about assignments earlier on in the process holding anybody back? Rather than really go into anything with it I simply replied:


“Thanks for the advice.”

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Mr. Knilands also shared his website link with me, and I found he had re-posted me comments to his site, and then made some comments:
“Sounds like this guy has a lot on his plate just not getting his butt kicked for being extremely annoying.

Sadly, I've worked with photographers like this guy. To put it mildly, they can't do their job the right way. They're always whining about how the assignment sheets aren't filled out properly and how no one appreciates them. They may come back with good photos, but they irritate everyone else in the process. Plus, with all their bitching, they're usually unable to finish the job by providing a proper cutline, even though they're the first to gripe about everyone else.

Yes, there are reporters and editors who don't want to be bothered to provide details that would lead to a better photo. But there are also people who bend over backward to provide information and still have to listen to minuses like Jeffery Jones when they complain.

People like Jeffery Jones are a big reason why newspapers are failing right now. They fail to comprehend that newspapers don't dictate the news. People are available within a certain time window for photos. Events don't always fall within parameters. Good journalists realize this, even if they don't always accept it. Fools like Jeffery Jones and the design crowd fight it. They're not good journalists. Never have been; never will be.
I'm the reason for the decline? Wow. Never knew that my work at this little paper in New Mexico had that large of an impact. All I can say is that I hope that Mr. Knilands is off base in his assessment of me, my work ethic and people skills.
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