The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

Truly Independent Photojournalism?

Is this "independent?"
Richard North over at EUReferendum had previously been contacted by the London Telegraph, who requested that he cease using their photographs to illustrate stories on his website. While the licensing terms used by various news agencies differ in wide degrees from each other, most will tolerate some re-use of their work in the interest of "news discussion," so long as there is no profit to be made by the use of such photographs. Notice, however, that the higher-profile the website is, the less generous these terms usually are.

What makes this particularly interesting, though, is to see that in truly independent fashion, Richard has responded to the Telegraph's request by covering a high-profile protest in London entirely by himself. No photo agencies, no stringers, no wire services--Richard took the story into his own hands, literally. For some of the background behind this decision, I'll refer you to Richard's own discussion, though I do hope he'll share more information with us at a future date.

This illustrates a rather interesting development, though. Are we free to contemplate a future of truly independent journalists, unencumbered by an editorial process that filters out "uncomfortable" information? Will "citizen journalists" be able to share their viewpoint with their readers, without being cropped and captioned into something that in no way reflects reality?

We probably won't ever be fully independent of the organized photo and wire services, and I'm not sure that we need to be. Seeing behind-the-scenes photographs like this, and considering some of the other excellent independent journalism groups out there (I'm thinking of Zombie and Protest Warrior), at least we now have the ability to get the proverbial "Rest of the Story" out there, and to provide a different viewpoint from that of the established press, to which we can compare other coverage with. What this does do is continue to put pressure on the news agencies to be honest, and to be fair, and for that, I am truly thankful.

Bravo, Richard! Please do keep up the excellent work!


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