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Is a Videographer Considered a Journalist?

BlackLab's picture
Last seen: 6 years 3 months ago
Joined: 06/29/2008 - 9:54pm

I sometimes tape events in my local community (parades, ceremonies, sporting events, etc.), with the goal of selling a DVD of the chronicled event to the participants. These events are generally open to the public and are sometimes covered by the local newspaper and limited access cable TV station. My question is, am I considered a journalist? The main reason I ask this is because I am not given the same courtesies as the newspaper photographer or cable TV cameraman, such as preferred access to these events.

I am selling a DVD, but the newspaper is selling their paper as well as selling the pictures they take, via their website. The cable TV company does the same thing. If they cover a local high school football game you can buy a DVD copy of the game.

I just want a fair shake at making a buck.


Johnboy's picture
Last seen: 9 years 7 months ago
Joined: 03/18/2005 - 5:37pm

well, you don't have press credentials, and unless you have signed releases and permits or permission to video such events, then you don't have much to go on in my opinion.

John


BlackLab's picture
Last seen: 6 years 3 months ago
Joined: 06/29/2008 - 9:54pm

Ah, but the newspaper photographer doesn't have "permission" to photograph the events. He just shows up, walks onto the field, and snaps away.

And what constitutes "press credentials"? Basically that is my question.


Johnboy's picture
Last seen: 9 years 7 months ago
Joined: 03/18/2005 - 5:37pm

yes the photographer does, he/sheworks for a recongnized news agency. If you work for a newspaper or tv station, you will have identification stating so. they are not getting paid for the photos, they are getting paid to take the photos. being a news agency, they hold the rights to photos or video they collect and if they want to sell them, that's their right.

If you want to be able to make a buck selling DVD's of events, you need to approach the organizations holding those events in advance and set up a deal with them or get their permission. But to just come to an event and shoot and attempt to sell dvd's of it is not a viable option.


zoobie's picture
Last seen: 6 years 7 months ago
Joined: 03/18/2008 - 8:40am

yes..you're a photojournalist if you're shooting & reporting

If you create your own news agency (for example,BlackLab News), you're free to shoot anyone because it falls under the category of News. This is why networks, local stations, media, and newspapers don't need permission of any sort. Your press credentials would be made by yourself...You're now the Official BlackLab News Reporterdisplaying a little tag on yourself.

Another world's first! - www.BuskerAlley.com - Busker HD on the web!
In Production - Busker Alley - The Movie!
Want to make a small fortune in videography? Start with a large fortune!


BlackLab's picture
Last seen: 6 years 3 months ago
Joined: 06/29/2008 - 9:54pm

The photographer I witnessed at yesterday's baseball game was not employed by the newspaper. He is a freelancer and he is getting paid for the photos.

In regard to the news agency holding the rights to the photos and selling them if they wish, I guess that's the point I don't understand. They can shoot the event because it's news, but then they can turn around and profit from it. Seems they an unfair advantage.


BlackLab's picture
Last seen: 6 years 3 months ago
Joined: 06/29/2008 - 9:54pm

If you create your own news agency

And what constitutes a news agency? Must the information be disseminated in some way on a regular basis?


composite1's picture
Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

"... Am I considered a journalist?"

Black,

Absolutely. After years as a combat photographer/videographer and independent filmmaker I can attest to sharing many of your 'discourtesies' shown and more. Zoob is on the right track with you setting up your own 'news agency'. The only differences between you and CNN are time and money. I remember watching WTCG in the way back time when Ted Turner got his fledgling station off the ground. Nobody took his 'news' serious (late night 'news' on WTCG was some of the funniest stuff I ever saw) but when he started Turner Broadcasting Systems everything changed. Shortly after that, CNN was born and nobody took the 24 hour news channel at all serious until CNN was the only channel that had a lock on the Gulf War in Bagdad. After that, CNN blew up into what you see today.

So, with vlogging being all the rage and easy to do there is no reason why you can't start up 'BlackLab News'. The thing is, you have to actually do it. If you say you're from BLN, BLN has to exist. You'll need to set up your vlog or website (or both), you're going to need an official logo, and you can make your own dang press badge. Look at that jack@$$ Peres Hilton, he was just a blog nobody until all of that dust up with the Miss Universe Pagent went down. You get out there and cover stories well, build a track record and you will establish your reputation.

In the meantime, you have to present yourself on the job like you're supposed to be there. It doesn't hurt to have on the pro journalist uniform (polo shirt with embroidered company logo, shooter's vest, pro looking gear as you can afford and you're company I.D. badge.) Also, you need to have the pro's attitude that you belong there. One of the coolest photoshoots I ever went on was for a big sporting event in Japan. I was with a tour group and I dragged a co-worker with me as my 'assistant'. I used my company ID to Bogart our way in. At no time did they ever think I wasn't there to do a job. When we got in we abided by the rules and I got to work alongside some of Japan's top photographers. I've been on hundreds of shoots since then, but I maintain that same 'I belong here' attitude on my 'official gigs' too.

Another thing you will find out, the bigger the event the more cutthroat your fellow journalist may get. Do your research, talk to officials when you can and present yourself as a legit journalist. Having the vlog will back you up and make your convincing of said officials to let you in so much easier. Above all don't ham and egg it! If your vlog or the stories on it look like half a buttocks you will be percieved that way. If your work is percieved as pro so will you. Then you'll be surprised at how much BS you can get away with when necessary....

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


Jennifer O'Rourke's picture
Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 03/07/2008 - 10:44pm
Plus Member

Black...

yes.. and no. You are a journalist, as you are journaling an event, and if it's a public event you have every right to be there. However, the fine line is drawn due to the myriad of photographers and videographers trying to get into events for free, or to score free grub at the press table, and therefore many event managers have been burned and are wary of anyone that is not of the Local Press that they are familiar with. They are especially wary of so-called blogger-only news companies, because they have no idea where these images will end up.

Here in California, press credentials are acquired through by the local sheriff or California Highway Patrol. If you have a number of stories, video or textual, under your belt that are of a legitimate nature, you can take them, along with information about Black Lab News Agency to one of your area's law enforcement agencies and request press credentials. Just like documentarians, no one has a right to tell you that you can not shoot in a public event, however they may require you to pay to be there if they don't recognize your agency. The freelancer photographer that you saw shooting for the local paper is probably a member of the Associated Press, and he sells to several agencies. You can also contact them, requesting press credentials. Having that credential gives you a bit more "credence" to being a legitimate journalist, in their eyes, anyway.

When I was shooting for a large TV news station, we still had to take a back seat to the "Big Guns" when the networks came into town. Often, what was only a small local story that developed into something bigger drew the networks, and our story was taken from us and given to the "Polished Pros".

However, like Composite1 says, attitude is everything. I have BS'ed my way into shoots that I should never have been in, just by appearing to be one of the big guns, or being a legitimate press person after I was no longer shooting for news.

Bottom line, in a situation like this, checking in advance if you can shoot from a special location for a legitimate purpose might get you in. I've had many non-news shooters standing side-by-side with me as I was videotaping the presidentent's visit or some special event because they had the right attitude and demeanor.

But, do remember that if you present yourself as press than your presence as the press means you're bound by the rules they are. I was not allowed to cross over the yellow crime-scene police tape, for example, and you can't either. And as far as refusing to give up your footage if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, consider what happened to blogger Josh Wolf. A few years ago, Wolf captured a riot in San Francisco and posted the footage on his blog, then refused later to give his tapes to the feds so they could do some investigating. Impeding a federal investigation landed him in jail. That's part of the whole hoopla of "Freedom of Press" and a right to protect your sources, and if you're presenting yourself as a journalist, you have to take the bad with the good. Read more about Josh Wolf here:

http://news.cnet.com/Video-blogger-gets-two-days-to-return-to-prison/2100-1030_3-6117892.html

What's Legal? http://www.videomaker.com/article/12917/

Stay legal, stay humble, and stay positive, and you can open doors with your gear in hand.

Managing Editor jorourke@videomaker.com VM Customer Support: 1-800-284-3226



zoobie's picture
Last seen: 6 years 7 months ago
Joined: 03/18/2008 - 8:40am

I can see where a state like California requires the police to screen photographers and videographers alike. With 37 million people, I'll bet 5 million headcases are always trying to crash events for free...and another 5 million losersthink they're videographers...ha ha.

Here in Colorado, there's only 5 million so no need to police. The "news", indeed, has special privileges the common shooter can't match.

I think you can even sell your media as "BlackLab News"...and don't forget your fedora hat and polo shirt

Another world's first! - www.BuskerAlley.com - Busker HD on the web!
In Production - Busker Alley - The Movie!
Want to make a small fortune in videography? Start with a large fortune!



composite1's picture
Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Black,

Yeah they're legit. $110 annual membership. Go to their site and check the 'Who can join' guidelines to see if you qualify. If you set up 'BlackLab News' or whatever, it will give you access to their official ID which you have to be both a member and a working professional to purchase. Also, you'd have access to their job bank and other services. If you're not serious about setting up your own deal or getting a gig as a stringer, save your money.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com