Feeds

Guardian recruits citizen journalists to cover Climate Camp

Hi-tech democracy - or old-fashioned wages cut?

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Relationships between the Guardian newspaper and professional photojournalists look set to worsen next week, as the Guardian uses Flickr to recruit Climate Camp protesters as unpaid freelance photographers.

Critics have claimed that this raises issues of partiality – questioning whether the Guardian would meekly accept a photo-montage of a key news event provided by the police - whilst some journalists have objected that this initiative coincides rather suspiciously with a move by the Guardian to stop paying re-use fees for photo-images.

The first issue here is that the Climate Camp organisers have a record of attempting to control publicity. The rationale for micro-managing press access to the Camp appears to stem from a not wholly unfounded suspicion of the "corporate" press. The end result, whereby journalists are required to register on arrival, sign up to a code of conduct, and then agree to be accompanied as they wander around by a media "buddy" has been compared ironically to the worst excesses of North Korean news management.

This year, journalists are permitted access for eight hours a day – between 10 am and 6 pm - as opposed to the one hour allowed in previous years. However, minders will still be there to guide reporters in the direction of staged "news" stories (stunts and direct action) as opposed to allowing them to get on and do their job.

It is against this background that the Guardian decision to set up a Flickr group, entitled Camp for Climate Action 2009. According to the invite to members: "We would like to invite your photo submissions to help document the 2009 Camp for Climate Action"

The Guardian admin on Flickr adds: "Are you taking part or have you captured a passing protest? Share your photos of climate camping in this group."

No doubt this felt like a good idea at the time, giving the Guardian picture desk access to a large pile of material that would not be available otherwise. There is a disclaimer of sorts: "We're not intending to use these pictures online or in print unless they are specifically in connection with this Flickr group." This may herald a future Guardian Flickr Climate Camp feature – or simply mean that any pictures used by the Guardian from this heap will be attributed to the Flickr group.

Quite apart from issues of bias, there is the unhappy co-incidence of a new contract issued by the Guardian to its photo-journalists on 28 July. Objectors to this contract say that the Guardian intends no longer to pay photographers for reuse of photographs.

Writing on his blog, NUJ Left member Jonathan Warren says: "This means that the Guardian will be allowed to use photographs as many times as they like and syndicate them to other news organisations in perpetuity without having to pay the photographer any more than the original fee for the photographs. Photographers rely on reuse fees to earn a living."

A petition asking Chris Elliot, Managing Editor, Guardian News and Media to think again and enter into meaningful talks with the NUJ has now been set up on iPetitions.

The NUJ is also calling on journalists to demonstrate next week. The demonstration will take place at 9.30am on Tuesday 1 September outside the offices of the Guardian at Kings Place, near Kings Cross Station. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.