Perfecting the pecking order of the pit
Farooq Salik is a Senior Photographer at Motivate Publishing. Here he tells The Media Network why pin placement is key to successful event coverage.
How is it that professional photographers working across high-profile media titles can find themselves demoted to second grade citizens of the photography pit?
“Media dimensions have changed over the past five years. While change is often a good thing, it often requires the re-writing of certain rulebooks to ensure order is kept, and failure to do so can result in a build up of tensions.
This is something that can be seen in the world of photography and photojournalism in the Middle East. Prior to the online media revolution, print photographers and videographers were the main media outlets on the red carpet vying to get that coveted picture or video grab. That in itself has always been a bone of contention – with many PRs and event organisers failing to offer dedicated areas for each medium – but we’ll revisit that point later.
The last five years has seen a new generation of photographer take their place along the red carpet… the blogger. Now, on a personal level, I have nothing against bloggers – I admire their passion and dedication to share their thoughts and opinions with the world. When it comes to work however, there needs to be boundaries and a certain understanding from PRs, event organisers and bloggers themselves.
With increasing frequency, I am assigned to cover events for a number of our media titles (some of the biggest selling titles in the region), yet I find myself in the photographer’s pit, further down the pecking order than bloggers who are taking pictures on their smart phones or everyday digital cameras. How is it that professional photographers working across high-profile media titles can find themselves demoted to second grade citizens of the photography pit?
With print magazines holding editorial space for certain events, it is essential that there is a pecking order in place to ensure prime positioning is secured for the titles. Put simply, bad images equals bad coverage – not to mention very unhappy Editors who find themselves with last minute pages to fill, after discovering the event images unsuitable hours before going to press.
Internationally, it is almost always the case that newspapers and agencies take priority along with high-profile weeklies and monthlies – the more important and influential your title, the more prominent position assigned. International events also ensure that the video pit and photographer pit are separate… it goes without saying that the two don’t work together. With the latest SLR cameras now equip to take high-quality video footage, it’s more important than ever before for large-scale event organisers to ensure they ask the purpose of the press pass – video or photography.
If bloggers wish to share our pit, they need to learn the code of conduct. Just as all professional photographers do, get your picture and step back. A little common courtesy goes a long way.
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