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Parachute journalists

So now everyone now knows that there’s this hugely destructive and deadly earthquake in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. I bet many PJ’s from all over the world, especially from the West, are on their way there now. But there are locals who, as we see in the earliest wire photos, exhibited ability in recording and reporting the aftermath of the quake. I’ve been a local photographer from a province in the Philippines and I hated what I learned are called “parachute journalists.” They drop in droves like paratroopers and bump out locals simply because of their extensive resources. One of this resource is their reputations since some of them have won awards in international PJ competitions or work for the best and well-heeled news organizations in the West. A reputed Indian photographer whose name escapes me cynically put it that they come to photograph to try to win more awards or at least to make their mark as “great” PJ’s. In the process, the locals lose in more ways than one. I think I share his view. I think the locals should be let alone to do their work without the fierce competition imported to their area by parachute journalists.

by Max Pasion at 2006-05-28 01:09:37 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Jersey City, NJ , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

very interesting view..

by Nishad Joshi | 28 May 2006 01:05 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
I sometimes do the same ie “parachute”, but I must say in humility that I do not consciously try to edge out local journos as they are the experts on the local knowledge and try and give as much credit to them as possible. Still, we should be more sensitive, and as I am also on the receiving end when PJs “drop” in to my country.Welcome to one and all….are’nt we fighting in a global village…where better quality and effort wins !

by [former member] | 28 May 2006 01:05 (ed. May 28 2006) | New Delhi, India | | Report spam→
My skin tells me to be pissed as well when a PJ pops up in Phnom Penh. But my brain says the world belongs to everybody. And being a local may not give you and edge on resources, but it does give you one on knowledge and local contacts. And if the parachuted PJ has better local contacts than me, then maybe I have been lazy… I’d say: let them come, have a beer x them… They will be leaving soon anyhow. And often that is when the story is becoming interesting…

by [former member] | 28 May 2006 02:05 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Welcome to globalization… I would think the local photographers would have a tremendous edge over the parachutists (of which I am not one). So much of those “resources” are devoted just to obtain what the locals already have (housing, local knowledge, contacts) that even with great expenditure, the local already has the edge. Anyway, reputation is earned, it’s not an inherited resource, and also not a privilege of the West. Considering agencies are eagerly recruiting local talent all over the world as the magazine travel budgets evaporate, my gut reaction is to agree but I can’t allow myself to do so. I feel the same way about independently wealthy PJs who do it for the lifestyle, but yeah, I would be doing it myself if I had the resources. Either that or simply publish a wine tasting blog.

by Dave Yoder | 28 May 2006 03:05 | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
Max. We should obviously treat locals, photojournalists and others, with respect. But how would your suggestion of “leaving the local media alone”, work in places like Zimbabwe or North Korea? Not to mention in the many places where there are no local media capable of reliable reporting? Don’t forget that in many cases the “parachute journalists” empower their local colleagues by providing resources and international exposure. Building stringer networks and interacting with local media is part of the job when we cover a major story. Competing with locals is counter-productive. In stead look for the best local talent, and make sure they are on your team.

by Morten Hvaal | 28 May 2006 04:05 | The Hague, Netherlands | | Report spam→
Welcome to globalization… I would think the local photographers would have a tremendous edge over the parachutists (of which I am not one). So much of those “resources” are devoted just to obtain what the locals already have (housing, local knowledge, contacts) that even with great expenditure, the local already has the edge. Anyway, reputation is earned, it’s not an inherited resource, and also not a privilege of the West. Considering agencies are eagerly recruiting local talent all over the world as the magazine travel budgets evaporate, my gut reaction is to agree but I can’t allow myself to do so. I feel the same way about independently wealthy PJs who do it for the lifestyle, but yeah, I would be doing it myself if I had the resources. Either that or simply publish a wine tasting blog.

by Dave Yoder | 28 May 2006 04:05 | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
“they come to photograph to try to win more awards or at least to make their mark as “great” PJ’s.” ??
i am one of those “parachutists”, i’m a PJ, and i cover world events, which means that when something happens, i’m there. not for the awards, or to “make a mark”. however i was a local too, and i always welcomed foreign journalists that came in. and fortunately i’ve usually been welcome by the local PJs… most of these “locals” would love to be parachuted too, so i just see this post as simple jealousy, not much more.
this thread is misplaced, and simply wrong.
it’s in part thanks to those parachutists that i am where i am today. seeing how they work, network, and cover stories. it’s ridiculous to think that each photographer should only cover his own country, and never go where things happen, i cover news where it happens, i dont wait for it to come to me.
when i was younger, those “parachutists” inspired me, if anything, i tried to compete with them since it was “my turf” and i bettered myself for that. seeing PJs coming in for a week or a month and able to show things i haven’t seen simply by beeing “to close” to the subject helped me look at things in a different perspective, and gave me bigger chalenges. i always worked with them, not against them. and fortunately the local guys i meet now that i am one, do the same for me. (and hopefully i do the same for them)
i’m a “parachutist” and it’s one of the things i’m most proud of in my life.
G.

by [former member] | 28 May 2006 04:05 | Kabul, Afghanistan | | Report spam→

Yeah, well that is one view of the world.


Western PJ’s shouldn’t be penalised because they have extensive resources – that smacks of tall poppy syndrome. As for leaving locals to do their work, well if they can’t get it to the right organisations in the world that have a demand for it, then what are those organisations expected to do?


by Thomas Pickard | 28 May 2006 04:05 | Male', Maldives | | Report spam→
I don’t think you actually get much depth in a story if you haven’t got real local knowledge
and if you are a parachuting PJ you are probably just doing hit and run stuff but secretly
wanting to do real stories anyway. Difference between news and features I guess.
But I don’t see the difference between
one guy and the other when it comes to winning awards, if you are both in the same place at the same
time and one wins and one doesn’t I don’t think that has to do with resources. You can use a
box brownie and make prints in a cupboard and as long as you can get things in by deadline, you have as
much chance as anybody to win an award. They are lotteries really (I mean World Press had
over 90,000 images last year!)
And while I agree with a lot of what has been written
about under resourced local PJ’s I also believe that an us and them approach is counter productive
and ends up in petty resentments sometimes spilling over into agressive or even violent behaviour.
Better to attempt to get names and numbers from the para PJ’s so you can contact the agencies/media
associations and connections they have. Extract information after a few beers (they pay of course)
and maybe next time something comes up in your region that parachuting PJ may remember you
and send a job your way. This does happen I know ’cos I passed a job to someone that was near
the Solomons but on the wrong island so he passed it on to a local guy, who now has a very good contact
with a very good media group. So I reckon be friendly to the para PJ brigade, unless of
course they are arseholes (which is not unknown), you could gain something from it.

by lisa hogben | 28 May 2006 05:05 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
Are you suggesting that only PJ’s from Yogyakarta are allowed to cover the story? How about other PJ’s from the rest of Indonesia, do they fall under you parachute PJ’s, you post doesn’t make sense.

It’s called the free market……………

by [former member] | 28 May 2006 05:05 | Dakar, Senegal | | Report spam→
mmmm….somewhat silly this one….! Both John and Guilad are very right for very different reasons and circumstances…….
Its a good job those four founding chaps at, errr, Magnum carved up the world with open eyes and without trade and social barriers…..!!!

by Steve Coleman | 28 May 2006 06:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
funny, i just noticed Max is from Jersey city… so, Max: how’s the war over there? any earthquakes or tsunamis in new jersey lately?
you better not cross the bridge the NY with a camera! that’ll be serious parachuting.
oh no… your profile says: …“Loves prowling the streets of Manhattan for pictures.” you should really shoot yourself in the foot once it comes out of your mouth.
and since you’re pinoy, but live in Jersey, if you went to the Leyte land-slide, would that be parachuting too? or if you went to cover Katrina? oh wait… that’s right, you didn’t do either. got it, keep dreaming.
G.

by [former member] | 28 May 2006 08:05 | Kabul, Afghanistan | | Report spam→
Good morning everyone! I would have phrased my post in a moderate tone normally, but I wanted to provoke discussion, and I thought an extreme view as I expressed it would do it. Though that doesn’t mean I lied just to provoke and it’s not meant as a personal affront to anyone even though that might have been the effect to some. Thanks for all the opinions. And Guilad, that’s below the belt, totally uncalled for. You should shoot yourself in the mouth, there are plenty of guns there in Afghanistan. Cheers!

by Max Pasion | 28 May 2006 08:05 (ed. May 28 2006) | Jersey City, NJ, United States | | Report spam→
…..Yawn…..!

by Steve Coleman | 28 May 2006 08:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
,,,boom..boom…I wanted to offer my services, stepping off a perfecly functioning roof with a voitlander was a childhood speciality of mine, got some great shots off before terrafirma

by Imants | 28 May 2006 08:05 | 7 Hills, Australia | | Report spam→
I cannot agree with the idea that local news should be left to local people, and the fact is the local people are not without ammunition in this competition and often do have the edge in getting that news out: the wire services aggressively recruit local talent and use it to get the images out first and without having to fly people in. Most of the coverage you see about any given event will come from the wires, and those are local people, who know the ropes and have the contacts and are very good at getting to the scene and getting the goods. I dont feel sorry for them on this head, because in fact it is the parachutists who are working at a tremendous disadvantage, not only logistically but also in terms of finding venues for their work, since the magazines increasingly rely on wire-service product instead of paying to field their own teams as they did in the past (they still do of course, but the budgets are more restricted). In terms of instant coverage of news events, the local boys have it sewn up.

When it comes to in-depth coverage, however, we have a different story. Because the local people work for the wires more often than not, and though they may have the chance to publish in regional magazines, they often do not have the means to document stories in depth and distribute them in the leading publications, which is primarily reserved for the parachutists. On the face of it, that seems a logical arrangement: each group has its advantages and its corresponding publication opportunities, but neither has a monopoly on both. However, the inequality of the relationship becomes apparent when you examine the specific situation in each region. I see a problem here in DR: while there is some good local talent, brave, resourceful, and hardworking, their horizons are somewhat hedged round by a variety of factors that will forever limit their capacity for growth and a worldwide audience. First of all, training is poor and awareness of global trends and opportunities almost non-existent. Many here dont know that Magnum exists or how agency representation works. Secondly, they work for local papers and the wires, so the esthetic is extremely conservative and the photographers never get a chance to experiment, or even become aware that experimentation is a good thing (I ran smack into this obstacle myself recently when I covered the elections here for a local and rather progressive paper — my compositional ideas were not appreciated at all!) this also retards their development. Finally, most of these guys, if not all of them, are prevented from pursuing a career in international photojournalism because there is no way they would ever be allowed to travel freely as does an American or a European. they cannot easily get visas because they come from a poor country and are perceived as a travel risk (that is, they are lumped in with the rest of the shmucks “buscando visa para un sueño”). Guilad is lucky because he very aptly saw the advantages of his particular situation and turned it to his account, catapaulting himself onto the international scene, but I imagine that coming from a cosmopolitan city like Istanbul and having the ability to travel willy nilly were important elements that enabled both the decision and the execution of the plan.


Also, let’s just admit it, we are all very territorial, whether we happen to be on our own turf or not. Every one has pushed and shoved to get a spot when a crowd of photogs descends on an event, and I am sure that each of us keenly feels his or her own entitlement to that shot and will fight for it. And I know I feel a certain annoyance when outside PJs pop up in my neighborhood to work on issues that I have invested a lot of time in doing well. But as John Vink points out, my brain tells me that the world belongs to everybody and I dont own this turf I patrol. it also tells me, as it did Guilad, that it is better to work with them (if they are good and know what they are doing), than against them, and there are many advantages in doing so. And it tells me that after all, unless we are talking about some sort of scoop here (and that hardly ever happens in DR!), it doesnt matter if they want to shoot the same stuff as I do, because there is room for a variety of interpretations, and chances are, because I am the local who knows the turf and the issues better than they, they are unlikely to get as good coverage. depth comes partly from understanding, and understanding develops over time. Time is one thing the parachutist almost never has enough of. I have experienced this relationship from both sides: first time I came to DR to cover the elections of 1994 I was greeted by the local journalists, given food and lodging, a car and driver, companionship, and plenty of good advice, and there was never a hint of competition or resentment. The pix I took benefitted tremendously from this help. I try to live up to that magnanimity in my own dealings with other PJs who now visit. Once, when I had just begun to work on my plantation story and had no resources to devote to the job, I was visited by a very famous PJ who asked me to help him out, as I knew the turf. The relationship worked out to our mutual benefit, and I got some of the best pictures in the series on that shoot. It was an incredibly productive collaboration. I say learn to swim with the tides instead of fight them; you can usually work it to your advantage.

by Jon Anderson | 28 May 2006 09:05 | Back Home, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Max, pretty ordinary way to provoke a debate. I wish life was that one dimensnional just affix a label to a group of people that defines their travel from one country to another to practice their profession of documenting and bearing witness to unfolding events in humanity, manmade or through the wrath of nature. I like to think that most photograhers are thinking and working on a more mutl-layered,three dimensnionaland and mindful way then you suggest.

by [former member] | 28 May 2006 10:05 | Bangkok, Thailand | | Report spam→
You know Max, honesty is the best policy. There are some pretty amazing people that have
written in response to your question, people of amazing ability and incredible intergrity.
People to be respected for the work they do and the way they go about doing it. People
I certainly would be honoured to work alongside of. Trying to create
division just for a chance to start a debate is probably not the greatest use of anyone’s time.

by lisa hogben | 28 May 2006 10:05 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
Max is coming in for some criticism here, but I for one do sympathize with what he is trying to say, because I have seen how local people get short shrifted. One thing I neglected to mention was that while the locals working for the wires have their advantages, they are also abused by the very orgs that employ them, since the contracts are prejudicial, rob you of your rights and compensate you at very very low rates. Max didnt take the time to outline the whole situation as it is seen by the locals, but that doesnt mean that those who feel somewhat aggrieved by the situation dont have a sympathetic case to make.

by Jon Anderson | 28 May 2006 10:05 | Back Home, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
The locals are not being robbed of their rights in any different way than the locals in California are. I still think the locals have an advantage if they have put any effort into being prepared to distribute when something happens.

by Dave Yoder | 28 May 2006 10:05 | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
The locals are not being robbed of their rights in any different way than the locals in California are. I still think the locals have an advantage if they have put any effort into being prepared to distribute when something happens.

by Dave Yoder | 28 May 2006 10:05 | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
Lisa, I did not invent the term “parachute journalists,” which I think you are referring to in your second to the last post. And we wouldn’t have come to know the way people here think about it if I did not start this thread, wouldn’t we? As it is I’m learning so much from so many points of view, as I’m sure other LSers are too, even those who are not part of this thread (not yet anyway). In response to Jon, I will write more later.

by Max Pasion | 28 May 2006 11:05 | Jersey City, NJ, United States | | Report spam→
Max. You have just demonstrated one of the least attractive working methods of modern media. “Taking an extreme view to provoke a discussion”, is to a serious debate what the National Enquirer is to journalism. The issue you are raising is important and we should demonstrate out professionalism in discussing it. They way you provoked the debate was dishonest and amateurish. Instead of taking the easy tabloid route, we should strive for integrity in our photographs, actions and words.

by Morten Hvaal | 28 May 2006 11:05 | The Hague, Netherlands | | Report spam→
You have a point there David, and a savvy local can certainly take advantage of the situation. And after all, we are all pretty much on our own, so whatever arrangements we enter into, we are ultimately responsible for the decisions we make. But in the places I have been, I have noticed that the locals are still at a disadvantage when compared with, say, a local Californian, whose access and knowledge of distribution and the system as a whole is bound to be greater. I only mention this because lately I have been confronted with this problem in my little backyard here, and I have been tapped to become a kind of spokesperson for photography here, so I have been reviewing the problems that local guys face and what it is they need to get round them.

by Jon Anderson | 28 May 2006 11:05 | Back Home, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
This is a very sensitive area. When Don McCullin makes a statement about war photography, I might want to pay attention, but with all respect Max, I do not think you have the experience to really defend your position. But I definitely have the experience to defend mine.

Most of you know I live in New Orleans, lived there before and during the flood, and everyone has their job to do. The supposed “parachute” journalists, half of LS it seems, did a great job in not only getting out badly needed information but documenting things that people like me couldn’t get to, or were too hard to shoot because in some cases these were my neighbors, or because I was busy helping out in my community. Sure I might resent that a little bit, but thats the way it goes, things come around and its best to be gracious.

In the end its about the best pictures anyway.

by [former member] | 28 May 2006 11:05 | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
Sheesh, man! I did not at all disingenously “take an extreme view to provoke a discussion.” That was my honest view, I only phrased it not in a moderate even-toned way as I am wont to when letting people know what my opinion on things are, if I ever express them at all. “The issue you are raising is important and we should demonstrate out professionalism in discussing it.” Exactly.

by Max Pasion | 28 May 2006 11:05 | Jersey City, NJ, United States | | Report spam→
Grace in this business is sometimes hard to come by, but it is a useful virtue to learn. And Magnanimity. Max, for what it is worth, I didnt take your statement to be harsh, I thought you were basically paraphrasing a point of view held by colleagues, and as such it is valid if a bit short sighted.

by Jon Anderson | 28 May 2006 12:05 | Back Home, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
“I do not think you have the experience to really defend your position.” Excuse me, Andy, you don’t know me at all or the things I’ve gone through.

by Max Pasion | 28 May 2006 12:05 | Jersey City, NJ, United States | | Report spam→
I think that max has a point in a way. That’s what happens when you have to deal with multinationals. Look at what’s those money-machines have in mind with the internet! How many photographers in Gaza or the West-bank risk their life on a daily bases for a small fee, and they also loose their rights to the images. David and Goliath… Globalisation? Corporate fascism is a better term.
But Max, if you had the chance to become one of those parachute-pj’s, what would you do? I would do it without hesitation.

by Guido Van Damme | 28 May 2006 12:05 | Almost home, Belgium | | Report spam→
Max.
I would be interested in seeing how you would write your original post in a “moderate even-toned way”. Perhaps reading your opinions on this subject, without the attempts at provocation, could bring this discussion on to a more constructive track.

by Morten Hvaal | 28 May 2006 12:05 | The Hague, Netherlands | | Report spam→
Like I said, “with all due respect.” If you want to elaborate on your opinion, and back it up with personal experience, go ahead.

by [former member] | 28 May 2006 12:05 | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
Let’s not turn this into something personal, Andy, with all due respect. It’s not about me really (even though I feel being unfairly ganged up on already) but the issue of parachute journalism, so-called.

by Max Pasion | 28 May 2006 12:05 (ed. May 28 2006) | Jersey City, NJ, United States | | Report spam→
Guido.
With decent agencies a photographer is a photographer and a photograph is a photograph. If a local files better images than I do, or faster, or both; she or he will probably get better sales than I will. That’s how “locals” can best build a reputation; by making the “paratroopers” superfluous.

by Morten Hvaal | 28 May 2006 12:05 | The Hague, Netherlands | | Report spam→
Morten, that’s the way it should be. But in reality it is not easy to get access to those agencies you are referring to. If you have to start making the contacts before you can even show your images to those agencies precious time is lost.

by Guido Van Damme | 28 May 2006 12:05 | Almost home, Belgium | | Report spam→
I didn’t mean to sugggest local photographers in other areas don’t have challenges to surmount that, say, Californian photographers don’t… aquisition of decent tools just for starters. That’s kind of a branch argument that I recognize… I just meant you don’t have to go far from anywhere to be taken advantage of these days. I don’t know if the advantages/disadvantages of being a local photographer in a poorer area balance themselves out vs “parachutist” photographers, but I think generally portraying them as victims to the international press (which I’m not saying you did, Jon—you didn’t) isn’t really accurate. They have advantages and disadvantages, as have visiting photographers. Without having much travel journalism under my belt, it would seem to me local knowledge, contacts, friends, language, etc. would be more valuable than money and fame—if you’ve done your homework and are up to the task.

by Dave Yoder | 28 May 2006 12:05 | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
I didn’t mean to sugggest local photographers in other areas don’t have challenges to surmount that, say, Californian photographers don’t… aquisition of decent tools just for starters. That’s kind of a branch argument that I recognize… I just meant you don’t have to go far from anywhere to be taken advantage of these days. I don’t know if the advantages/disadvantages of being a local photographer in a poorer area balance themselves out vs “parachutist” photographers, but I think generally portraying them as victims to the international press (which I’m not saying you did, Jon—you didn’t) isn’t really accurate. They have advantages and disadvantages, as have visiting photographers. Without having much travel journalism under my belt, it would seem to me local knowledge, contacts, friends, language, etc. would be more valuable than money and fame—if you’ve done your homework and are up to the task.

by Dave Yoder | 28 May 2006 12:05 | Milan, Italy | | Report spam→
My friend, if one ever lived in a society controlled by censorship and had his/her rights supressed somehow one could never wish less photographers
or less journalists to cover anything. I understand you might just want to have your place under the sun but, hey, who doesn’t? It’s a tough, super difficult
thing to do and highly competitive to be a succesful PJ as I’m sure you know. If you can’t take it try something else.. but don’t simply wish to everyone go away.

by [former member] | 28 May 2006 12:05 | Amsterdam, Netherlands | | Report spam→
Guido.
After more than 20 years in photojournalism, most of it working for “those agencies”, I agree with you. It is not easy to get a foot in the door, and it’s even harder to keep it there. Cruelly, this natural selection is necessary to ensure quality.

by Morten Hvaal | 28 May 2006 12:05 | The Hague, Netherlands | | Report spam→
Morten, and it’s even harder if your not born in the US or Britain. I’m not sure that this kind of natural selection has anything to do with the topic we are discussing here. It’s hard for a western (West-European/American) shooter to get a foot in the door, imagine how hard it must be for an African or S.E Asian photographer (I’m sure there are exceptions).

by Guido Van Damme | 28 May 2006 13:05 | Almost home, Belgium | | Report spam→
I’m local. I’m doing alright. Yes, I lose sometimes assignments to photographers coming from abroad, which are often much less involved
in the overall story. Competition is brutal, and sometimes I curse. It is necessary, though, to have it. I get better, they get better,
and in the end, what matters is that the reader gets the best coverage. It doesn’t matter if you’re a local or not. See example of Indian
Arko Datta who brought one of the strongest images of the Tsunami (and of course WPP of the year) despite the fact that story was full of
outsiders. Same goes for Israeli Uriel Sinai who won this year’s WPP general news stories with his coverage of the Israeli pullout from
Gaza, although there were tons of foreign photographers, some of the best in the business. Etc etc.

by Ahikam Seri | 28 May 2006 13:05 (ed. May 28 2006) | Jerusalem, Israel | | Report spam→
Dave, agreed. I assume you know that my elaboration after your point was merely that and not a refutation.


The agency access is another issue: down here for example many photographers have only a dim notion of their existence or that they serve as a conduit to a broader audience. And while agencies are generally happy to have their photographers living in far flung places, in order to get better global representation or reach, they generally dont employ the locals among their privileged ranks (as stringers yes, more and more). this may all be changing. First of all we are seeing more competitions and awards being sponsored in countries where hitherto they never existed. we are seeing more photographers from outside Europe and US winning big awards like the World Press, and agencies are now springing up in countries where they didnt exist. we have a new one in Russia, for example. A friend of mine down here, who is a bit more open to the world than some of his colleagues, also dreams of creating an agency, though mostly for stock imagery, not assignments, and there could well be a market for it. Perhaps we are seeing the first signs that the Western hegemony on the informational economy is loosening up a bit. Time will tell.

by Jon Anderson | 28 May 2006 13:05 | Back Home, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Max is getting a bit of a personal kicking here, not (as it seems to me) because his opinion is deliberately divisive, extreme or badly argued for that matter (he did after all, simply speak from personal experience) but simply because he’s highlighted an uncomfortable truth…and touched a raw nerve it seems.

The only thing I’d take issue with is his call for non-locals to stay at home, but I can see where he’s coming from.

The reasons given against Max’s opinion bear some examination though, and I’d argue, some self-analysis on our part, in a ‘methinks the snappers doth protest too much’ kinda way.

The Free Market? Globalisation? Tall Poppies? If I didn’t know better, I’d think I was reading a thread sponsored by the World Bank.

The truth is that many local journalists or photographers, however talented, will never get the chance to ‘parachute’ and cover world events like Western journos, because the organisations that employ them simply don’t pay them enough, and will never give them the chance to parachute around.

Globalisation would be a great idea if it actually worked – but it doesn’t, because the global playing field simply isn’t level, and never has been…by deliberate design. In many ways we benefit from it, so lets at least be honest about it.

Many Western news-agencies (‘western’…now there’s a euphemism for ya) pay their local staff and freelances a pittance compared to their parachuting counterparts, and many local journos find themselves relegated to mere ‘fixer’ status when the shit hits the fan, and the parachutists start landing to witness (and therefore validate, of course…) events which were already happening in front of the local journo, when the skydiver was still packing his (and it is mostly ‘his’) suitcase.

The locals are more logically valid ‘three-dimensional’ witnesses, so why not just send the money and the kit? The local journo would in most cases, bring more insight to the story than the parachutist, but it rarely happens. I’ve done the odd parachute job myself, and have listened to First World journos working for multi-million dollar news organisations, grumbling about paying fixers fees which amount to less than their dry-cleaning bill. Without those fixers you’ve got little to work on, except a visa stamp and a plane ticket. Perhaps you’d like to share your award winnings with them? Or even give them a credit as a co-producer?

Yeah…thought not.

We’re not talking about local journos covering events in their countries, or even their region. We’re talking about the massive economic disparity between journos of arguably equal ability – and in local journos cases, sometimes more ability (language, contacts) – when covering stories which happen to interest us.

Funnily enough, lots of those stories involve people we mostly ignore – because they’re considered economically and culturally unimportant…until they start getting smashed to pieces.

Until the Yogyakarta earthquake, the last time Indonesia made the news in the UK was the Mt Marapi volcano, and before that, when people were getting swept away by the Tsunami.

The local journos were left with the task of documenting the gruelling reconstruction, and efforts to come to terms with appalling grief after the skydivers left…which is STILL a story, but has been virtually ignored by the Parachute Regiment, who have decamped elsewhere…until Mt Marapi goes Krakatoa-tastic…and they’ll all be back again.

Personally, I’d say Max made a completely valid point from his personal perspective, and would go further – the economic model which underpins the parachute practice, and by extension, a lot of Western news values overall in relation to global events, in many cases approaches the same institutional racism and economic exploitation practised by many multi-nationals already.

Andy Levin and Guilad Kahn mentioned Hurricane Katrina – but I didn’t see many journos from Bangladesh ‘parachuting’ in to cover that story. And let’s see how many African journalists get to go to the World Cup in Germany…if they can even get entry visas at all, of course.

As a profession, we’re more than happy to flatter ourselves about our ‘truth-telling’ role, but very rarely want to consider the uncomfortable truths which underpin it.

We prefer the cosy, self-congratulatory myths which keep us warm and smug.

I think we should really turn a mirror on ourselves and examine this idea of the globe-trotting Western photo-journo, and the inbuilt economic and institutional barriers which bar many Third World photographers from pursuing that career.

The ideas and motives we First World photojournalists use to justify our work are sometimes no better than the same paternalistic thinking which motivated Victorian British missionaries…and should be consigned to history along with Stanley and Livingstone.

When we parachute in, most of us tend to know NOTHING – in fact, less than that…because a lot of us don’t even know we know nothing.

So we ought to be damned grateful for the locals hospitality, good nature and willingness to accept our mostly brief and mostly one-dimensional, cack-handed, blunt attempts to interpret a culture they already know inside out.

PS – I can’t see much point in basing our arguments on whether we’ve experienced enough hardcore stuff…I understand Max worked as a local photographer in the Phillipines.

The Phillipines has the highest number of journalist murders in Asia. 42 journalists have been killed there in the last five years, the most recent being Albert Orsolino, a photographer gunned down less than two weeks ago. So I’d hazard a guess that working there has probably given Max enough of a taste of life’s wilder side, for us to give his opinions a more respectful hearing.

by [former member] | 28 May 2006 14:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Well said as always Sion. A much better description of some of the themes I was limning. There is, undeniably, an unequal playing field as in all aspects of globalization, and it behooves those of us who occupy the better end to at least acknowledge our situation. Also there is more than a little of the colonialist touch in the way this enterprise works. That should also be acknowledged.


Much of what you say was borne out by the recent coverage of the Haiti elections, which gave rise to a lot of bombastic statements, incorrect information, the usual tall tales by photogs and other silly excesses, all because many of them dont know the country, its history, society, language or customs, and dont really understand the issues. That is ok, after all we are in this for the adventure too, but I had much more respect for the wire guys like Walter Astrada (now with WPN) who covered the event knowledgeably than I did for the stars who visited there for a brief moment and turned out fairly meaningless though visually apt images. There was one image in particular, from WPN, that was very misleading. The image itself was lovely, dramatic, full of the smoke and fire of conflict, but the caption was seriously wrong. With a place like Haiti it is very hard to get beyond the myth that has built up about the place, and while the myth certainly has its valid roots, it is just too easy to perpetuate it without seriously examining it. The outside just doesnt know where the myth ends and reality begins.


I like that last bit, by the way: truth is, local journos are usually the ones at risk, though we always focus on the parachutists and their exploits. Even here in st Domingo the journalists have always been endangered and we just had another very nasty murder involving a journo’s family. The local boys are more vulnerable because they are more accessible. They are right there, all the time. The parachutists expose themselves to fire in the line of duty and are gone afterwards. The former is more often the target of deliberate execution, the latter of accidental mishaps.

by Jon Anderson | 28 May 2006 15:05 | Back Home, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Sion and Jon, I feel both have you have approached this topic with wisdom and sensitivity. I can’t offer an opinion, save I can understand both Max’s anger and the defensivness it seems to have engendered. The facts of life for many journalists/photographers are as you guys have outlined. That fact cannot be denied, we should be made aware of it as often possible.

by Sean Dwyer | 28 May 2006 15:05 | Dublin, Ireland | | Report spam→
i don’t agree with the people here who keep saying locals will never have a chance to go elsewhere. not all paratroopers are american or european, sure it’s harder for some to travel than others for visa reasons, and not easy to get you foot in the door. but educating yourself in the the ways to get to those golden agencies and publication is an integral part of the life of a PJ. (not a “waste of time”) to say in parenthesis “sure, there are exception” is another misconception, being a good PJ is an exception by itself, there are a lot of photographers out there and only a few really make it to the top, and it usually has nothing to do with where they come from. somebody here talked about Magnum, it’s a good example, look at their list of photographers and you’ll see how diverse their origins are. hey, if i made it, anyone can.
sion, i always like to read your posts, as long as they may be… but this one as well written as it may be, is wrong to my opinion. an uncomfortable truth? hit a nerve? no. simply no. it’s not a “truth” and the only nerve it hit is the one related to short sightedness (did i make up a word?) or ignorance. as i said before, i meet a lot of those local photographers and paratroopers in my work, and have very rarely encountered this kind of talk. there is more often than not a mutual help, i wouldn’t have probably lasted in the business if the case was different. i’ve been helped by many, including being taught about how to access the world’s media, and i try to do the same to others now.
Ahikam wrote a couple of great examples on how the locals get the advantage, and he does so himself often with amazing photography and real in depth coverage that shows that local angle that a paratrooper couldn’t grasp because of lack of time or knowledge of the place.
Jon: i agree in part about the long term risk the locals face, however, foreign journalists have a great risk by simply not looking local.
and last, Guido: i don’t know if you’ve met those west-bank and gazza PJs you’re talking about, but some of them make a very good living. and that’s partly why video journalism in gazza has become such a familly mafia.
it’s just too easy to blame the world for one’s incompetence… as a dutch soldier told me a couple of days ago: train, train and if you think you’re ready, train some more. or in our lingo, shoot, shoot, and if you didn’t make it, shoot some more…
maybe i’m naive, but as much as there is fierce competition, i still think we’re more or less a community. and most of this competition makes us better.
G.

by [former member] | 28 May 2006 17:05 | Kabul, Afghanistan | | Report spam→
Of course a thread like this will be divisive as it is about a business( like many others) that is exploitive and people make a lot of money out of other’s misery. I don’t think anyone is being naive or vindictive about the situation just the usual jockeying for a moral position they can live with. Though a statement of provocation does not set a constructive tone or responses there is enough division around the make us miserable for the rest of our lives if we choose to go down that track.

by Imants | 28 May 2006 18:05 | 7 Hills, Australia | | Report spam→
Good points Guilad, and as far as risk through exposure you are certainly right about that, and may be feeling it right now, given where you are currently stationed. (Ironically I suffer on both accounts here, because no matter how well I speak spanish or know the culture I stand out as a gringo, but I also make a good target because I live here and am easily found! havent offended anyone badly enough yet,though, and things are pretty quiet).

I readily agree that the best PJs are exceptional and that these sorts will come out of all kinds of contexts, but the diversity you mention that characterizes Magnum is something of an illusion, its personnel is heavily weighted toward First World photographers of the middle class. As I stated above, I am beginning to see signs of a greater presence of Third World photographers among prizewinners and so on, so I am heartened by this, but i still think the playing field is not level.


I dont know, it is the first time I have been forced to consider this, and since I am taking on this spokesperson role down here on behalf of photography, I have only just begun to consider the problems that the local photogs here have to grapple with. I wouldnt say their lot is so bad, all in all. I did a job for a leading paper here called Clave, and I was impressed by the kit they provided for free to their photogs. Top of the line stuff. For dominicans, they have a nice little gig going; but they seem held back by other things. Partly it is a matter of lacking that fire, that grit that makes you exceptional (Dominican culture just doesnt make room for strivers), but there are those who would excel if given the opportunity, and because they are Dominican those opportunities are few and far between. They cannot travel the international circuit because they basically cannot get out of the country. They would have to get residency elsewhere, the States, and that is a real bitch. Course, they could just do their best here, or go to Haiti and Cuba (those are possibile travel options even for them) which for many gringo photogs constitute the mecca of engaged photojournalism. It’s a puzzle, and I wont have any firm views until I have had a chance to talk to more photographers down here and sound them out.


I dont have any trouble with the whole idea of competition, though. I agree with you on that head,a nd it is good to have locals and outsiders come into contact because it can be stimulating. I have always approached this biz as a community, but I am not so sure that everyone else does. Still, I have many memories of incredible generosity, so I work with the idea of giving everyone the benefit of the doubt.

by Jon Anderson | 28 May 2006 18:05 (ed. May 28 2006) | Back Home, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Yeah, I know, I do go on…I usually only post when I have the time to write something, so it does tend to be on the long side.

I remember a conversation with a Reuters photographer based in Gaza, a Westerner, who said he was more than happy to share info, etc with local guys because in situations like that, having a collegiate atmosphere helps everyone and raises the bar, so I’d agree with you on that one.

Unfortunately it’s often not the attitude between locals and parachutists which is at fault, and that wasn’t really what I was talking about. Its the policies of the companies who hire both the locals and the skydivers. The reality is that with all the encouragement in the world, a lot of talented locals are never going to break out of their local area, simply because the institutional and economic policies of the media, and their First World locales are stacked against them. The sad thing for me is many of the fixers I’ve worked with in places like Albania, Afghanistan, Iraq and China were really smart, talented people, and would easily run rings around many complacent media hacks back in London, but are never going to get there, not because they’re not talented enough, but because they ain’t gonna get an entry visa and even if they do, will still be legally barred from working here. Welcome to Globalisation…Personally I couldn’t agree with you more – let the cream rise to the top man, but it just ain’t gonna happen under the current setup.

There are some exceptions though…in 1991, CNN became world famous for its groundbreaking coverage of the first Gulf War.

In 2003, another cable news channel became world famous for its groundbreaking coverage and stunning levels of access in the 2nd Gulf War. And that was Al-Jazeera. I visited Al-Jazeera’s offices in Doha last year, to take some pics for a feature and a nicer bunch of people you couldn’t wish to meet.

I suspect channels like them, using local and regional talent serving a massive global audience either ignored or patronised by the Western media, will be big players in the future.

But it’s interesting to note the level of hostility they get from some established media critics, simply because they plough their own independent furrow.

by [former member] | 28 May 2006 18:05 (ed. May 28 2006) | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Lucky 13

13. I haven’t tried to attack anyone here. So please don’t attack me. Thanks.
Point 8. This still doesn’t negate the aspect that there are a lot bof people in it for personal profit. Thanks as in 13

by Imants | 29 May 2006 00:05 | 7 Hills, Australia | | Report spam→
Yea ok but it only takes a couple of rotton eggs to create a negative local/public perception

by Imants | 29 May 2006 01:05 | 7 Hills, Australia | | Report spam→
I don’t know whether I want to weigh into this one again, but if we are
talking resources and opportunities I just want to make a couple of points.
Whilst the number of women in photography has grown considerably in the last 20 years
it is still not anywhere near an even number in the field particularly in difficult areas.
Yet some of the best shooters in the world are women of all nationalities. In fact
if local women PJ’s see other women in the field it normally gives them some courage
and support to continue with what they are trying to do photojournalistically.
And read this from a local journo
in East Timor with a unique appraisal of the situation there now.
http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/journalist-tells-of-home-torched-neighbour-killed/2006/05/29/1148754928683.html
The world doesn’t have a level playing field and we just do the best with what we have.

by lisa hogben | 29 May 2006 04:05 | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
What about the Bungee Jumper Journos?
And the Base Jumper Journos and the Abseiling Artists?

by Mikethehack | 29 May 2006 06:05 | Cloud Cuckoo Land, Holy See | | Report spam→
1. Not necessarily. If you’re a newspaper on a subscription deal with a wire service, you’ll use the wire stuff, even if its not as good as the freelance stuff coming in. The wire service is already paid for.

2. There is value to a pair of fresh eyes. There’s also a high risk those eyes will settle on cliches, or misunderstand the story altogether.

3. Of course they are. Which is why western news agencies hire local stringers…and pay them less than journos of equal or less experience and skill back at HQ.

4 Yahoo didnt publish a story. They deliberately leaked the e-mail address of journalist Shi Tao, who was jailed for 10 years. So Yahoo deservedly caught Hell for it…and not enough Hell in my opinion. Their excuse was they have to obey local laws, but I don’t see them handing over the e-mail addresses and website details of western child-porn networks to Interpol for example. They did it to protect their business interests in China, and are quite happy to syndicate stories toeing the party line.

5. Yup, ya would. Different…but that doesn’t mean better. And the Western editor thousands of miles away is gonna know more about the place than a local? Even if the local knew the Western angle ’didn’t strike a chord’, or in other words, was complete cliched rubbish, they’d probably have to shoot it anyway. Which is why out of several million people living in Gaza, our overwhelming perception is guys with beards waving AK’s around. So what about the poor folks there who just wanna get on with life? They’re opinions don’t count because it doesn’t ‘strike a chord with us’.

It’s a caricature – if I made out that all the Americans on this site wore stetsons and said ‘yeehaw’ all the time, or all the French LS’ers had strings of onions round their necks and wore berets, they’d call me a cultural ignoramus (to put it mildly), but this is the kind of stereotyping Third World folks put up with from the Western media every day.

6. It is nearly impossible, and I would advise locals not to bother, but not to bother because if they work for the wires they’ll be paid a pittance.

7. Ya know, its really handy that local journos are learning English and understanding what Western editors are looking for, because God forbid we should make an effort to earn THEIR language and maybe try and understand what THEY think is important. After all, China (which you mentioned) is only um…1.3 billion people, has a written culture which goes back about 3000 years and is about a fifth of the population of the Earth…but I’m sure they’ll catch up with us once they learn English and understand the deep cultural significance of Pop Idol.

Indonesia? Fourth largest population on Earth, largest Muslim nation on Earth, a coupla hundred languages and an ancient system of atonal musical notation which has influenced western composers like Phillip Glass…nah, not important. Gimme either waves, volcanos or earthquakes…and maybe the ocassional cute Balinese dancer to lighten things up a bit.

8. A lot of NGO’s now say using pics of flyblown skeletal children is counterproductive. It induces compassion fatigue – which isn’t a failure of audience compassion, but an unwillingness to be visually assaulted with desperate parachute pictures all the time, pictures that to them, appear cliched from overuse, and devoid of hope. Many NGO’s are now beginning to use images and stories showing how Third World people are benefitting from their help and getting their lives back in their own way. Its a way of making mutually respectful connections between them and us, which transgresses culture.

9. The camera phone scenario is part of what I’m talking about. The one way which media orgs have responded to the upsurge of camera phones, blogging and such…is to fire journalists. Its the same bean-counting mentality which makes them pay local journalists low wages. Bloggers and camera phone users are cheaper. It also illustrates a contempt on their part for their audience of course, and a complete misunderstanding of the changes taking place…which is why the audience is deserting them in droves.

10. Maybe. Except you’ll probably find you’re being paid more than a local, or are being paid Western rates in western currency, so finding your money goes a helluva long way in Thailand, due to the massive economic disparity between the two economies.

11. All hail the Great White Saviour, pulling them from the jaws of the same mafia which is happy to take other White Saviour’s money when they return in droves next year…as sex tourists.

I read the story Lisa, and noticed the article was illustrated with a pic taken by a wire service photographer called Andrees Latif. Nice pic, but Andrees isnt a Timorese local, I assume. And the reasons behind why that photographer and picture were used, is what I’ve been talking about.

by [former member] | 29 May 2006 07:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Probably the same reason the Australian ABC network uses a American agency to report what happens in our own backyard from time to time

by Imants | 29 May 2006 07:05 | 7 Hills, Australia | | Report spam→
And the reason why Rupert Murdochs NewsCorp has a huge amount of influence in the UK, so we’re not immune. But he’s not Australian anymore. He changed his nationality to American for business reasons…and married a Chinese woman, but I’m sure it was a love match, and not at all anything to do with NewsCorp’s move into the Chinese TV market :)

A new thread: Rupert Murdoch IS Monty Burns. Discuss.

by [former member] | 29 May 2006 08:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
And the reason why Rupert Murdochs NewsCorp has a huge amount of influence in the UK, so we’re not immune. But he’s not Australian anymore. He changed his nationality to American for business reasons…and married a Chinese woman, but I’m sure it was a love match, and not at all anything to do with NewsCorp’s move into the Chinese TV market :)

A new thread: Rupert Murdoch IS Monty Burns. Discuss.

by [former member] | 29 May 2006 08:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
I think we’re in danger of personalising things and that’s not what I’ve been talking about. Its the process that lies behind this.

I was asking why an American is getting his pictures used in Timor, and not a local, but it has nothing to do with his nationality and everything to do with the media company he works for, and how that company works across the globe, along with most others. The process is intrinsically tied up with existing cultural and economic attitudes to the Third World by richer countries and the media organisations which exist there.

Why wouldn’t a western editor want an Indonesian caption? Well, they would, if they were interested in an Indonesian audience. But they’re not of course. As far as many are concerned, Indonesians simply exist to be photographed under rubble.

by [former member] | 29 May 2006 08:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Hey Sion, that’s not nice! under rubble? this is a generalization… they are also good for being drowned by Tsunami, burned by volcanoes, shot by rebels…
and now to be serious: ALL of you who think parawhatevers come in with an advantage and some said locals get more risk… Whatever!!! i just spent all morning being shot at, stoned, hit, bullied cursed and spat on. and now i’m stuck indoors while my local colleagues are having fun outside… why? because i’m a foreigner. and THAT makes me a target. being a PJ just adds oil to the flame.
you don’t agree? come to Kabul.
and one more thing, just because i’m tired of all this P.C crap.and everybody being so “nice” about this. i’ve had my life saved by locals, and when i was a local i think i had my share of helping foreigners, ask my sofa! so one simple thing, i hope i never get to be parachuted somewhere Max is considered local because he’ll probaly throw me to the lions. just so he can sell another picture. and be “left alone” as he says.
G.

by [former member] | 29 May 2006 08:05 | Kabul, Afghanistan | | Report spam→
I can’t chip into this thread anymore after my last post due to work, but now I’m back and I would only like to say now that clear thinkers have saved day again. The thread was in danger of degenerating into a bashing of the guy who started it, namely me. I won’t apologize for starting it the way I did, even though I must have indeed touched some raw nerve that compelled some to personalize the attack instead of opining on an opinion. Sion is also right, that as a Filipino journalist I’ve had my share of death threats and mishaps (nearly buried alive in a landslide, mauled by a mob, etc.) in the course of my work in my home Third World. This piece of personal info is irrelevant to the issue on the table except to address those who seem to think that a PJ covering a war, for example, is somehow superior to a provincial newspaper photographer helping his community obtain information, since the latter as it appears don’t have their lives on the line as they perform their duties.

by Max Pasion | 29 May 2006 09:05 | Jersey City, NJ, United States | | Report spam→
Perhaps this is a good time and place to invite you to turn some of the honourable words in this thread into action. For some reason, I’m on the board of the Media 19 Foundation. We try to work for freedom of speech, and on strengthening the voices who are not always heard.
This time we are working on a project to educate photography teachers. The idea being to find a suitable location, bring together locals who want not only to learn, but to teach, and hopefully get a little bit of a snowball rolling. So far we have a sponsor for some digital camera kit on board, a lot of experience in this type of project, and personnel who can operate anywhere without parachutes or other unfair advantages..
We need to find the right location(s) and the right locals, plus of course the necessary resources to get the thing off the ground.
Your thoughts, ideas and questions are more than welcome.

by Morten Hvaal | 29 May 2006 09:05 | The Hague, Netherlands | | Report spam→
Dude, you are the one who attacked……you started the thread, you made accusations, and now you are surprised that this is personal? If you were really interested in discussion you could have phrased this in less accusatory language, but the post is 100% flame.

I reserve my right to fly whereever I want and photograph whatever I want.

by [former member] | 29 May 2006 09:05 (ed. May 29 2006) | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
Roger, I perhaps agree with your overall point about ‘outsiders perspective’……but as for your example of Thaksin, I’m totally lost for words!!….Never has there been a more justified case for the media ‘ganging up’ – read sticking together – to rid the country of a most blatant, corrupt, crook of a political thug….!!…And, now he’s back!!! – Anyway, perhaps that is all a separate discussion…..

by Steve Coleman | 29 May 2006 09:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Fair point, but perhaps for once, they (the media) ALL got it right….!!?

by Steve Coleman | 29 May 2006 10:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Steve, people have the right to choose the wrong leaders just as they have the right to choose the right ones, thaksin shinawatra was elected by a majority, and is still supported by that majority, so he should be back. the fact that he is a thug and corrupt in our western eyes, doesn’t matter. the same goes for the Palestinians electing Hamas, the Phillipinos electing Estrada (and, dare i say Gloria M.A too…) there are many examples. the point is that it’s the mass that elects the leaders, not the intelectuals. and they see what people do for them, on the ground, in a personal level. they couldn’t care less how much money he made off shin-corp and how dirty the trick was. Takhsin helps villagers, develops rural areas, and that’s what they see. besides he’s rich and powerfull, and thais respect that more than political correctness…
but to get back to our thread… max: damn right it’s personal! as much as you’re trying to quote some support in your posts, you don’t have it. you’re simply short sighted and narrow minded. i hope for you that you never parachute into anywhere, because some of us paratroopers (namely the ones on LS) will be there to “greet” you in your own way.

by [former member] | 29 May 2006 10:05 | Kabul, Afghanistan | | Report spam→
You are very right Guilad, and believe me I know what the Thai’s respect…!…I guess my point was the age old stance of shining a light in places where there is no light, or people simply don’t know the facts…then its up to them – if they don’t care and/or make their choice, then that’s another matter……..

by Steve Coleman | 29 May 2006 10:05 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Free media is cool.
Cover what you want, travel where you want, flame who you want to.
Or not, as the case may be.
I’ll just concentrate on getting published in the letters page of a porn mag.

by Mikethehack | 29 May 2006 10:05 | Cloud Cuckoo Land, Holy See | | Report spam→
Short-sighted? Narrowminded? Look who’s talking …

by Max Pasion | 29 May 2006 13:05 | Jersey City, NJ, United States | | Report spam→
if the locals can’t take trips and visit other award ceromonies, why don’t the locals set up their own awards ceremony?

by Ed Leveckis | 29 May 2006 14:05 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
The greatest photojournalism of China during the Cultural Revolution came from Li Zhensheng who worked for a local
daily in Harbin – only he had the access and the will to make the pictures and of course he got punished for it with
a couple of spells in re-education camps. No outsider could have made them. And no outsider would have kept them hidden
under his floorboards for so many years before he could get them exhibited and then published.

Then again, Vietnam Inc. is by an outsider who doesn’t speak Vietnamese – but I wouldn’t say he’s parachuted in.

As far as the truthfulness or otherwise of stories by either locals or outsiders is concerned – just have a little trawl
through today’s papers, or tv, and see what the bullshit is and who produces it, where and why.

And then, Instead of slagging off local or parachuted journalists in a pointless general kind of way,
why not focus on the stories that are obviously shoddily, inaccurate and show some particular editorial
or ignorance related slant – and then see who is producing them and possibly why. And possibly also what they should be
saying.

by Colin Pantall | 29 May 2006 14:05 | Bath, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Ed, in the Philippines there’s the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA), the most popular award-giving body. Local journalists generally don’t trust the annual outcome since its perceived to be lopsided for journalism holding the same views favored by the RC diocese. I for one did not trust it and never did submit any of my work for consideration. Even though no local since Albert Garcia — who used to be my photo editor at the Manila Times — won a prize in the World Press Photo (first prize nature & environment category for his pic of the Pinatubo eruption in 1990 if I’m not mistaken), many would rather submit to the WPP, where the consolation prize is the WPP yearbook, a great reference.

by Max Pasion | 29 May 2006 22:05 | Jersey City, NJ, United States | | Report spam→

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Participants

Max Pasion, Street Photographer Max Pasion
Street Photographer
Bayonne, Nj , United States ( EWR )
Nishad Joshi, Nishad Joshi
New York , United States
Dave Yoder, Dave Yoder
Milan , Italy
Morten Hvaal, Photographer Morten Hvaal
Photographer
Oslo , Norway ( OSL )
Thomas Pickard, Photographer Thomas Pickard
Photographer
Rarotonga , Cook Islands
lisa hogben, Visualjournalist! lisa hogben
Visualjournalist!
Sydney , Australia
Steve Coleman, BookDesigner|Photographer Steve Coleman
BookDesigner|Photographer
Bangkok , Thailand
Imants, gecko hunter Imants
gecko hunter
" The Boneyard" , Australia
Jon Anderson, Photographer & Writer Jon Anderson
Photographer & Writer
Ocala Florida , United States
Guido Van Damme, Photographer Guido Van Damme
Photographer
Brussels , Belgium
Ahikam Seri, Photojournalist Ahikam Seri
Photojournalist
Jerusalem , Israel
Sean Dwyer, Press Photographer Sean Dwyer
Press Photographer
Dublin , Ireland
Mikethehack, Freelance thril performer Mikethehack
Freelance thril performer
Way Up My Own Ass , United Kingdom
Ed Leveckis, Ed Leveckis
New York , United States ( LGA )
Colin Pantall, Photographer/Writer Colin Pantall
Photographer/Writer
Bath , United Kingdom


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