The National Press Photographers Association added an anti-harassment standard to its Code of Ethics during its summer board meeting held Saturday, July 22, 2017. The board also voted to have elected board members balanced between video/broadcast representatives and still/print representatives.
The anti-harassment standard added to the Code of Ethics states: "Do not engage in harassing behavior of colleagues, subordinates or subjects and maintain the highest standards of behavior in all professional interactions."
The board unanimously passed the resolution and acknowledged that harassing colleagues and subordinates, whether in the form of intimidation, sexual harassment, or harassment on the basis of race, religion, gender or national origin, is an insidious form of professional misconduct that harms the careers of those who are subjected to it.
"I'm so proud that the leadership of NPPA recognized how destructive harassment is to those who are subjected to it, and that the board agreed that there is no room in this profession for that kind of behavior. " said Alicia Calzada, former NPPA president and a legal counsel to the NPPA.
The NPPA Code of Ethics is the keystone of the association and all members agree to abide by the code when they apply for membership. The code is often cited by media commentators, especially when dealing with issues of image manipulation and photojournalists' interaction with subjects.
"All too often in photojournalism, when we think of ethics we think of Photoshopping images and setting images up," said NPPA President Melissa Lyttle. "Ethics are, most importantly, the moral principles that govern one's behavior. At it's very core it's knowing right from wrong - and acting accordingly. And it's time we took a stand as an organization to say that harassment and intimidation will not be tolerated."
The resolution for two elected board positions is to address an imbalance on the board that favored professionals from the still photography tradition. In order to fairly represent the membership working primarily in video and broadcast, the board voted that: "one seat shall be reserved for a candidate from the video/TV/broadcast discipline, and one seat shall be reserved for a candidate from the still/newspaper/print discipline. Candidates are responsible for classifying themselves under whichever discipline best describes the primary focus of their daily work and the interests which they will bring to the Board."
"This resolution is a signal to me the NPPA truly recognizes the value of the thousands of members whose primary career responsibilities are in video journalism. It helps heal the divide. And I hope to see it taken further," said NPPA board member Scott Jensen.
"Television photojournalists have decades of experience pioneering the ethics and standards of moving image journalism," Jensen said. "I believe there is a group of NPPA print hardliners who should release their pride and be more proactive in seeking our authority in these areas. We want to contribute to NPPA policy and the association's national conversation."
Katie Schoolov, a board member since 2014, said she has seen the board gradually become more diverse and that this resolution is the next big step in the process.
“With guaranteed representation for our video members on the Board, I am eager to see the next generation of leadership guide NPPA to be a better advocate and servant of visual journalists across all disciplines,” Schoolov said.
This move had been proposed at the board's annual meeting in January. This proposal spells out the details of the board election process.
The NPPA board's summer meeting was held via video conference call. Other resolutions passed included adding a contest chair to coordinate all of the NPPA monthly and quarterly contests and a resolution that allows NPPA board members to have their registration fees waived if they attend NPPA workshops with the purpose of actively representing the board leadership.