News Archive

Journalists, Documentary Filmmakers Call For Encryption in Cameras

By Tom Burton

Cameras with a built-in encryption system could help protect photographers, filmmakers and their subjects in high-risk situations.

In an open letter to camera manufacturers, the Freedom of the Press Foundation said that while encryption is common in smart phones and many online messaging systems, still and video cameras currently do not come with this security feature.

The letter was signed by more than 150 photojournalists and documentary filmmakers, many of whom work in some of the most dangerous regions in the world. It was also backed by the National Press Photographers Association as well as the International Documentary Association, Field of Vision and Sundance’s documentary Films.

Photojournalists and documentarians routinely face threats from corrupt law enforcement or border agents, terrorists and criminals. The Committee to Protect Journalists told the Freedom of the Press Foundation that these incidents are so common that they can’t “realistically track them all.”

Images taken from photojournalists could be destroyed to cover up stories of corrupt agencies or be used to track the subjects for retribution.

While the letter comes from a group of professionals, the ability to protect footage and photos on your camera would protect anyone.

Avi S. Adelman is an NPPA member who signed the letter. He describes himself as a citizen journalist and does not make a full-time living from his news photography. However, he has had incidents where law enforcement tried to stop him from taking photos, including an incident in February 2016 where he faced criminal trespass charges which were later dropped.

“I’m a normal person,” and not a staff journalist, said Adelman. An encryption system on his cameras would help him keep his photos safe, even under the pressure of an officer, he said.

“It would be very difficult for them to force me to do anything illegal,” such as give up his photos without a warrant. said Adelman.

This is lthe etter sent to Canon. Similar letters were sent to Nikon, Sony, Olympus and Fuji:

Dear Canon,

We, the undersigned documentary filmmakers and photojournalists, are writing to urge your company to build encryption features into your still photo and video camera products. These features, which are currently missing from all commercial cameras on the market, are needed to protect our safety and security, as well as that of our sources and subjects worldwide.

Without encryption capabilities, photographs and footage that we take can be examined and searched by the police, military, and border agents in countries where we operate and travel, and the consequences can be dire.

We work in some of the most dangerous parts of the world, often attempting to uncover wrongdoing in the interests of justice. On countless occasions, filmmakers and photojournalists have seen their footage seized by authoritarian governments or criminals all over the world. Because the contents of their cameras are not and cannot be encrypted, there is no way to protect any of the footage once it has been taken. This puts ourselves, our sources, and our work at risk.

Many technology companies have in recent years embraced encryption technology, often including it in their products and enabling it by default. Indeed, encryption has, in some sectors, become an industry-best practice. Apple’s iPhones encrypt all data stored on them by default, as do many phones running Google’s Android operating system; text messages and voice calls made with WhatsApp, iMessage, FaceTime, and Signal are all protected using end-to-end encryption technology; and laptops and desktop computers running modern versions of Microsoft Windows and macOS encrypt all data stored by default too.

However, we face a critical gap between the moment we shoot our footage and the first opportunity to get that footage onto more secure devices.

As filmmakers and photojournalists who value our own safety and the safety of our sources and subjects, we would seek out and buy cameras that come with built-in encryption. Adding these data security features to your product line would give your company a significant competitive advantage over other camera manufacturers, none of whom currently offer this feature.

Beyond the commercial motivation for adding encryption features, we know your company has commendably committed to corporate social responsibility. Building encryption into your products is not just about helping the filmmakers and photojournalists who buy them, but about making the world a better place. As filmmakers and photojournalists, we use our lenses to hold powerful people to account — and ultimately to change society for the better. Encryption features will allow us to continue to tell the most important stories, from some of the most dangerous places in the world.

You can help us reach that goal by starting to work towards building encryption into your camera products.

Thank you for your consideration.

Signed,

Over 150 Filmmakers, Photographers, and Media Workers Around the World

To read the announcement and see the list of photographers and filmmakers who signed, visit the Freedom of the Press Foundation story here.

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NPPF Award Covers Expenses for Advanced Storytelling Workshop

Experienced video journalists can apply for an award to cover expenses for the NPPA Advanced Storytelling Workshop April 2 - April 7, 2017 at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX.

The National Press Photographers Foundation (NPPF) award covers the $590 registration plus another $1,000 for travel.

The award is open only to NPPA members in good standing who are working professional video photojournalists. The award is not intended for beginning video journalists but rather those who have mastered the basics of good video storytelling. Applicants must have at least two years full-time employment as a video photojournalist.

The application deadline is January 31, 2017 and the application form can he found here.

The information on the NPPA Advanced Storytelling Workshop and the registration is here.

 

 

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Bill Introduced to Establish a Small Claims System within the Copyright Office

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) commends Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Lamar Smith (R-TX) for introducing H.R. 6496, a bill “to establish a small claims system within the Copyright Office.” The legislation is designed to support individual creators and small business owners who seek the enforcement of the copyright of their works. Because copyright claims must be brought in federal court, such litigation is often far too costly for most individual creators resulting in photographers having rights without remedies.

The NPPA has been advocating for, and is very appreciative of, Reps. Chu and Smith’s efforts. We are grateful for their support of creators who simply can’t afford to enforce their copyrights in federal court.  We look forward to working with Reps. Chu and Smith, and other interested policymakers and stakeholders to enact this copyright small claims legislation in the next session of Congress.

The establishment of a small claims system consistent with the report issued by the Copyright Office in 2013 has been an extremely important initiative supported by the NPPA along with other visual arts groups as outlined in a White Paper issued earlier this year.

Another copyright small claims bill, entitled “The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2016,” H.R. 5757, was introduced in July of this year by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and co-sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA).

The NPPA looks forward to working with all members of Congress to help them correct the inequity in America's copyright system and give photographers a realistic and effective tool for enforcing their copyrights.

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NPPA Commends Proposal for Reform of the U.S. Copyright Office

Ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, Jr. happily shows off the press release of their announced proposals to reform the U.S. Copyright Office in his office as he is photographed by members of the visual arts group. Photo by Mickey Osterreicher

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) commends House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) on their announced proposal for reform of the U.S. Copyright Office.

Citing the fact that the “20th Century statutory framework for the U.S. Copyright Office is not sufficient to meet the needs of a modern 21st Century copyright system” the Judiciary Committee announced its intention to address a number of issues including: the position of the “Register of Copyrights” as well as the structure of the Copyright Office itself; the formation of “Copyright Office Advisory Committees;” the implementation of “Information Technology Upgrades;” and the establishment of “a small claims system consistent with the report issued by the Copyright Office" in 2013 which has been a significant initiative supported by the NPPA along with other visual arts groups in a White Paper.

According to the committee, “this first proposal identifies important reforms to help ensure the Copyright Office keeps pace in the digital age.” The committee is requesting written comments from interested stakeholders by January 31, 2017, which will be shared with committee members and then made publicly available after the close of the comment period. The NPPA looks forward to submitting comments on these very important proposals and continue its close work with and support of legislators in achieving its crucial reform of the copyright system.

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Gordon Yoder NPPF News Video Workshop Award

ATHENS, GA (December 2, 2016) - Gordon Yoder, a National Press Foundation Fellow as well as an NPPA Life Member, established an award for video photojournalists who wish to attend the NPPA Newsvideo Workshop in Norman, Oklahoma.

The grant is $1,000 to cover the cost of attending the workshop.

Yoder’s early career included the filming of theatrical newsreels. After serving in Korea as a war correspondent and photographer, he covered news stories for network television, including the Civil Rights strife of the 1950’s and 60’s.

In addition, Yoder manufactured and marketed motion picture camera equipment for the television industry. For many years the 16mm Yoder Sound Camera was standard equipment at stations and networks alike.

Rules for Application

1. This award is open to a working professional video photojournalist wishing to attend the NPPA TV Newsvideo Workshop.

2. The applicant must have at least six months full-time employment as a video photojournalist. Note: this award is intended for beginning video photojournalists, not those with years of experience.

Apply for the grant online here. The application deadline is January 31, 2017.

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Smith, Grantham Elected to NPPA Board, Regional Chairs Also Filled

ATHENS, GA (December 2, 2016) – Brad Smith and Kyle Grantham have been elected to the Board of Directors for the National Press Photographers Association. They will take office Jan. 1 and be officially sworn-in during NPPA’s annual board meeting the beginning of February at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA. They have been elected to serve three-year terms.

In addition, three regional chair positions were filled. Adam Vogler won the Central Region, Andy Colwell in the Northwest Region and Maria Avila in the West Region.

NPPA members saw a ballot this year that had a good list of candidates willing to work in the organization’s leadership.

"It was great to have so many NPPA members volunteer to run for the various positions that we had open,” said NPPA Secretary Seth Gitner. “I am hoping that those who did not win in the election would still be up for volunteering to be on one of our various committees to help make the NPPA an even better organization for our members.”

Smith, who is currently a presidential appointee to the board, is the former director of photography for Time Inc.'s Sports Group, where he oversaw the photographic content of Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated for Kids, and Golf magazine in both print and digital platforms. He is currently the founder of Brad Smith Creative, a visual consulting group, and he serves on the board of directors for the Eddie Adams Barnstorm Workshop and NYC SALT. And has also served as a faculty member for The Summit Workshops and FotoFusion.

Grantham is currently the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chair and the NPPA Regional Chairs Representative on the Board. He is a staff photographer at The News Journal in Wilmington, DE where he joined the staff in 2013. Prior to The News Journal Kyle worked at the Casper Star-Tribune in Casper, Wyo. and the Evansville Courier & Press in Evansville, IN. Kyle is a 2010 graduate of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

In the coming weeks, the newly elected regional chairs will be appointing associate chairs as well as local grassroots leaders in areas with high membership concentrations. They will also officially take office on January 1.

Contact NPPA's national secretary Seth Gitner at [email protected] with any election questions or comments.

 

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Income, Ethics and Safety Concern Photojournalists in Survey

By Tom Burton

News photographers around the world face challenges earning a living as more of them take on unrelated side work to help pay the bills, according to a survey by World Press Photo Foundation and the University of Sterling.

“The State of News Photography 2016” is the second annual survey polling photographers who entered the World Press Photo Contest. Nearly 2,000 photographers responded which was about a third of the entrants to the international contest.

The income-related responses were notable. The number working full-time as photographers dropped from 74 percent to 61 percent. Only 39 percent reported making all of their income from news photography. The percentage who said they took other work not related to photography doubled year-to-year.

Self-employed photographers were the majority of the contest entrants from Europe, the Americas and Australia while staffers were the largest group in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The survey also asked about ethics and photojournalism. More than 80 percent said ethics are “very important” in photojournalism and an increasing number feel that manipulating photos was a problem. Most of the respondents, 75 percent, said they would never manipulate their images by adding or subtracting content and 13 percent said they do not enhance their images through toning.

While only about a third of the respondents say they “never” stage photographs, a followup question indicated that most of the staging was for portraits or commercial work. Staging a news photo for “a better photo” was admitted by 6 percent of the photographers. The survey did note that there was a slight increase in the report of staging photos since the 2015 survey.

About half of the respondents were from Europe which is not surprising since World Press Photo is based in Amsterdam. It was a male-dominated group at about 85 percent male, a similar number to the 2015 survey. The global influence was also reflected by a majority sports specialists who covered soccer as their main assignment.

The survey for the second year also showed that photojournalists feel the biggest professional risk was death or injury, more than three-times higher than second-place choice of worries about erratic income. This could be a reflection of the photographers who enter World Press Photo, as many work in conflict zones at least part of the time.

You can download the survey results at World Press Foundation, here.

 

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Director of Photography Santiago Lyon Leaving Associated Press

Santiago Lyon

By Tom Burton

Santiago Lyon, Vice President and Director of Photography for the Associated Press, is leaving after 25 years with the wire service.

In an email memo to AP staff photographers on Tuesday, Nov. 22, Lyon said “I have decided, after much reflection, to move onto another stage in my career and life.”

Lyon began his career with AP as a photographer, moved to picture editing and has been Director of Photography for the last 12 years. During his time as director, AP has won three Pulitzer Prizes for photography. He is also on the Board of Directors for the Eddie Adams Workshops.

As a photographer for AP, Lyon worked in Central America, Egypt and Spain. He became a photo editor for AP for Spain and Portugal before becoming Director of Photography in 2003.

Here is the text of the email Lyon sent to AP staffers:

 

Folks,

  After 25 years with the AP, first as a photographer, then as an editor and for the last 12 years as director of photography, I have decided, after much reflection, to move onto another stage in my career and life.

  As a photographer it’s been an amazing, sometimes incredible ride with no small amount of joy, sadness and challenges along the way. I’ve met some amazingly dedicated and brave colleagues in the field, taken great risks to tell the truth, celebrated winning a few prizes and wept at the death of my colleagues.

  As director of photography I’m immensely proud of all the great work we have done together, the myriad honors that have been bestowed on your amazing images and above all the great spirit of camaraderie and professionalism that make you all such a fantastic team.

  The work of the AP (and journalists the world over) is vital. Issues of access, secrecy and more recently the spread of deliberately false news have made journalistic accuracy, impartiality and trustworthiness all the more important. It is heartening to know that mission is in your capable hands.

  Too many people to name individually have helped me along the way but you know who you are and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

  Going forward I can be reached at (redacted) and my cell number remains the same (redacted).

  My best wishes to you all.

  Thanks

  Santiago

 

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Help Support The Darrell Barton Foundation

By Sharon Levy

ATHENS, GA (November 21, 2016) – It was on April 15, 2015, the day the storytelling community lost a legend. Some may be as talented, but the world has never seen a better storyteller than Darrell Barton. While we will forever miss the man, his principles, passions and professionalism must live on.  

The Darrell Barton Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit, is dedicated to perpetuating all that Darrell believed in, accomplished and taught.

Our mission is simple: we believe in doing the right things for the right reasons. Barton made the world better with his photojournalism. The Darrell Barton Foundation will give up-and-coming photojournalists the opportunity to do the same.   

Photojournalists are encouraged to apply for funding to any photojournalist educational program that provides quality instruction that’s based on Barton's Principles. Tell a compelling story - make a difference.

The Darrell Barton Foundation cannot fulfill its mission without your help.  Consider making a donation in honor, in memory or on behalf of a person or event that is meaningful to you. Make a donation to continue Darrell's mission, to allow photojournalism to document history, to share important stories, to make a difference in the world.

For more information, to apply for funds, or to make a donation please go online to https://darrellbartonfoundation.com/#home

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Letter Seeking Development of Encrypted Camera

The Freedom of the Press Foundation has drafted an open letter to major camera manufacturers—like Sony, Canon, and Nikon—asking them to build encryption into their camera products to protect the safety and security of journalists and filmmakers, their subjects, and their sources. Countless filmmakers and photojournalists have had their camera equipment seized by governments or criminals in recent years, and right now, no camera manufacturer includes encryption on their devices so the owners can protect footage from the prying eyes of those who steal it. The deadline to sign on is November 21th. The full text of the letter can be read at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Uaz_9mayvTAtlogPyr3jVDR4lfbbtJtU1WNa6SeDyLE/edit.

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