News Archive

NPPA Releases Memo On Photographers' Rights To Take Pictures In Public Places

PHOENIX, AZ  – It’s been almost four years since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and in that time photojournalists have faced an increasing wave of harassment and obstacles – often in the name of national security – while trying to do their work.

“The National Press Photographers Association has been called upon time and time again to speak out on behalf of photojournalists’ rights and to fight efforts to limit or prohibit photography in public places and of public facilities,” NPPA president Alicia Wagner Calzada said today as she opened the Women In Photojournalism Conference at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix, AZ. "Last year there was an attempted ban on all photography in the New York City subways and on the Metropolitan Transit Authority busses, and a successful fight to defeat the proposal was led by the NPPA and other media groups."

“Photojournalists clearly have a Constitutional right guaranteed by the First Amendment to make photographs in public places. But often law enforcement officials and security agencies believe – wrongly so – that in the name of homeland defense there are new federal laws that somehow give them additional rights to restrict photography. This is just not the case.”

To clarify the issue, NPPA asked attorneys Kurt Wimmer and John Blevins of the Washington office of the Covington & Burling law firm to produce a memorandum outlining the rights of photojournalists to make pictures in public places. The memorandum, released by NPPA and Calzada today at the Women In Photojournalism Conference, concludes: "No specific post-September 11 federal law grants the government any additional rights to restrict visual newsgathering, photojournalism, or photography in general.”

Singled out from their memorandum are these significant points:

* The Constitution protects the media’s right to freely gather news, which includes the right to make photographs in a public forum;

* There is no federal law that would prohibit photography in public places or restrict photography of public places and/or structures;

* Any restrictions that the government does impose would need to have supporting evidence that it was essential for public safety. The burden is on the government;

* Government officials cannot single out news cameras for removal while continuing to allow the general public to remain in a location, particularly if the public is taking pictures;

* When journalists are denied access, they should avoid confrontation and arrest and instead gather as much information as possible so that they can later seek relief through proper channels.

The memorandum is published here as a downloadable Acrobat .PDF file as a public service for distribution to journalists and newsgathering organizations.

“We encourage all news organizations to consult with their own attorneys regarding the best procedures for dealing with overzealous police and security guards,” Calzada said. “And it is a good idea to have a plan of action before an incident occurs. Please download the entire memorandum from the NPPA Web site and review it with your staff, supervisors, and editors.”

For more information please contact Calzada at [email protected].


NPPA And Western Kentucky University Receive Knight Foundation Grant To Turn Photojournalism Contest Into Educational Opportunity

DURHAM, NC – Supported by a $100,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the National Press Photographers Association and Western Kentucky University have joined together to create an online educational program based on NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism annual contest that will help the university’s photojournalism and visual communication students learn how to produce better photos.

As part of the Knight Foundation grant, the first rounds of the contest will be conducted and judged online, to help teachers guide students through the process. NPPA will improve the way images are digitally entered into the contest and expand the online photo archiving to provide a useful learning tool for professionals, teachers and students.

"Education has always been at the heart of NPPA's values and the Best of Photojournalism contest has always emphasized its educational value to photojournalism students, visual communication students and editing students as well as their instructors,” said NPPA presidentAlicia Wagner Calzada. “Because of the contest’s unique format, and its availability to students and professionals via the Internet, Best of Photojournalism is now used as an educational tool in all parts of the world. The work that Western Kentucky University will do will further increase the contest’s educational value and enhance photojournalism education for all."

Every March, NPPA conducts the Best of Photojournalism contest for still photojournalism and editing, television photojournalism and editing, and online media. The final judging takes place at both The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, FL, and at the School of Visual Communication (VisCom) at Ohio University in Athens.

During this year's contest, judges evaluated more than 41,000 individual entries in all five divisions from news events and stories in 2004. The still photography contest had nearly 38,000 entries by itself, making it the second-largest contest for photojournalists in the world (only World Press in Amsterdam has more entries). Unlike many annual contests, the Best of Photojournalism has no entry fees – and photojournalists can enter their images via the Internet from anywhere in the world.

Western Kentucky University and NPPA will work with Ohio University and News University, The Poynter Institute's e-learning project, to create educational components based on the contest. These online training modules – for print and video journalists – will be available for free on the NewsU Web site, They’ll cover such topics as ethics in photojournalism and what makes a winning photograph.

“This partnership is a win-win situation,” said Dr. Pam McAllister Johnson, director of Western Kentucky University’s School of Journalism. “Our photojournalism program, the NPPA contests and News University are all considered tops in their areas.”

NPPA will continue to administer all aspects of the contest including judging, displaying all entries and presentation of the winning entries.

“Journalism contests can do more than create giddy winners and grumpy losers,” said Eric Newton, director of Journalism Initiatives for Knight Foundation. “They can show the world what we really mean when we talk about journalism excellence – and that’s something all of us can learn from.”

The Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation was established in 1950 as a private foundation. Knight Foundation promotes journalism excellence worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. For more, visit

Western Kentucky University offered its first journalism course in 1927. Today, the School of Journalism and Broadcasting has more than 1000 students and 35 faculty members. Twelve photojournalism graduates have been on Pulitzer Prize-winning teams. The school has ranked number one in the overall Hearst competition three of the last five years; and the photojournalism program has been ranked number one 15 of the last 17 years.

The National Press Photographers Association ( is the professional society of photojournalists. Established in 1946 and based in Durham, NC, NPPA is also the publisher of the monthly magazine News Photographer.

For more information please contact NPPA executive director Greg Garneau at +1.919.383.7246 ext. 10 or via eMail at [email protected].


Bob Brandon Critical In Denver Hospital

Television photojournalist Bob Brandon is in stable but critical condition in a Denver, CO, trauma hospital after he was found on the floor of his home yesterday. Sharon Levy Freed reports that Brandon may have collapsed as long ago as Saturday, but that he was unable to reach a telephone to summon help.

Freed reports in an eMail that Keith Singer, a video editor who often works with Brandon, was worried when he was unable to contact Brandon so he went to his house on Tuesday and made the discovery. Brandon was immediately transported to a South Denver trauma center where tonight he's a patient in intensive care but stable and improving, according to an ICU nurse.

On Wednesday afternoon Freed reported in an eMail to Brandon's friends and coworkers that "Bob is better than he was yesterday, but still critical, very ill, and the future is uncertain." Freed says Brandon can't receive visitors or telephone calls at this time.

Brandon is known as one of the leading television photojournalists in the broadcast industry and has twice been named the NPPA Television News Photographer of the Year, in 1976 and again in 1980 while he was with KPRC-TV in Houston, TX. He's a co-recipient of a national Emmy for his work on CBS's 48 Hours as well as having two national Emmy nominations. His work includes stories for CBS News, 60 Minutes, NBC News, The Today Show, Dateline, ABC Evening News, Prime Time Live, and 20/20.

Brandon is a faculty member for the annual NPPA Television NewsVideo Workshop, and he was president of Helical Post, a video digital post-production facility in Denver.


Epilogue: A Player Dies

In the August issue of News Photographer magazine, photojournalist Jenna Isaacson of the Columbia Daily Tribunewrote about her experience photographing University of Missouri redshirt freshman football player Aaron O’Neal, 19, when he collapsed during a summer strength and conditioning workout in July and then hours later died at the University of Missouri in Columbia. The workout, while strenuous, was not held in extreme heat, according to the report, and the player appeared to be in good physical condition, although observers saw that he struggled more and more as the one-hour workout progressed.

Today in Columbia the Boone County medical examiner, Valerie Rao, told members of the football team that O'Neal died as the result of viral meningitis, the Tribune reported, and O'Neal's father, Lonnie O'Neal, today filed a $300,000 wrongful death lawsuit. The suit names members of MU's athletic training staff, the strength and conditioning staff, athletic director Mike Alden, head football coach Gary Pinkel, and director of football operations Mark Alnutt, but not the university. By Missouri law, the university as a state institution has "sovereign immunity." The Tribune reports that the suit alleges that O'Neal died as a result of "neglect" by university staff, and that "university officials were callous and fell far short of any reasonable standard."

Viral meningitis is an infection of the spinal fluid around the spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. The Tribune reports that Rao said in a press conference today that O'Neal's brain had swollen as a result of the infection, and the swelling caused the young player to stop breathing. She also told reporters that it is unclear whether participating in the voluntary summer workout contributed to O'Neal's death or not. The Tribune quotes her as saying, "I don't think it helped him."


Boston Photojournalist Dean L. Gaskill, 59

Television photojournalist and director of photography Dean L. Gaskill, 59, of Newton, MA, died August 19th, The Boston Globe reports. Gaskill was a co-founder of VideoLink.TV, a broadcast and production and television transmission company, and the president and founder of DGA Productions in Watertown, MA.

Gaskill was award-winning visual journalist who shot major news, sports, and commercial television productions over the past 40 years after serving in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant and serving in Germany. He was nationally known for his television expertise, and for his photography documenting the Great Wall of China, to cooking in Julia Child's kitchen, to covering Boston sports championships.

Gaskill is survived by his wife, Sylvia Smith, and a son, Justin Smith Gaskill. A private funeral service is planned for the immediate family. A public memorial service and celebration of Gaskill's life will be held on Monday, August 29, at 4:00 at Trinity Church in Copley Square, 206 Clarendon Street, Boston MA. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions may be made to Dana Farber Cancer Institute - Patient and Family Assistance, Dept. of Care Coordinator, 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA, 02115. A memory page is available for more details at

“The NPPA was part of Dean's roots,” Mark Bell told News Photographer magazine. “Many years ago Dean asked me if I would give him a tape of the NPPA Workshop opening because he felt his father, Arthur, was in the part of the opening where it shows military folks filming a simulated arrival of a dignitary.”

“This is not an ordinary person in the memories of many, as Dean, a large person, was more than gentle, sensitive and kind. He once said to me that the ‘new’ news had gotten so competitive that he found it necessary to apologize to his fellow photojournalists before a ‘clustered’ event, for what he was going to do with them in order to gain the great pictures he was capable and accomplished at gathering. Competent? Many will always say he was the best.”

Gaskill founded VideoLink with Doug Weisman in the fall of 1992 in response to the networks' need for a new source of production and transmission facilities in New England, as well as live shot services. VideoLink grew from a single location to facilities in Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. As a photographer and director, Gaskill worked with a wide range of clients including Oprah Winfrey, famous chef Julia Child, basketball legend Larry Bird, puppeteer Jim Henson, Pope John Paul II, along with Fortune 500 companies and NASA. Programs he worked on include An American Moment with James Earl Jones, ESPN, A&E, The Museum of Science, The House of Blues, and Cheers.

Friends and associates can sign on online guestbook here. The DGA Productions Web page is online at and Gaskill's television demo real is online as streaming video.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions may be made to Dana Farber Cancer Institute - Patient and Family Assistance, Dept. of Care Coordinator, 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA, 02115.


Kentucky Case Raises Need For Press Shield Law

By Mickey H. Osterreicher, Esq.

EAST AMHERST, NY – A recent incident in Kentucky involving a television station, a defendant in a shooting, and a District Court Judge illustrates the need for a standardized press shield law. Reports from the local media in Paducah, KY, indicate that the judge fined WPSD-TV $10,000 per day for not turning over unedited tapes (of interviews with witnesses to a shooting) to the defendant’s attorney. Within hours attorneys for the station were able to obtain a temporary restraining order from a higher court delaying the imposition of the fine and possible jail time for a vice president of the station, who was responsible for deciding to withhold the tapes.

At issue is whether or not the station is legally required to hand over these tapes, bringing the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial in direct conflict with the station’s First Amendment right to gather news. The Kentucky Revised Statute (Section 421.100) entitled Newspaper, radio or television broadcasting station personnel need not disclose source of information states in pertinent part that “no person shall be compelled to disclose in any legal proceeding or trial before any court, or before any grand or petit jury … the source of any information procured or obtained by him, and published in a newspaper or by a radio or television broadcasting station by which he is engaged or employed, or with which he is connected.”

In a previous case the Kentucky Court of Appeals held that the statute did not permit a reporter to refuse to testify about events he had observed personally, including the identities of those persons he had observed. That issue was presented to the U.S. Supreme Court in the seminal case of Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 US 665 (1972), where the high court held that “requiring newsmen to appear and testify before state or federal grand juries does not abridge the freedom of speech and press guaranteed by the First Amendment; and that a newsman's agreement to conceal criminal conduct of his news sources, or evidence thereof, does not give rise to any constitutional testimonial privilege with respect thereto.”

All of this raises the question – should there be a federal shield law? This is a topic that has been in the news recently in cases involving reporters for Time magazine and The New York Times, who are being held in contempt as part of a federal investigation into the disclosure of a CIA officer’s identity. In another recent case, a Rhode Island television reporter was held in criminal contempt in federal court and sentenced to home confinement because he would not reveal the identity of the person who gave him a tape in a bribery case. These high profile cases, along with those of approximately 30 other journalists facing federal prosecution for refusing to testify in federal courts, have led legislators in both the House and Senate to introduce the Free Flow of Information Act.

Currently 31 states have various statutes that protect reporters from being compelled to testify and disclose sources of information in court, but there is no federal law. The Act would create a federal journalists’ qualified privilege for “a covered person” defined as “(A) an entity that disseminates information by print, broadcast, cable, satellite, mechanical, photographic, electronic, or other means and that (i) publishes a newspaper, book, magazine, or other periodical; (ii) operates a radio or television broadcast station (or network of such stations), cable system, or satellite carrier, or a channel or programming service for any such station, network, system, or carrier; or (iii) operates a news agency or wire service; (B) a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such an entity; or (C) an employee, contractor, or other person who gathers, edits, photographs, records, prepares, or disseminates news or information for such an entity.” For purposes of the Act, the term “document” is defined as “writings and recordings that consist of letters, words, or numbers, or their equivalent, set down by handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, magnetic impulse, mechanical or electronic recording, or other form of data compilation” and photographs that include “still photographs, X-ray films, video tapes, and motion pictures” as defined in the Federal Rules of Evidence (Rule 1001).

The bill, introduced in February 2005, states that “no Federal entity may compel a covered person to testify or produce any document in any proceeding or in connection with any issue arising under Federal law unless a court determines by clear and convincing evidence, after providing notice and an opportunity to be heard to the covered person (1) that the entity has unsuccessfully attempted to obtain such testimony or document from all persons from which such testimony or document could reasonably be obtained other than a covered person; and (2) that (A) in a criminal investigation or prosecution, based on information obtained from a person other than a covered person (i) there are reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has occurred; and (ii) the testimony or document sought is essential to the investigation, prosecution, or defense; or (B) in a matter other than a criminal investigation or prosecution, based on information obtained from a person other than a covered person, the testimony or document sought is essential to a dispositive issue of substantial importance to that matter.” With regard to limitations on the content of the information, the bill states that “the content of any testimony or document that is compelled under subsection (a) shall, to the extent possible (1) be limited to the purpose of verifying published information or describing any surrounding circumstances relevant to the accuracy of such published information; and (2) be narrowly tailored in subject matter and period of time covered.”

Just this week former Senator Bob Dole endorsed the bill, writing on the op-ed page of The New York Times: “As someone with a long record of government service, I must admit that I did not always appreciate the inquisitive nature of the press. But I do understand that the purpose of a reporter's privilege is not to somehow elevate journalists above other segments of society. Instead, it is designed to help guarantee that the public continues to be well informed." Last week the American Bar Association House voted to support a federal reporters’ shield law. In a statement, ABA president, Michael S. Greco, said: "Our action today acknowledges the important role of journalists and the media in providing the public with significant information to ensure an informed democracy, and reporters’ need to be able to protect sources in order to get that information." But the enactment of such a law is not without its drawbacks. Writing in The Kansas City Star, columnist E. Thomas McClanahan said: “A federal shield law would invite Congress to begin parsing the First Amendment. Lawmakers would inevitably decide where key lines should be drawn, such as who should be included in a shield law. Such a debate ought to make First Amendment supporters more than queasy."

Applying the proposed shield law to the current Kentucky case would be a matter of striking the proper balance between the defendant’s right to a fair trial, the public’s interest in the efficient administration of justice, and the television station’s First Amendment protection in gathering the news. Once the station asserts its qualified privilege, the court must first decide if it is an entity covered by the statute. With that prong of the test satisfied the court should look to see if the “document” being sought is protected, and since recorded videotape falls under the definition of both “document” and “photograph” the court can proceed with the substantive part of its analysis.

As the defense attorney and quite possibly the prosecutor are seeking to obtain the unedited interviews that the station did with witnesses to an alleged crime, they must prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that they have been “unsuccessful” in their attempts to obtain interviews with those witnesses on their own. This matter being a criminal investigation as well as a criminal prosecution (and it having been established, from a person other than the television station, that a crime has occurred), the burden now shifts to either the prosecution or the defense (or both) to prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that the interviews on the unedited tapes are “essential to the investigation.” It is also their burden to prove under the same evidentiary standard that the need for the interviews on tape is for “the purpose of verifying broadcast information or describing any surrounding circumstances relevant to the accuracy of such broadcast information; and be narrowly tailored in subject matter and period of time covered.”

Obviously, these incidents need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and it would be very helpful to have a consistent standard of review such as the one in the proposed Free Flow of Information Act. Therefore, it is critical to remember Justice Louis Powell, Jr.’s, concurrence in Branzburg that “without some protection for seeking out the news, freedom of the press could be eviscerated.”

Mickey H. Osterreicher has been an NPPA member since 1972 and is on the Advocacy Committee. He has been a photojournalist for over 30 years in Buffalo, NY, where he now practices law. He can be reached at [email protected]


Editor & Publisher's 2005 Newspaper Photos Of The Year Contest Deadline Announced

The deadline for entering Editor & Publisher's 2005 Newspaper Photos of the Year contest is September 16, 2005. Photojournalists can submit images that have been published in a newspaper or on a newspaper's Web site since September 1, 2004.

Last year's grand prize winner was NPPA member Benjamin Krain of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for the photographs in a special section the newspaper published of Krain's work documenting poverty and violence in Afghanistan. A gallery of past contest winners, including Krain's work, is online here.

Images can be entered in the categories of News (Spot/General), Features, Sports, and Multiple Images/Photo Essays. Subcategories will be based on the publication's circulation figures. Jay DeFoore, the new Online Editor at Editor & Publisher who joined the magazine recently from its sister publication, Photo District News, announced that this year there is a new contest category sponsored by Nikon. "Local Heros" is a category supported by Nikon and it was created to recognize outstanding photographs of any individual who has accomplished something noteworthy or of merit in their community.

DeFoore says that an entry form can be downloaded here from the contest's Web site at Specific questions can be addressed to Daniela DiMaggio at [email protected] or Lynne Bosnack [email protected]


Agency VII Announces New York City Seminar In October

NEW YORK, NY - The photojournalists of the Agency VII will put on another seminar this year on Saturday and Sunday, October 15 and 16, 2005, at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, VII's managing director Frank Evers announced. Sponsors for the event include Canon, Lexar, Lowepro, and The New School.

"Spaces are booking very quickly, and we want the professionals and students to hear about this as soon as possible," Evers said. "This year we're featuring practical breakout sessions covering topics like digital workflow, personal projects, assignments, and fine art." AlexandraBoulat, Lauren Greenfield, Ron Haviv, Antonin Kratochvil, Joachim Ladefoged, Christopher Morris, James Nachtwey, JohnStanmeyer, and Gary Knight will participate in panel discussions, the breakout sessions, individual presentations, and portfolio reviews.

Registration is required and it's $75 USD for students and $175 USD for professionals. The photographers' presentations will be at the school's Tishman Auditorium, Building A, at 66 West 12th Street, and the day ends with a book signing. The breakout sessions will be at the school's amphitheaters at 66 West 12th Street, the Parsons Aronson Gallery and Lecture Hall at 66 5th Avenue, the Swayduck Building F at 65 5th Avenue, and at the Theresa Lang Student Center, Building 1, at 55 West 13th Street.

The agency's Web site has online registration and a map of the session locations, and also a list that recommends five possible hotels for lodging. For more information please see


Online Statement In Support Of Judith Miller

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press urges journalists to sign an online statement in support of Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who has been jailed for refusing to disclose sources. Miller was jailed for refusing to comply with a subpoena and to reveal a confidential source to a Special Counsel grand jury investigating the disclosure of an undercover CIA officer's name in Robert Novak's column of July 2003. She could remain in jail until she elects to testify, which she has vowed not to do, or until the grand jury expires in late October.

The National Press Photographers Association has joined with the Newspaper Association of America and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in reiterating their call for a new national shield law to protect journalists' interests, and urges NPPA members to sign this online statement in support of Miller and supporting the defense of journalists' rights as well as the public's right to know about its government.



Tony Berardi, 99, Famed Chicago Photojournalist

Retired photojournalist Tony Berardi, 99, who as a young man was one of the first photographers on the scene to document the infamous 1929 St. Valentine's Day gangland murders, died July 13 in an assisted-living facility in Kankakee, IL, according to his son, Tony Berardi Jr., retired chief photographer for the Chicago Tribune.

Berardi had been a photographer for The Chicago Evening American at the time and he worked for that newspaper for many years before retiring in 1971 from the Chicago Today newspaper. In 1923 at the age of 17 he was one of the youngest newspaper photographers working, according to his obituary in the Chicago Tribune, as well as taking the first picture of Al Capone that the gangster agreed to pose for.

In addition to his son he is survived by two daughters, Carol Dalissandro and Tricia Wille, and a stepdaughter, Patricia Dvorin. Tribune writer John McCormick wrote a detailed history of Berardi's career as a photographer documenting Chicago's news.