Major Journalism Question

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Photographer Clayton, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. Photographer Clayton

    Photographer Clayton TPF Noob!

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    I have a question for all photographers, journalist, and photojournalist.

    This year we had a tragic incident at the school. We have two floors with outdoor walkways, and a depressed student who was pressured by her peers, jumped off head first. I saw the incident happen and had my camera with me at the time. Since the student survived, with a fractured skull, almost a broken neck, and a broken nose they called in a helicopter to airlift the student to Duke University Medical Center in Raleigh, NC. The event took place in a small town and everyone was shocked upon hearing the news. But Fox 8 NEWS and the local newspapers were still one hour away. So I took out my camera and did not photograph the student. But instead I ran to the entrance to the school and waited and as the fire, police, and EMS arrived I took photos of them turning into the school and evacuating the football team so they could turn the football field into a LZ (landing zone). As I saw the helicopter in the distance I took photos of it and once the student was carried onto the field I put the camera up so there would be no question that I photographed the student. At the same time, Fox 8 NEWS arrived and filmed the student being placed on the helicopter. I still photographed the helicopter leaving, but made sure the students face or body was not shown in any of my photos. But as I was putting the lens cover on my lens the school resource officer (school police) came up behind me and took my camera. I explained I had no photos of the student and even showed the photos to him. But he still forced me to delete the photos, but let Fox 8 NEWS leave with their footage.

    My question is:
    Do you see any reason why he would have the right to make me delete my news story, but he let Fox 8 NEWS keep and publish their story? I know I did not disobey any laws, or rules, while photographing the event.
     
  2. Fate

    Fate TPF Noob!

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    he has no right to take your camera and delete the photos. Even if you had photos of the student he woulnt have that right im pretty sure.
     
  3. Fate

    Fate TPF Noob!

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    Also, adding to that. I dont think its right that people should get rid of photos just because they depict tragic events. There have been many cases where such a photo has helped prevent further tragedies... i believe in "shoot what you see" - how is documenting it on film or digital any different to seeing it with your eyes - at least with a negative or digital file of the event, you have the capacity to maybe (in this case) show other students that it is never worth letting your emotions get to this stage.
    This is in no way a dig at you btw... just a general comment. I think the person who took your camera is totally in the wrong.
     
  4. Dioboleque

    Dioboleque TPF Noob!

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    In what way did he force you to delete them?
     
  5. Rand0m411

    Rand0m411 TPF Noob!

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    Undeleting data is very easy and just requires the correct software which you can find all over the internet.

    With that being said, let no one touch your camera except maybe a REAL police officer.
     
  6. Photographer Clayton

    Photographer Clayton TPF Noob!

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    The school resource officer is a real police officer, who is from the sheriff's department.
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Legally he had no right. MORALLY, he had all the rights he needed.
     
  8. Judge Sharpe

    Judge Sharpe TPF Noob!

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    As one who knows- The law enforcment officer (LEO) had no right, legally or morally, he commited a crime, and showed poor judgment. I would file a protest with the sheriff's department, and your school.
    The greatest historical photographs were taken by someone in the right place at the right time.
    If there was any question as to what happened, your record could be the only evidence avalible. A push, a trip, a jump, something happened.
    Besides the fact that you are permitted to take and record photographs on campus normally.
    The LEO had no probable cause to seize your camera. He may have obstructed an investigation. He distroyed evidence. He trampled your civil rights. He materially injured the students parent' case if the decide to pursue legal action against the school. He deprived you of a possable source of income from the sale of the photographs to the news media.
    And You yourself, deprived yourself of the most valuable record by not shooting the poor student. Not for any money but for the compleat record of what happened.
    Next time if there is a next time- demand that your camera be sealed in an evidence bag and taken at least to the school offfice, to preserve your evidence.
    I feel he did not want the photographs to appear on u-tube or something, and after all what could a kid have that was important.
    You were wronged. It is selective persicution, and the LEO does not have that kind of authority.
    Judge Sharpe
    Who wishes he had that kind of record in Court daily.
     
  9. Gopherkid

    Gopherkid TPF Noob!

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    Im not deffending the officer in any way because I deff dont agree. But I do know that HS students (Im assuming your still in High school) have limited rights as far as the 1st ammendment goes. Its a very large grey area. I know students dont have the right to write what ever they want, so im assuming there is probably some technicality that spills over to photo journalism as well. At least thats what I remember from HS days. Really the only way to right it around is to get the media involved in your story about how you were wronged and your rights were violated. But as far as going through the school system, I think you'll have disapointing results.
     
  10. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I disagree. There student wasn't captured in any photos. Morally, the officer was being a jackass because he figured the student was probably some morbid punk kid with a camera.

    And if that was the case where morality came into effect when deciding to take a photo of a traumatic event that did or did not show wounded people, then there would be a ton of important events that would have gone unrecorded.

    Micahel Yohn, an independent journalist in Iraq captured a US soldier carrying a fatally wounded Iraqi girl in his arms away from the site of a car bomb blast to an awaiting medical evacuation chopper. It was TIME magazine's photo of the year.

    Anyone remember the monk that burned himself in the middle of the street to protest the government of his country? The one that Rage Against the Machine's album cover for their self titled album? If we would encourage people to take photos based on one person's morals that showing disturbing events, then that extremely powerful photo would have never been taken.

    Pictures of the mass graves of concentration camp victims?

    A girl that tried to commit suicide and is saved by local rescue personel?
     
  11. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Legal is where it is outlined in the law. Moral is where an individual executed action based on his personal values.

    I am NOT defending the guard, I am all for him getting his wrist slapped as an incentive for him to learn the law... however you or I feel, in the guard's eyes and or whatever reason besides that, he had a moral obligation to get rid of the pictures and he exercised it, much to his possible detriment.

    Again, morally he felt he had all the rights he needed to do what he did. If a police officer doesn't know the law... he'd better learn fast... or find another avenue of employment.
     
  12. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Rand0m411 & Gopherkid are both right
     

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