Writing From the Right Side of the Stall

Mucking stalls. Freelance writing. How do they differ? I discuss.

Say It Ain’t So, LA Times …

Just when I think I’ve gotten the rant out of my system …  

Read this blog today, addressed to the LA Times.

Synopsis:  A Finnish photographer, Matti Matikainen, who was one of several at a big charity ball, took a photo which was pirated by dozens of media outlets, including, inexcusably, the Los Angeles Times and the Hollywood Reporter.

No attempts to contact the photographer for permission.  No offer of payment.  Not even photo credit (though that, if it’s all that’s offered, is hardly compensation).

The title of the blog should give you an indication of how pissed off the Finnish media, and photographers in general, are.  And rightly so.  (Please note I am very deliberately NOT running the photo here!)

In the comments section, Matikainen replies to a belated mea culpa from the LA Times.  He’s more forgiving than I would have been.  He knows — as we all do — that the decision to purloin his work didn’t come from some senior editor in a corner office, but from some overworked, underpaid, afraid-to-lose-his-job intern who made a snap decision to meet some graveyard-shift deadline.  It’s no excuse.  And that the LA Times probably WILL let that pimply-faced intern go for his/her error, instead of addressing the systemic attitude that piracy is okay until you get caught, is all the sadder.

I keep thinking I should just throw in the towel and become an ultrasound technician.  The hours are civilized, you get to work indoors, it’s not invasive or painful to the patients (well, not compared to most other procedures), and I bet the pay is pretty good.

I hope Matikainen gets an obscenely large cheque for his work, but it’s really not about the money at this point.  No wonder people think there are no ethics in journalism anymore.

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