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Panpa Bulletin : April 2007
10 PANPA Bulletin April 2007 news Getty Images has acquired Scoopt -- an aggregator and distributor of photographs and videos captured by eyewitnesses who have an accidental front row seat to headline making moments. In the coming months news, sport and entertainment imagery from Scoopt that meets Getty's editorial quality standards will be released exclusively at www.gettyimages.com/editorial. "New technology has made it easier to capture and distribute imagery, leading to citizen photojournalism that is increasingly relevant to the news cycle," said Getty Images CEO Jonathan Klein. "While this genre will never replace the award winning pho- tojournalism for which we're known, it's a highly complementary offering that enables us to meet the evolving imagery needs of a broad customer base." Since the founding of Scoopt in 2005, the site has supplied the media with imagery from significant world events including the Manhattan plane crash that killed New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor in October 2006 -- digital images cap- tured by a bystander were emailed to Scoopt and appeared on the front page of The Times of London Getty Images director of editorial photography, Hugh Pinney, said user-generated content is serving a valuable role in today's communication landscape so safeguards to validate its authenticity are critical. "By implementing rigorous quality standards, we can deliver powerful imagery captured from a unique perspective while ensur- ing journalistic integrity." Citizen photographers who submit imagery to Scoopt retain copyright while granting the agency a twelve-month exclusive license that authorises re-license to one or more publishers. Contributors will benefit from increased visibility and an exten- sive network of media contacts as well as a significant per centage of the value for each license issued. Scoopt founder Kyle MacRae said he was looking forward to col- laborating with Getty Images. NZ Press Council deals with grief The dilemma confronting the press when trying to balance freedom of expression and the public interest versus privacy and those suffering grief was highlighted in a New Zealand Press Council adjudication issued in January. The Press Council (with one member absent) was itself evenly split, five -- five when deciding on the complaint con- cerning this issue as received from Gary Hayman against The Dominion Post. Chairman Barry Paterson used his cast- ing vote against upholding the complaint. He did this on the basis that a complaint should not be upheld unless a majority of the Press Council on the determinative vote decides to uphold. The complaint involved a grief-stricken family and the newspaper wanting to fol- low-up comments made in evidence at the Palmerston North Coroners Court inquest into the death of 16-year-old Rachael Hayman. Rachael Hayman died after her car was in collision with a school bus. A police witness at the inquest said it was possible that the de- ceased was using her cell phone while driv- ing. The coroner in his finding said that there was no clear evidence that the deceased was using her cell phone and therefore he could not make a finding on that. The newspaper decided there was topical interest in cell phone use while driving and wanted to follow-up the court hearing with further comment. Mrs Hayman, the dead girl's mother, stressed to the reporter that her daughter was not using her cell phone and made it clear that she did not want to comment. A flurry of telephone calls to the newspaper and to the Press Council followed. Essentially, the Haymans wanted nothing or very little of the inquest reported, and no comments from the family. The five Press Council members who would have upheld the complaint believed that the court report could have gone ahead without the need to afflict the family with any further grief. They also believed that the newspaper chose to ignore the very vigorous signals from the Haymans that their distress would not countenance any comment ap- pearing in the press. Promoting freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and maintaining the highest professional standards are prin- cipal objects of the Press Council, it said, but a judgment giving respective weight to these two principal objects often needs to be made. The Press Council could declare as un- ethical any press approach seeking comment from a grieving family or friends of a de- ceased person. But such a declaration would have a chilling effect on freedom of expres- sion. The press needs to have the freedom to enlarge stories where they deem it necessary, the adjudication said. The Press Council, it said, could require the press to refrain from approaching anyone who is connected with a death or deceased person. Restraining the press from making enquiries after sudden death would not be in the public interest or the interest of freedom of expression. "But controlled, ethical behaviour," said the Press Council adjudication, "could be the expected norm in cases of great distress, where the public interest is not affected." In this case the newspaper's report of the inquest was neutral and the accu- racy of the reported comment from Mrs Hayman was not disputed, said the Press Council. However, the appropriateness of the newspaper running commentary from a private citizen who was distressed and who said that they did not want to com- ment may be. To the Press Council the editor said his staff had acted in accordance with the special consideration for those suffering trauma or grief. The editor also said that his staff acted with composure and professionalism in the face of some unfortunate remarks by the Haymans and some animosity, mindful that they were grieving. The newspaper advanced a public inter- est argument in favour of getting comment from the police officer involved and from the family about cell phone use. "But, said the Press Council, "no commentary appears from the police, there is no discussion, no use of Land Transport statistics about accidents resulting from "distraction by telecommunication devices... Beyond the plain court report, a short comment from Mrs Hayman hardly qualifies as the follow- up story the newspaper suggested it needed to trouble the family for." By Warren Page Getty buys Scoopt