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Portions of this column were originally written for the September 2006 edition of News Photographer Magazine.
Mark Loundy is a media producer and consultant based in San Jose, California. Full bio.
The opinions in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Press Photographers Association.
By Mark Loundy
"The sky is falling!"
What if the day came when hometown papers and TV stations could no longer shoot professional sports in their own town? What if newspapers and local TV stations all had to get their coverage from the various leagues or network feeds?
Cut to real life: The NFL has instituted a rule this season barring local TV stations from NFL sidelines during games. It seems that a local team broke the rules by putting some game footage on their local website. The NFL's product has become so valuable that they view local credentials as no more than a courtesy that they can now afford to dispense with. With newspapers now shooting video, this affects everybody.
How do you think the Dallas Morning News shooters would feel of they couldn't shoot the Cowboys? What if the Washington Post was barred from the sidelines at Redskins games? We're "that close" to such a thing happening.
Let's get indignant. Let's boycott coverage of the NFL. Too late. The readers would never notice. First of all, they're watching it on TV. The real diehard fans are paying for the premium cable and satellite feeds that are owned by the leagues. They no longer get their fix from print.
If all sports photographers worked for the leagues, they would no longer be doing journalism, they would be doing PR. Heck, some teams already forbid shooting pictures of any injuries that happen during practice.
Sports Illustrated would become a living museum of the way things used to be done. Damian Strohmeyer would sleep in a hermetically sealed glass case.
I recently saw a photo in a local weekly of Kevin Harvick passing Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen. The photo credit: "NASCAR.Com."
Perhaps Chicken Little was right.
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