Use it … pay for it …

Or … don’t give away that photo. If you’re supplying an image for free, then someone else is paying for it. NUJ Brussels is backing the NUJ’s #Useitpayforit campaign to encourage amateurs to understand the value of the photographs and videos they provide to news organisations.

The NUJ campaign, running throughout February 2018, seeks to raise the awareness of amateur photographers and videographers who, by giving their work away for nothing are, unknowingly, undermining professional photographers and the worth of good photographs and videos. If an image is good enough to be published or broadcast, it is good enough to be paid for.

The NUJ is committed to ensuring that the right of our members to be treated fairly is upheld and that they are paid properly for their work. NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet launched the campaign and said: “Whether you are an image maker or not, you need to support this important campaign to protect professional photographers and the value pictures and videos bring to news gathering and make sure that the work is paid for.”

News photography has always relied upon amateur photographs – from the moon landings to the JFK assassination – to capture images of the moment. Today, technological advances have put a camera in everyone’s pocket. It is easier than ever before to take, share, send and find images and video. This development has been exploited by news organisations, which now turn to amateur photographers and members of the public to provide them images from terrorist attacks to local fetes without payment.

So-called “user-generated content” has become a major image-gathering policy for local and national newspapers and broadcasters. They are relying on free content and when they do pay, the rates for pictures are pitifully low. The consequence has been the mass sacking of professional photographers and a diminution of the quality of news images.

#Useitpayforit is about telling media organisations and the general public that photographs and video footage have value. The campaign is about championing quality professional images and professional image makers. It is about making people aware that by giving images away, they are taking away the livelihood of professional journalists. It is about shaming those news organisations that are happy to sacrifice quality by using amateur content and pushing down rates, and in the process making it impossible for photographers to make a living.

If news organisations use arresting images taken by an amateur photographer then they should recognise the value of the picture by paying for it.

There are lots of ways to get involved in the campaign. See:


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