When I picked up Saturday's Washington Post, I read the front page article by hack tabloid journalist Amy Goldstein, and then further read the trash written by that other muckraker Dana Milbank....
Oh, wait. Was that offensive? Hmmm. Reviewing the caption that accompanied Ms. Goldstein's article, dead center top above the fold, was the following caption:
"Valerie Plame strolls into the hearing room, the only sound the paparazzi's shutters."Then, I read in Milbank's article the following:
"A hearing room in the Rayburn House Office Building, March 16, 2007. Valerie Plame, playing herself, enters the room fashionably late, and 30 paparazzi start shooting. She walks with the slow poise of a catwalk model, pausing for the cameras on the way to the witness table."Now, the photo is credited to the post's photographer, not a paparazzi. I know her. In other photographs from the event, published by Reuters, the AP, and (well, if you believe the reporter's count, and a round "30" seems a bit inaccurate to me) 27 others, are colleagues whom I know quite well, and they too are not paparazzi. To coin a phrase - "I know paparazzi. I've worked alongside paparazzi, and those men and women there that day were not paparazzi."
The word "paparazzi" is a pejorative. Just like calling the Post a tabloid. Just like calling Goldstein a hack or Milbank a muckraker. Those members of the Senate Press Photographers Gallery can courteously stand behind a velvet rope between two stanchions at the most intense of a news event, and all come away friends and bruise-free. The paparazzi require metal barricades be erected, and strong-armed security details to keep the true paparazzi from their prey.
Those photographers were the working press. The visual arm of the reporters you see clamoring for the Starr Report, the Iraqi Study Group Report, or any other hotly debated document's release. Do we ascribe to those reporters who are hoping to get the document and get it on air first or get their story onto the wire first, perjoratives?
I have known many a time a reporter has wanted a photographer with them on a story, because they know that having a photograph and solid headline will get their pieces read. A story without a photograph is less likely to be read, and a story with a large photograph is much more likely to be rememebered. These insights, from the EyeTrack III study reaffirm what photographers have already known, but some reporters might have forgotten. Clearly those that refer to their breathren in a derogatory manner need a refresher.
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