Friday, July 3, 2009

Washington Post Sells Out - More Details

We wrote in Washington Post Sells Out about the dirty little secret of the Post Post (NYSE: WPO) selling access to its' reporters, and to elected and administration officials. The Post today continued their own self-flagelation, in Post Co. Cancels Corporate Dinners.

Well, it appears that the marketing department of the Washington Post, who, as we previously suggested might be considering booking the staff photographers out for non-editorial work, didn't think that the staff photographers' work was good enough for use in the marketing materials promoting the "salon" or to shoot something for it?

Nicely done Washington Post.
So, then, where did they get the image from?

(Continued after the Jump)

It is a royalty-free image from Photodisc, and for under $500 you can get the full disc of 100 images. Here's the image:

There's just something wrong with this picture, and I don't mean the actual image.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.


R. Forrester said...

Hats off to you, John, for the work you do on behalf of professional photographers everywhere.
To add another layer of intrigue to your post; when you notice the non-American spelling in the photo credit it would seem the photographer - and by extension the location - was not in America! What does that say about the credability of the message?

Gary Gardiner said...

My local paper, The Columbus Dispatch, used a stock photo from Iceland of a child with an American flag to illustrate a story about a local patriotic event. A story about Ohio's wheat harvest was illustrated with a stock photo from New Zealand. It even used an istockphoto to illustrate the first day of a series of stories on jobless in central Ohio.

I probably irritated the editor when I reminded him his photo staff placed second in the state news photographer's contest and thought they might have been first if allowed to shoot more photo to illustrate local stories instead of using $12 stock photos.

Anonymous said...

John, you are the greatest. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. What a shame the top management of the newspaper lets this happen. Gary, way to go, irritate the hell out of them. Maybe you will wake them up. Keep trying.

Anonymous said...

The only value the Post puts on photography is when it's competition time. That's why the staff very rarely gets praise or recognition until the award ceremony. It's a demoralizing place where senior photo editors would never think to say "good job".
Staff photographers for years have been continually passed over for even simple editorial and magazine let alone marketing material in favor of overpriced out of town (NYC) freelancers and in this case cheapo stock.
Local freelancers are chaffed as too expensive for what they contribute - since-remember photographs have little value unless an image can win a journalistic prize. (freelancers however do sometimes contribute what staff can't i.e. magazine quality interiors)
This stock photo is easily something any of the staff could achieve with a blindfold on (yes, they are that talented) but you can't beat the price and saving money is all over the industry.

Anonymous said...

This story is everywhere in the daily press. WashPost have finally showed their ass to the world, and not just their photo department.

Ian said...

On the wires today:

Post publisher apologizes for paid dinner plan

Anonymous said...


Would I be correct to assume The Washington Post is not a client of yours currently?

Have you ever worked for them in the past?

Do you expect to work with them in the future?

Anonymous said...

The Post has a long, impressive and storied history. Presently, they have some excellent people on their team, including their photo desk.

They treat freelancers like crap (I can't speak about staff), and don't seem to have much respect for photography anymore.

But, really, it's hard to blame them. The economy sucks, they're losing their shirts and there is some good quality free/cheap stuff out there.

This is just one ache in a larger disease.

And thank you Getty/PhotoDisc for continuing to suck so much.

When I'm turning the coals of hell, you'll all be responsible for sorting and cataloging all the cat photos on Flickr.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Would I be correct to assume The Washington Post is not a client of yours currently?

Have you ever worked for them in the past?

Do you expect to work with them in the future?

I love this guy. If you want to work in photography get use to these types. They would never consider using you but they love the threat. Typically this is also an indication of a reduced organ size or other anormalities from exposure to too much printing ink.

Dan said...

Managing the costs of doing business is part of business. As you say, you have to more than cover your costs to stay in business. If the Post minimizes their cost by using stock photography for marketing, why is that a problem? Surely it is less expensive than sending one of their own to do the job.

Most businesses today have to make a decision to either outsource or do work in house. Strategically it sometimes makes sense to do the work in house, even when it is more expensive (though almost never when it is as much as a hundred times as expensive), but that is not always the case. When the stock image gives you what you need and doesn't hurt your strategy, why not use the stock image?

Very confusing, this photography business concept.

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