Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Associated Press and the NFL

It's official. The NFL sent out a message to the 32 club owners' Public Relations Departments, announcing the change. A particularly interesting passage from the memo that went out reads:

In addition to covering every NFL game and numerous other NFL events, AP will provide the league and its 32 clubs with full use of all AP NFL photos for editorial, marketing, and charitable use free of charge. AP also will coordinate the annual team headshot process.

Clubs will need to credential AP in a manner similar to Getty in years past.

So, AP will be getting more, (and presumably better) credentials, no doubt. This will give them (potentially) better access and a leg up on competition with Reuters, Agence France Presse, and so on. But, at what price? How much editorial integrity will be sacrificed by the AP in exchange for this commercial deal?

As we noted previously (NFL and the Wayward Getty Images, 4/9/09) , the AP carried images of the NBA brawl, but Getty's site, which originally had similar coverage up, were instructed (asked?) to remove them by the NBA. How will the future "black eyes" on the NFL be covered by the (now supposedly?) independent press that is the AP? The next "Michael Vick incident"? Another "wardrobe malfunction?" And what will happen to the AP guarantees if the players get locked out in two years for contractual reasons?

There is a lot to ponder in this new deal, and I surely expect much more to come. The full memo is after the jump, less the redacted e-mails and names.
(Continued after the Jump)


TO: Club Public Relations Directors, Club Internet Directors


DATE: April 15, 2009

SUBJECT: NFL / Associated Press Agreement

We are pleased to report that the NFL has entered into an exclusive new commercial licensing agreement with The Associated Press for all NFL photos. Beginning this month and continuing through at least the 2011 season, AP will provide the services previously handled by Getty Images.

AP will serve as the NFL’s exclusive commercial photo distributor – the only entity authorized to sell NFL photos to NFL business partners and licensees. AP also will have the exclusive right to license NFL-owned historical photos for commercial use. AP is also willing to manage and license images owned by individual photographers, but it will be the decision of the individual photographer who owns the copyright on whether to work with AP. (AP will continue to license NFL editorial photos non-exclusively as it has in the past).

In addition to covering every NFL game and numerous other NFL events, AP will provide the league and its 32 clubs with full use of all AP NFL photos for editorial, marketing, and charitable use free of charge. AP also will coordinate the annual team headshot process.

Clubs will need to credential AP in a manner similar to Getty in years past. A recommendation with regard to specific numbers will be communicated in the months ahead.

The AP is one of the preeminent global news gathering organizations in the world and we believe that the services provided to clubs and the league will be outstanding. We appreciate the work that Getty did these last five seasons and we are confident that AP will service the clubs in a first-class manner going forward.

You will receive an e-mail shortly from AP with login information for its web site where you will be able to download photos. The e-mail will include instructions you can send to other members of your staff that also require access to AP’s web site.
We will follow up with Public Relations directors in the days ahead to provide additional information regarding specifications for headshots (the process will be similar to the one used in previous years).

To the extent that your team photographer is currently a Getty contributing photographer or if you receive questions from other contributing photographers, please have them contact XXXXX at AP ( for information about becoming an AP contributing photographer.

If you have any questions, please contact XXXXXXXX (PR), XXXXXXXX (Digital Media), or XXXXXX (AP –

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.


Anonymous said...


"It means we don’t pay newsmakers for interviews, to take their photographs or to film or record them."

"It means we avoid behavior or activities that create a conflict of interest and compromise our ability to report the news fairly and accurately, uninfluenced by any person or action."

That clears up the concerns about any possible problems ...

Anonymous said...

I've said this once and I'm going to say it again; photojournalism is dying.



Rebut me and tell me that I'm sore, that I'm afraid to change my ways, that this is the NEW photography business model.

Then kindly read: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS STATEMENT OF NEWS VALUES AND PRINCIPLES. Try not to laugh so hard that you vomit. They won't offer money for photos or news stories, but this "new business model" makes it OK to charge money to do photos for the same.

Oh how the rules have changed.

Soon I predict your news will be more reliable and uninfluenced coming from a tabloid.

Anonymous said...

Who moved my cheese...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Who moved my cheese...

I knew it would only be a matter of time before someone would respond with something like this.

No more like who moved my ethics. But some of you "newcomer PhotoJ'ers" are playing by a "new" set of rules.

Keep shooting for the low rates these news organizations pay you; looks like they're laughing to the bank.....and you're trying to figure out ways to pay your bills.

Anonymous said...


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Bwin said...

I love the NFL and this article is very interesting, thanks!

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