WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Restricting Reporters' Coverage of Concerts

Dec 1, 2015

In an article on its website, RTDNA said it and several other journalism organizations have written an open letter to musicians, calling on them to loosen restrictions on news photographers at concerts.

The groups said many contracts are onerous and severely limit photography at events.

Shop Talk panelist Jonathan Ahl sided with musicians, saying they should have the right to control the product they create.  He said some people shoot photos under the guise of journalism, then turn around and sell the images.

Ahl said he’s encouraged RTDNA and other media groups are reaching out to work with artists to resolve the issue.  He said in the meantime, journalists who don’t like the rules should stop covering the events.

Panelist Jasmine Crighton believes journalists have a right to take photos that accurately reflect what happened during a performance. She said journalists were allowed to do their jobs during a Farm Aid concert she covered several years ago. She said the major stipulations at that show dealt with the amount of video and/or audio that could be recorded.

Panelist Rich Egger said the demands from artists sound a lot like the restrictions the White House imposed on photojournalists.  He said the White House rules are wrong and so are restrictions imposed by musicians. 

Egger also thinks it should be a simple matter to contractually bar journalists from selling concert photos.  He said photojournalists should cover events in the name of journalism, not profit.