I understand his grief. I share it too. I just have one tiny dispute about his comment about citizen journalism.
The television stations and newspapers that publish CJ content and videos do so often without attribution or compensation. As much as bloggers as accused of stealing content, I can point to a number of examples of broadcast and cable stations willfully snatching user content. Many news stations will run to YouTube, snatch, grab, upload and not blink an eye about ethical best practices or notify the user that they have done so.
The second version of this type of activity that I need to call bullshit on is that some media outlets will invite viewers to upload breaking news photos and videos. The license agreement, sometimes in three point type and other times more prominent on the Upload page, the user signs away most or all rights to the photos and videos as well as any financial compensation:
In this example obtained from ABC 7 in Los Angeles, the user does have the right to redistribute their work but will receive no compensation from ABC for anything uploaded to the website.
I'm not sure but I think they mean the Licensor will not receive compensation.
The following shall constitute the Agreement made between the below named ("Licensor") and American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., located at 77 West 66th Street, New York, NY 10023 ("Licensee").
1. Licensor hereby grants to Licensee a non-exclusive license to use still pictures and digital video files and such other materials as may be submitted by Licensee hereunder (collectively, "the Footage"). Licensor hereby grants to Licensee the right to include the Footage (as provided by Licensee and/or as edited by Licensor) as well as the name of the Licensor (and copyright owner, if different than Licensor) in all programming and on the websites produced by Licensee, ABC News, its affiliates and other entities licensed to distribute ABC News programming worldwide in all media now known and hereafter conceived or created, including, without limitation, home video and Internet, and on-air promotion and advertising relating thereto, in perpetuity. Licensee acknowledges that it will receive no compensation for the rights herein.
In Defense of Citizen Journalism
Citizen journalism became possible because the mainstream media total ignored the local communities. They had no interest in the diversity of populations requiring news content relevant to their lives and living situations.
Newspapers tried to emulate television who tried to emulate magazines who tried to emulate television. They all have gone stone crazy trying to now emulate social media.
Hint. Most of them suck at it.
Citizen journalism photography and video has become a self-defense mechanism for many people. I point to the Oakland murder of Oscar Grant.
When you see someone get shot in the head and you have a recording to prove that the officer and the police department are not being truthful that is power.
When other journalistic entities fail to do basic research and accept the word of the police department yet you have a photo or video proving otherwise it is mighty hard to brush off a community's concerns about justice and accountability.
So, be angry at the mega-broadcast corporations not the person covering their city council meeting, recording environmental waste running down the street or who post a video that shows a skateboarder being whacked upside the head by a rouge cop.
Not Quite Ready to Nail The Coffin
I do think there are new options for photojournalism. They may or may not be connected to newspapers. You might have to create your own product and find others who want to pay for usage, such as a promotion for public service, for educational or textbook content or other types of reportage.
Photojournalists might have to create their own magazine application for media devices and be paid directly by users. I don't know.
This thing is still evolving. Changing.
I will not hold my breath waiting for the vast majority news media to get their act together. What has happened in the "news business" the last five months is cringe inducing.
The news media have lost their damn minds. They have fired or laid off anybody who could tell them to verify before you print or hit the send button.
So yes, it will get better. But it will be different. What Neil and I knew as photojournalism is gone. My hope that it will be reborn in multiple forms and disciplines.