by Max Brantley
From jimRomensko.com, a media website, a report on unhappy former Miami Herald employees who found photographs taken for their newspaper press passes for sale on eBay.
Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher wrote to Romenesko:
Now that I see mine, it’s both a kick to see them and a bit of an outrage that the company we entrusted with our images has just dumped everything into the hands of some eBay merchant. I have concluded that images of my former self aren’t worth $32.88, so when the sale expires in a few hours, I assume the pix will vanish into the same giant dumpster that now contains the rest of the glories of One Herald Plaza.
I feel their pain. But, absent an explicit agreement (the exceptions generally pertaining to work of photographers, not of their subjects), material produced for newspapers is the property of the newspapers. I suspect, for example, that the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has a trove of personal material — from photos to personnel files — on former employees. I doubt the publisher would turn them over to me or anyone else who went knocking on his door to ask for him to turn them over. Certainly not if he'd already sold them to John Rogers.
I don't know, either, who'd pay $32.88 for a press hack's photo (some of the Miami shots are selling for as little as $11), but I guess you never know. It's working out OK, however, for Rogers, featured in a cover story here a while back.