To Our Readers
Lack of LPGA coverage was painful but necessary
We apologize to readers who were disappointed that we did not have stories and photos about the Fields Open Thursday and yesterday. But we believe the short-term inconvenience was better than what would have been the alternative -- long-term pain.
As tournament activities began last week, journalists receiving credentials had to sign a form. While most regulations on the form were standard, some new restrictions troubled us, as well as the Associated Press and other news organizations.
For example, under "Use of Photographs" were these provisions (their capital letters):
"ALL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT LPGA EVENTS ARE TO BE USED SOLELY BY THE SPECIFIC NEWS MEDIA OUTLET FOR WHICH THE CREDENTIAL HAS BEEN ISSUED AND FOR NO PURPOSE OTHER THAN THE NEWS COVERAGE FOR THE PARTICULAR LPGA EVENT AT WHICH THE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE TAKEN."
In other words, we would not be able to use our own photos taken at this tournament at any time other than when we wrote about this tournament, unless we had written approval from the LPGA.
Furthermore, in exchange for the credential, "the LPGA shall have an unlimited, perpetual, nonexclusive right to use ... photographs taken at LPGA events for the noncommercial promotion of the LPGA and LPGA events, at no additional expense, in any form worldwide."
In other words, the LPGA would get to use our photos forever, at no charge.
Similar restrictions would have been placed on stories we wrote about the tournament, with the result being that the LPGA would have more control than we would over our photos and stories.
If that had come to pass, a terrible precedent would have been set, and it would have been difficult to stop other organizations -- sports and maybe nonsports -- from making similar demands.
We also did not want to set an unacceptable precedent for the newspaper industry. This was the first LPGA tournament where these restrictions were demanded and, if we had accepted them, it would have made it easier for the LPGA to force them on other newspapers.
Opening the door to allow outsiders, with their own agendas, to determine what can and cannot go into our news report is unacceptable. To do the best job for our readers, we need to be able to use our own stories and photos whenever we want, any way we want.
The agreement announced yesterday by the AP, which led the charge on this issue on behalf of its media partners, and the LPGA contained a key sentence that the LPGA said would be included in future credential regulations:
"Notwithstanding any other provisions of the LPGA Photographer and Journalist Media Credential Regulations, media outlets may make unrestricted editorial use of any images or articles they create pursuant to their access to any LPGA event."
So although we -- and you -- had to go two days without stories, that statement should ensure that you will receive the information you need and deserve for the long term.
is editor of the Star-Bulletin. Call him at 529-4791. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or write to 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813.