A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE – Oct. 17 — No picture = 1,000 words needed

School officials report a new permission slip authorizing publication of student's pictures has made parents wary of signing.

The picture on page one this week has a bit of a story behind it.

I received an invitation to attend the 26th annual BCSS turkey lunch last week.

That’s the kind of assignment that a reporter appreciates getting!

Meanwhile, a new school photo permission slip came out at the beginning of the school year. Some have said it was so filled with legal language that it gave many parents reason to think seriously about what they were being asked to sign.

In previous years the schools had sent home a form that gave parents the option of signing if they didn’t want their children’s photos published by the media.

There are good reasons why some people would not want their photo published; and the student and their parent should definitely have the final say in publication of their photos and it is understandable that the once-a-year permission form probably needed reconsideration.

But it may be that so many parents have withheld permission this year that pictures of school events are going to become a rarity.

This year we’ve been told that the office must clear all pictures before publication to make sure that the parents have signed a slip giving permission for publication.

Back to the turkey dinner.

I had two reasons to be there – turkey dinner, of course, and to get a picture for the paper. After all—they had cooked eight turkeys—that’s newsworthy in itself.

I was hustled to the front of the line by the principal. But before grabbing a plate, while my hands were still free, I snapped a few pictures.

I was trying to make sure I got at least one picture without any students though—just in case the picture had a student without a permission slip on file.

It turns out the best picture had a couple of students standing in the background and they were still recognizable. When I sent it in, the office turned down my request to publish it.

So what wound up on page one was heavily-cropped picture that managed to comply with the new rules.

I’m not sure where all this is going to wind up, especially in this modern era of social networking and the Internet.

Since the Times has join the Black Press stable it means we are able to do more than we could before—including publication of the paper online.

So permission to publish someone’s picture has become more complicated.

If someone wants to share one of our online articles it is as easy as a couple of clicks with your mouse and that article is now visible on a Facebook page or referenced in a twitter feed.

So control of what happens to an image is moving far beyond a simple understanding between photographer and subject.

Without some sanctioned process to ensure permission has been given it might well mean no Christmas concert photos this year and school awards ceremonies will become nothing but lists of names.

Not only will the quality of this paper suffer as a community paper—but the family scrapbooks will be the poorer as well.

I still have a newspaper article from the 1950s that shows two skinny kids standing in front of a lakeside sign that cautioned swimmers to use the buddy system when in the water. The reason I still have that clipping is because I was one of those boys.

A revised permission form may soon be available and hopefully parents will continue to permit their children’s pictures to be published.

Time will tell.


Just Posted

Needles killer frightened many in our town: BC author

Roy Bugera disrupted life in a quiet Vancouver Island village before moving to Arrow Lakes

Video: MP hears pot, pipeline and politics concerns

South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP hosts town hall forum in Penticton

Health Minister says coming changes will make difference in rural communities.

“As a government, Premier Horgan is committed to improving the ambulance service.”

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most people in B.C. too ‘lazy,’ ‘apathetic’ to prepare for disasters: poll

Less than half of those surveyed aren’t insured for earthquakes and wildfires

Chris Hemsworth goes surfing in Tofino

The Australian actor donned a full body wetsuit to catch some waves on Vancouver Island this weekend

B.C. hospitals receive boost for dental surgery

Disabled people needing general anesthetic wait too long, Adrian Dix says

BCHL Today: Wenatchee Wild on the ropes and Smoke Eaters reeling

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

A frustrated Trump lashes out at special counsel Mueller

In a series of weekend tweets naming Mueller for the first time, Trump criticized the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election

B.C. teachers’ union to ask for higher salaries to help with shortages

B.C. starting teacher salaries are $10,000 to $15,000 lower than Ontario or Alberta says B.C. Teachers’ Federation president.

Few political staffers on Parliament Hill report sexual misconduct: survey

Sixty-five of the 266 survey respondents said they had personally experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment.

Most Read