In an article last week, Wall Street Journal Reporter Sarah Ellison wrote a story about the impending launch of Shock magazine. Now you may have seen the discussion here and here about the premier issue using Michael Yon's award winning photo on their cover, without his permission.
Well I sent an email this afternoon to both Ms Ellison and the WSJ news editors. I personally think that it's a big deal when a big-time publisher, who "...usually turns out tamer titles such as Elle and Car & Driver...", steals from a well known war correspondent.
Will they agree and follow the story?
Updates: It's curious that the image of the cover doesn't appear on the SHOCK magazine subscription page, but it's still on their home page.
Update: I also dropped a note to Media Life Magazine, who also did a story on the launch too. Blackfive has a good discussion thread going involving people who are contacting Shock magazine to complain and others saying let Mr Yon deal with it, no dog in this fight. I agree that were I simply a "reader" or a fan of Mr. Yon, that there wouldn't be much cause to do more than be interested. But I, and many like me, are not simply readers and fans. We've answered Michael's call and clicked that Paypal button on his website. We've helped fund his reporting. Not indirectly by paying some publisher, but directly - with paypal cash to his account. We've gotten personal notes back from him thanking us for the support. This is new media. There is a connection more personal than the conventional one of a great writer pulling his reader's heart string. So what's my dog in this fight? Mr. Yon has been a voice of truth - telling stories that big media won't tell. So when big media, through willful negligence, arrogance, or simple incompetence exploits him, and takes his stuff, stuff his readers supported his efforts to get, his readers understandably get upset. It feels like it touches us personally.
Now, to rise above the fray for a second...I haven't contacted Shock magazine, but like I said above, I contacted some other media outlets. I think this is a great story. Conflict mainstream media with new media and a publication that trying to bridge the gap... how will SHOCK magazine, who seems to solicit and pull images from the anonymous internet, protect copyright? How do they know that the person who submits the image owns it?
A last word. Don't think for a moment that I've forgotten about the real people, sorrow, tragedy, and pain captured in the image.
Update: 6/1/2006 Cool. Media life magazine did run with the story. Well written at that. Wonder if it was my tip that started them on it? Don't know, they didn't respond to my email. On the other hand, I did get a note from the WSJ reporter wanting to know if I had tipped anyone else. I told her I had. Haven't seen a story from them yet. I did see CNN's Jeane Moos do a story about SHOCK over the weekend. She mentioned the cover photo kerfluffle. My word. Not hers.