valkyrie_chan (valkyrie_chan) wrote in egl,

Lolita and the Media

So, I was reading this Lolita Charm post about handling the "paparazzi." The author does make some good points and brings up a great topic, but I do think lolitas in general are pretty clueless about handling the media and what their rights are.

I don't pretend to be an expert, but I am a newspaper journalist who has had instruction in communications law. Laws very by place and are changing all the time, but these are some basic guidelines for interacting with a journalist or photographer in the U.S. Trust me, it's not as scary or difficult as you think.

Why should I want to cooperate with the media?
Because the media are people just like anyone else and are only trying to perform their jobs. Because how lolitas present themselves to the media will greatly affect how lolitas are seen worldwide. Because who better than a lolita to express opinions on what the fashion is and what it means. Because I know you and I don't want to be represented by La Failmina.

A journalist wants to ask me some questions for a newspaper/magazine, and I really don't want to. What should I do?
Go ahead and politely refuse. If you're a private citizen, most journalists aren't going to push the issue. Don't give them your name, or they can print that you refused to comment. They probably won't, but they definitely could. If you're in any way worried about your safety should information about you be printed, let them know. No one wants anyone to be hurt.

How can I make sure the journalist is going to quote me correctly?
Ask the journalist for her name, her place of occupation, and a phone number/email address where you can reach her. Ask the journalist if the paper has a policy on verifying quotes, and if not, request an accuracy check. During the accuracy check, the reporter will call you and read the parts of the story that attribute ideas and quotes specifically to you. Don't ask for the entire story, you probably won't get it. Some newspapers refuse to verify quotes because people often try to reword their statements to sound better. Don't take that as a personal offense against you, and don't interpret that as harming the journalistic integrity of the paper. It's just a policy. If that's the case and you still want to do the interview, figure out the paper's policy on printing corrections, and if need be, call up with one.

This journalist didn't talk to me about lolita, but his story got it all wrong. What can I do?
Send an email to him, call the outlet, or write a letter to the editor. State your concerns plainly and inoffensively. We've all seen a lot of shitty stories about lolita. But the truth is, a story is only as good as its sources. And when a reporter is on a deadline and is writing a short piece on lolita, he's probably going to talk to the sources most available for him and easy to access. Not an excuse, but it's something to consider when talking to the reporter. Let the reporter know that you would gladly be a source for him in future articles, and if he's interested, let him know when major events are happening within your area. He may decide to do another story in the future, and when that happens, you'll be the person he comes to for a way into the community.

Some photographer is taking pictures of me, and I'm not cool with it. What should I do?
Most people will tell you to ask yourself if you're in a public space. I think it's more important to ask if the PHOTOGRAPHER is in a public space. A photographer can photograph you as long as they are on public property. Now, if you are in a public space and you're not comfortable with the photos, talk to the photographer. Ask them what their motives are and if they plan on distributing the photos. If you're really feeling uncomfortable, let them know that you'd prefer not having your photo taken. But legally, they are not obligated to follow your request.

What is a public space, anyway?
Crap, you've got me. The truth is, there's kind of a hazy line as to what constitutes private and public spaces. For sure, a public space is anywhere that is publicly owned and can be accessed by anyone. Streets, government buildings, and parks are all examples. Where it gets tricky are privately-owned establishments where you don't really have a reasonable expectation for privacy or in places where there is implied consent based on precedent. If you're in a private space and the photographer won't listen to you, contact security or the owner of the building. If the owners tell the photographer to stop, he has to stop. But from what I understand, the damage is done -- the photographer doesn't have to delete the photos.

What's my last line of defense if I don't want my photo in the media?
Well, you can't really help it if someone takes a photo of you and anonymously posts it on the Internet, but at least there's nothing that will connect your face with a name and address. But if a photojournalist wants to take your photo, public place or not, you can refuse to give your name. As a private citizen, it's unlikely that they will ever be able to find who you are to label the photo, and most publications will not print a photo where subjects are unidentified.

Here's some more information about photographer's rights:
The Photographer's Right
Legal Rights of Photogs

I hope that was some help to people and that it all wasn't just common sense things. If you're all shaking your heads and thinking, "Yeah, we know that, idiot," let me know and I'll delete. If you think I've got something wrong, please let me know. I am not a lawyer, I'm just going off what I learned and how journalists normally practice. >_<;;; If you have more questions, I'll try to answer them.
Tags: community: lolita in the media
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