I was on a walk with my one year old when a passerby told me about the Mississippi River bridge collapse. First thought: call my wife. Second thought: should I go make pictures? TV helicopters were already hovering, news photographers were on the scene and hundreds of citizens were snapping away with cellphone cameras. What could I add? First thought: I could make myself look like a Serious Photographer. Second thought: I could make money for Magnum.
I didn’t take pictures. But Zuma Press was on the scene. In an excellent blog post, PDN describes their press release:
When a news story breaks somewhere where cameras are present, we can usually anticipate the emailed press release we’ll receive a few hours later from Zuma Press, announcing that they have photos of the event—often through a licensing deal the agency signed with the newspaper closest to the scene. Even if the announcements reach us hours after the photos have been moved, they’re written in a tone of salivating excitement. And sometimes that’s, well, unseemly.
Here’s their announcement about yesterday’s tragic bridge collapse in Minneapolis. Note the punctuation:
EXCLUSIVE IMAGE! Freeway bridge collapses into Mississippi River during rush hour in Minneapolis, with at least six people are dead, dozens more are injured, some critically. The Interstate 35 bridge, under repair between St. Paul and Minneapolis, breaks into several huge sections and falls into the water with vehicles. An estimated 50 vehicles plunged into the water and onto the land below.RESTRICTIONS: USA Tabloid RIGHTS OUT! Mags and TV Call 949.481.3747 For Price !!
A total of five exclamation points. People died, many are injured. Doesn’t decorum demand a two-exclamation-point limit?