Saturday, July 14, 2007

No pay, no play

It's one of the elements of my job that I go to big events that people like to watch on TV. The problem with that is that there is ususally a large TV network that has paid lots of money to the what is called "rights holding broadcaster" for these things.

Like the Pan Am Games in Rio.

The host broadcaster here is a group called International Sports Broadcasting. They own this place as far as TV rights are concerned. And if you don't pay for the rights, you get what is called an "ENR" credential - Electronic Non-Rights holder. As one of this breed of journalist you can do nothing at Games like these except be a spectator or try to work your way around the restrictions to get what you need. It is frustrating for someone who reports for a living.

Part of my job is interviewing people and preparing audio reports for radio broadcast and Internet. But without being able to take my recorder and microphone into the venue, which I can't here, then all I can do is talk to the athletes and write notes like a newspaper reporter. It's still reporting, but the nature of broadcasting is that people don't want to hear the reporter talk, they want to hear the prinicpals, the people involved.

But without the rights, I can't deliver that product. My boss told me to act like my recorder was a personal music player or to say I had come from somewhere else and had no place to put the recorder. There's only one problem - THAT'S A LIE.

And if I did that, I am in effect stealing from the hsot broadcaster and defrauding the people who gave me the credential. It reminds me of something that someone once said when his boss told him to say he was not there when someone called -- "if I can lie for you, I can lie to you." His boss was pissed, but he later learned to trust this guy because of his integrity. I would rather have integrity than an interview.

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