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MarkK

Live News Photos only for UK/Europe??

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Posted (edited)

This past weekend I had two rounds of Live News Photos rejected on the grounds they were "not what they were looking for". Here is the email sent for both sets of Live News Photos:

 

Hi Mark

Sorry we’ve deleted your image(s) from the News Feed as it's not what we're looking for. For more info on what to submit to Live News see our news guidelines. If you want to resubmit these images then please read the guidelines for stock before uploading as stock.

If you have any questions please drop us a line at news@alamy.com

Alamy News Team
news@alamy.com

 

So, the first set was of the 39th St. Patrick's Day Race that aids the homeless in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, USA.  The race has thousands of participants dressed mostly in green for the holiday making their way through the scenic parts of the city.  ALAMY live news stated it is not what they are looking for.  This was only after I saw they were online for sale then with an error message the next morning.  So let me get this straight.....a major event (Cleveland is known as one of the largest St. Patrick's Day multi-day celebrations in the US) in a major city in Ohio (yes its relative) is not "what they are looking for".  Is that because they would rather have photos of UK weather? Nothing against weather pics but I have also submitted them for Cleveland and the same response.  THEN the major St. Patrick's Day parade in Cleveland on Sunday with upwards of 500,000 filling the streets I decided I would test the Live News System and only submit one pic this time.  Guess what.....today I woke to see it was an error because "It's not what we're looking for".

 

It is very concerning that those making the decisions as to "what they are looking for" are viewing it through the eyes of the UK/Europe.  I cannot fathom, other than having a purely UK/Europe-centric worldview, why weather photos, photos of major events, etc. are alway rejected by the Live News because its not what they are looking for.  They are fine with weather photos from the UK but not from the US.  They are fine with event photos from the UK but not from the US.

 

Then they have the gall to write " please read the guidelines for stock before uploading as stock.".  I have read them and nowhere do I see the photos must only be of UK or Europe events/weather.

 

Alamy, if you tell me to read the guildeines for stock before uploading as stock then somewhere in those guidelines you need to state that you need to state the geographical boundaries that match the reviewers interest area so that I, or others, don't spend a LOT of time covering events in areas that don't interest you.  Again, for perspective, the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Cleveland, Ohio drew upwards of 500,000 in the 177th Annual Parade and city-wide celebration.  What criteria do you we need to meet to have the photos be of interest? Please clarify as I am sure other photographers outside the UK/Europe would like to understand how/if we can meet the "Interest" of the Alamy Live News reviers if the event is outside their worldview.

 

Many papers in the US, as well as around the world, use stringers thus the events I cover may not be of interest to you but they may be of interest to editors who want to use them in the US or elsewhere.  I am confused as to how Alamy can keep rejecting Live News events while simultaneously constantly accepting many mundane non-event photos in the UK.  Some transparency as to the worldviews of those deciding what to accept and what not to accept would be appreciated and should be in the 'guidelines for stock' which you richly pointed me towards in regards to the rejection of Live News photos. 

Edited by MarkK
took out some of the emotion

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12 hours ago, LawrensonPhoto said:

A generic email sent out when you have (usually) incorrectly captioned your images

Any images removed would generally be because:

 

Non news or not clear enough (too dark)

Incorrect date in IPTC

Incorrect headline in IPTC

Incorrect caption in IPTC

 

An email to the news desk maybe next time?

 

I agree with your comments. Alamy do send out a generic emails, I had one recently. I knew the image was a good example of news, post processing was good, I'm generally very particular. I then looked at the IPTC data, and was surprised there was none. This was in a batch of images uploaded soon after the event from a nearby carpark, of a Canterbury XR funeral march and road block. It had been missed when applying IPTC via PM. I simply applied IPTC and uploaded later with a second batch, no problems. 

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On 18/03/2019 at 22:13, MarkK said:

If you have any questions please drop us a line at news@alamy.com

 

Did you do this? In my experience they are quite friendly and although they might not reply immediately if busy, will usually reply.

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I ask this in a genuine spirit of enquiry, do the newspapers and other media in the US have a demand for pictures illustrating the weather, other that extreme weather events? UK newspapers have an insatiable daily appetite for run-of-the-mill pictures they can use to illustrate a line or two about what the weather has been today or what it will be tomorrow. This is in line with the slightly eccentric and well-publicised British obsession with the weather. Is it the same in the US? If it is the same, do the US media ever turn to Alamy as a source of images, or do they have their own well-established sources?

 

As for the other Live News pictures, I know that the Live News desk sometimes get it wrong - they certainly have with me as I have had similar rejections. They are usually responsive if you email contributor relations with a query on the matter. However, without seeing any of the photos, it isn't really possible for fellow contributors to make a judgement on their newsworthiness, and this forum is more about what your fellow contributors can offer than a way of contacting Alamy themsleves - though they do lurk around the forum, particularly during British office hours. On the face of things, your pictures sound newsworthy but It isn't possible to say for sure, sight unseen.

 

Alamy is UK centric but has a massive world-wide library and sales, including the US. I don't know to what extent they have managed to penetrate the US news markets, but they will need contributors like yourself if they are to do so.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Joseph Clemson said:

I ask this in a genuine spirit of enquiry, do the newspapers and other media in the US have a demand for pictures illustrating the weather, other that extreme weather events? UK newspapers have an insatiable daily appetite for run-of-the-mill pictures they can use to illustrate a line or two about what the weather has been today or what it will be tomorrow. This is in line with the slightly eccentric and well-publicised British obsession with the weather. Is it the same in the US? If it is the same, do the US media ever turn to Alamy as a source of images, or do they have their own well-established sources?

 

As for the other Live News pictures, I know that the Live News desk sometimes get it wrong - they certainly have with me as I have had similar rejections. They are usually responsive if you email contributor relations with a query on the matter. However, without seeing any of the photos, it isn't really possible for fellow contributors to make a judgement on their newsworthiness, and this forum is more about what your fellow contributors can offer than a way of contacting Alamy themsleves - though they do lurk around the forum, particularly during British office hours. On the face of things, your pictures sound newsworthy but It isn't possible to say for sure, sight unseen.

 

Alamy is UK centric but has a massive world-wide library and sales, including the US. I don't know to what extent they have managed to penetrate the US news markets, but they will need contributors like yourself if they are to do so.

Clemson,

 

Thanks for the reply (ironically my alma mater is Clemson University : )

 

As for the photos, I am not sure about the demand for weather photos here in the US as I usually don't submit them but as I live in a region where the weather is tumultuous and destructive at times (think blizzards, flooding) I am sure they would be of interest.  As for weather in general, I need to pay more attention as I cannot answer that.  With so many news outlets from print to the internet to tv, there is likely a demand for the photos but where they procure them from I am unsure. I personally love seeing weather photos but that interest spans the globe and weather events from every continent and if Alamy is really branching out then I would assume photos of weather should be of interest from 195 countries and not based on the reviewers self interest.....same with events from around the world. 

 

You brought up one of the main points I am trying to make.  You stated quite well "UK newspapers have an insatiable daily appetite for run-of-the-mill pictures they can use to illustrate a line or two about what the weather has been today or what it will be tomorrow".  So if Alamy was based in the US and the US didn't see the cultural signifance and rejected photos out of non-interest do you see how that would be operating from a very myopic US-centric point-of-view? Just because outlets in the US may not have an interest in the weather as much it doesn't mean that the photos should be removed as they likely would be of interest to outlets in the UK as well as other places around the world. 

 

I was just trying to make a point of how the review process on what constitutes interest and what doesn't should be from a global worldview even if Alamy is UK based.  I have lived around the world and in my worldview news is everywhere and just because it may not be of interest to or directly impact someone in the UK doesn't mean it isn't of interest to others elsewhere.  I am concerned that not once but twice over the weekend the notice came and that is considering I rarely submit Live News.  If Alamy is going to determine CONTENT is not of interest to THEM (whoever they may be), then that is of concern.  As many of us here experienced, some of our photos sell which we ourselves could not believe someone would want a photo of said item/event.  That is the beauty of Alamy and why is Live News any different. 

 

As for the US, yes, I know that they have opened an office in the US but like you I have no idea how much they have penetrated the markets here.  I will try to add some of the photos here later (I always have a hard time doing that on the forum for some reason....the photos aren't connected to an URL nor are they part of an existing attachment....my two choices here) but as indicated, it wasnt the technicality of the photos per se but rather the content they had no interest in....twice.   It takes a lot of effort to contribute in a timely fashion to Live News so after this weekend I cannot foresee my putting in the effort at least for Alamy Live News.

 

Edited by MarkK
note on culture

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MarkK I'm surprised that you got that response from the alamy live news team.  The race seems like a newsworthy subject to me.  I have submitted photos of local events from here in Vancouver, Canada,  to live news,  usually with no problem.  I think it's worth making another inquiry into their decision.

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30 minutes ago, MariaJ said:

MarkK I'm surprised that you got that response from the alamy live news team.  The race seems like a newsworthy subject to me.  I have submitted photos of local events from here in Vancouver, Canada,  to live news,  usually with no problem.  I think it's worth making another inquiry into their decision.

 

My Vancouver "Live News" event images always get accepted as well. Mind you, they never license until long after the fact (as general stock).

 

Cleveland sound as newsworthy as anywhere else to me.

 

 

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10 hours ago, MarkK said:

Sorry we’ve deleted your image(s) from the News Feed as it's not what we're looking for. For more info on what to submit to Live News see our news guidelines. If you want to resubmit these images then please read the guidelines for stock before uploading as stock.

A generic email sent out when you have (usually) incorrectly captioned your images

Any images removed would generally be because:

 

Non news or not clear enough (too dark)

Incorrect date in IPTC

Incorrect headline in IPTC

Incorrect caption in IPTC

 

An email to the news desk maybe next time?

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I have submitted various events to alamy live news, and have always been accepted. The one rejection was one time when the incorrect date  was in the IPTC . 

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It's always a good idea to email them a few days ahead of any events so that they know you will be covering it.

Also send an email to them once you have uploaded images.

 

Saying that, I had some images rejected and moved onto reportage through a newsdesk mistake, but I don't want to go into it.

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I'm surprised at the response you received.

 

I've been with Live News since they started in 2010 and like you I am in the US. Here's my experience, which should explain my surprise:

 

Although Alamy has never licensed an image as breaking news, many have been licensed subsequently, including years after the fact.

 

Some of my images were certainly news that might appeal to a wide audience - e.g. political figures such as Bill and Hillary Clinton  - I live in the same home town they do in the NY suburbs, so even our local Memorial Day Parade has been news when they were marching while in office and during the campaign, the NYC Marathon, Hurricane Sandy, and some major snowstorms

 - but many were local and some were unlikely to appeal to papers in the UK. I have covered the Parade of Sail in New London, CT for the 2012 bicentennial of the War of 1812 and a few local Fourth of July small town parades in Connecticut (and in both cases being on the wrong side of the pond in more ways than one has not kept Live News from accepting those images). I've also sent along photos of people milling about close to your neck of the woods in the Columbus, OH airport when summer flights were cancelled due to thunderstorms, and lots of suburban weather shots across the US, including one of boats in the harbor in CT that was just licensed to an Albany NY paper years later (thanks to Lisa for finding it in the "Have you found Any Alamy Images March 2019?" thread). I've done a lot of snow and sunset weather shots, and people at various beaches (including lakes in Upstate NY even I never heard of) and many have often sold after the fact. The only time I got a rejection was when I used a filter on a Live News photo uploaded via S, and they took everything else in the bunch, and sent me a message explaining filters were not allowed for any news photos, even via S. (I upload via regular Alamy Live News as well as via the S app, depending upon whether I use a regular camera or my iPhone).

 

The Live News folks have always been very helpful. One time while in Baltimore, MD, a bunch of my images were uploaded without any caption info showing (some glitch I believe) and the news desk called me. I was back out shooting by then and they took dictation of a headline and fixed all the photos for me. Another time I took shots of boats in the harbor in suburban Mamaroneck, NY and realized I misnamed the park and they corrected the headlines for me when I emailed them. And they helped me get press passes a few times (including that War of 1812 Bicentennial). The latest of these was this past November, so it's not as if the policy has changed over the years (other than 24 hrs to upload rather than the old 48).

 

All of the occasions you mention sound as though they should have been accepted as Live News and I'm at a loss to explain the response you received. I have been  told that they send the photos to various US news desks. It could be that someone new made a mistake. With another agency I once received a response that did not seem right so I wrote again, explaining my surprise and received an apology and an answer in line with my expectations, as well as an explanation that the initial response came from someone new on the job.  So, I'd email explaining your surprise and dismay and ask for a more detailed explanation from one of the supervising editors. 

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Posted (edited)

I just saw that 11 of your photos are in Live News, so perhaps they edited down the number you sent? They told me that 10 images was usually a good number when I asked recently, and perhaps that explains the response. Live News is the one place where they do edit what goes on the site. I've uploaded and had many more accepted at times, but I think 10 is a good rule of thumb, with a few more if you have a lot of variety. 

 

The time difference works against us here in the US as far as News is concerned, which is why I sometimes use my iPhone for the quick upload, but I'd suggest that you contact local media when you know that you're shooting an event. I've licensed breaking news that way and given what you shoot, you probably have too. Sometimes your photos are better than what their regular stringers or staffers might shoot and a good editor will often pay for the better image to help get eyes on the story. 

Edited by Marianne

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Have you read their Live News submission guides?   Suffice to say the examples used are of a non-UK, non-Europe situation which I think answers your question of whether the news is limited to UK/Europe happenings.

The rules for Live news are quite different and rather specific - it is easy to screw up the captioning/headlining.  I had to go through the guides multiple times before I understood what it was they were after.  

Here is the link - start at section one and work right through to the last section and hopefully you can work out what wrong https://www.alamy.com/contributor/how-to-sell-news-images/best-place-to-sell-live-news-images/?section=1

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I uploaded a series of photos for Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama, and they accepted all but one, which was a tighter shot of a girl reaching for Mardi Gras beads. I got the same email you did. My guess at the time was that they rejected her photo because she was the only person in the photo, and I neglected to get her name, which wouldn't have mattered for stock but did matter for a news feature photo. I've had other photos accepted for news without names, so my hunch could be wrong. 

 

That being said, I echo Joseph's questions about U.S. weather photos and "run of the mill" daily shots. As a former editor, the bane of my existence sometimes was trying to find a colorful front page photo on a "slow news day." 

 

 

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I've had the same message a few times. It's always been when I've accidentally tried uploading photos that were more than 48 hours old - either because I'd been using external upload software and forgot to set it to stock (when I had previously been uploading news), or because I was just a bit slow, and thought I was within the 48 hour limit, but had actually just missed it. Other than that, I think filling in all the IPTC data is very important in the 'file info' section, with your name, keywords, captions etc. If you don't put enough keywords into the file info, that could stop it from being accepted. The wording is just standard on all their rejects. It sounds like the event was very newsworthy, so assuming you uploaded quickly, I'd have a look at whether your IPTC data is comprehensive enough. Good luck with your future submissions! By the way, I've just been knocked off Live News - I guess they didn't think that much of my UK Weather submissions. I now have to apply to be a Live News contributor, and so far, my application submitted about a week ago, has not been responded to. On social media, they've been encouraging weather pictures, saying "weather is always in the news - post your weather pictures". I guess they're having a rethink!

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