Confusion prevailed following federal regulations announced last week that starting in November news photographers would be required to obtain permits, costing up to $1,500, to take photos or videos in federal wilderness areas, observes Grumpy Editor.
The Oregonian, Portland, got that information from U.S. Forest Service spokesman Larry Chambers, who added reporters or photographers who don't get permits could face fines up to $1,000.
Liz Close, the Forest Service’s acting wilderness director, told The Oregonian the move keeps wilderness areas from being exploited for commercial gain. “We have to follow the statutory requirements,” she said, pointing to the need to be in compliance with the Wilderness Act of 1964.
“It’s pretty clearly unconstitutional,” said Gregg Leslie, legal defense director, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Alexandria, Virginia, The Oregonian reported. “They would have to show an important need to justify these limits, and they just can’t.”
The policy, as announced, would also apply to documentary film crews, nonprofits and private citizens who might sell a photo or a video.
However, it would allow members of the press to shoot photos and videos during breaking news events, describing them as "an event or incident that arises suddenly, evolves quickly and rapidly ceases to be newsworthy."
Then on Friday, Tom Tidwell, Forest Service chief, in clarifying the sticky position to media, said, “If you’re there to gather news or take recreational photographs, no permit would be required.”
That undoubtedly brought a sigh of relief to editors of publications such as Sunset magazine which monthly includes color art of national parks and forests.
The October issue, for example, features illustrations of San Bernardino (Calif.) National Forest, Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, Yosemite National Park in California, Olympia National Park in Washington and Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.
IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE NEWS OUTLETS MISSED THESE…
Focusing on “hot stocks”? About 1,000 activists gathered in Manhattan’s financial district last week to chant: “We can’t take this climate heat; we’ve got to shut down Wall Street”…Then President Barack Obama, also in New York, speaking at the UN Climate Summit 2014, declared: “Alarm bells are ringing”…Also getting into the climate act (as the not-yet-designated Secretary of Climate) was Secretary of State John Kerry who warned climate change may be “the most serious challenge we face on the planet”…At the same time, the Los Angeles Times reported: “Naturally occurring changes in winds, not human-caused climate change, are responsible for most of the warming on land and in the sea along the West Coast of North America over the last century” based on a study by researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Washington…CNSNews.com noted Oct. 1 will mark the 18th year of “no significant warming trend in surface average temperature," according to Patrick Michaels, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for the Study of Science…The Journal of the American Medical Association also jumped into the climate act with a lengthy one paragraph shake-'em-up warning: “The adverse health aspects related to climate change may include heat-related disorders, such as heat stress and economic consequences of reduced work capacity; and respiratory disorders, including those exacerbated by fine particulate pollutants, such as asthma and allergic disorders; infectious diseases, including vectorborne diseases and water-borne diseases, such as childhood gastrointestinal diseases; food insecurity, including reduced crop yields and an increase in plant diseases; and mental health disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder and depression, that are associated with natural disasters”…It should be noted that a Gallup poll on “warming” five months ago found “most Americans continue to express low levels of concern about the phenomenon. A little more than a third say they worry ‘a great deal’ about climate change or about global warming, putting these concerns at the bottom of a list of eight environmental issues”…With U.S. military being scaled back, overlooked during the heavy news week but reported in the Washington Times: Russia plans to add 80 warships to its Black Sea fleet by 2020 and expects to complete construction on a new naval base near Novorossiysk by 2016...Leaving a country boosts a company's stock price? Announcement that Oakland, Calif.-based Clorox Co., maker of bleach and allied products, is exiting Venezuela hypoed its stock $6.66 to $97.23 last Monday…A two-thirds-page Toyota ad in The Wall Street Journal, designed to lure car buyers into showrooms, quoted Prius owners saying: “We went across the U.S. three times in our first Prius. The new one’s got a lot of adventure ahead of it”… Indication of things to come? The Federal Trade Commission sent Grumpy Editor a news release --- in Spanish.
Selected for “quote of the year” at Media Research Center's 2014 Gala featuring the DisHonors Awards was columnist Eleanor Clift for her insistence that U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was not murdered by terrorists at the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, but died as a result of smoke inhalation.