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The Pacific Newspaper Group is ordered to provide unpublished Stanley Cup riot photos to the Vancouver Police

The Pacific Newspaper Group reports on its website:

Last year, Pacific Newspaper Group (The Province and The Vancouver Sun) successfully fought a court order to surrender to the Vancouver Police Department all images and video produced by our respective newsrooms on the night of the Stanley Cup riot.

The VPD modified its original application to the court and a new order to surrender images and video was delivered late last year to both newsrooms.

Based on legal opinion, Pacific Newspaper Group will comply with the order and deliver the materials to the VPD by the Jan. 21 deadline.

As a result of this decision, The Vancouver Sun and The Province have decided to make all the images we intend to surrender to police available first to our readers. The following images and videos represent the entirety of materials we will deliver, through our lawyer, to the VPD.


Screensnap of the Vancouver Sun website

I remember a day, too long ago, when I was a young photographer at a small daily Wyoming newspaper. I was driving down the road when the police scanner in my jeep went off with a call for backup at a convenience store that was right around the corner. I quickly changed lanes and pulled into the store’s parking lot. I threw the vehicle in park, grabbed my camera and started making pictures. I was young and inexperienced. Nervous excitement got the best of me. My camera settings were all wrong as I made a few bad pictures of two police officers taking down a suspect.

The newspaper ended up not using the pictures, but the next day a police detective showed up in the newsroom asking for copies of the pictures. To my surprise, the managing editor ran the detective off and then sat me down to dispense a little newsroom learnin’. He explained that journalists are not an information gathering arm of law enforcement. He told me that the newspaper would have a very difficult time reporting on drug abuse, police corruption or anything else that might involve the police if we started handing over our unpublished photographs and interview notes to the police.

At the time I felt like I was in a difficult position. I understood the ideals my editor was talking about, but as a photojournalist I needed to have a working relationship with the police. I ran into them every day at crime scenes, traffic accidents, fires and even high school ball games. I also believe that there is a natural desire in law-abiding citizens to help the police.

However, I’ve come to understand much more deeply what my editor was getting at that day, and that knowledge makes what’s happening to the Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers so painful.