Statement on photojournalist impostor

The Wisconsin News Photographers Association is troubled to hear reports from southern Wisconsin media outlets and law enforcement agencies of an alleged “photojournalist impostor” in the high school communities of Cedarburg, Hartland-Arrowhead, Kewaskum, Pius, Verona and Whitefish Bay. Reports suggest that a man falsely claiming to be a reporter or photojournalist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper has made phone calls to teenage girls in these communities attempting to arrange photo shoots. Reports at this time do not appear to suggest the alleged impostor has made any attempts in-person to contact or photograph the girls.

Suspicious activities such as these have the potential to erode the public’s trust in the dozens of upstanding, professional photojournalists in Wisconsin who work every day to help report news in our communities. We join parents and law enforcement in their deep concern for the well-being of these young people and we will be glad to cooperate – if asked – in helping bring a swift end to this very concerning situation.

While we urge the public to be vigilant, and to report suspicious activities to authorities, we also urge them to be sensible in their suspicions. It is very common – and lawful – for people to take pictures or video of others in public. Most reporters and photographers for news organizations are issued photo identification by their employers. We recommend that journalists wear these credentials regularly (or be able to produce them) when they are interacting with the public. We also believe that it is best if journalists contact minors through their athletic directors, parents or legal guardians first, via a phone number or email address from the news organization’s offices.

 

Issued 11/14/2012 10:45 p.m. CT
Michael P. King; Secretary
Wisconsin News Photographers Association

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