(Photo by Trent Nelson- Me staying in the camera, left, capturing a widely published moment while another “photographer” with a press pass cheers during the play … not getting the photo. )
(n) one who hangs around with professional athletes or jocks in general, thinking this will make them higher on the social food chain … – Urbandictionary.com
Jock Sniffer is a term I learned in the media photo room of a professional sports team. It is used to describe those photogs that come to games to occupy space on the sidelines but are doing little more than cheering for their chosen team.
I bring this up because college sports is about to start for many of us and by the end of last year’s sport season there were several “photogs” I was uncomfortable working next to.
If you are going to be coming to games and carrying cameras, be professional and objective with your coverage and the way you conduct yourself.
If you are going to sit there and cheer … please go sit in the stands. You will have a better view of the game as a whole and it will free up space for many of us actually working.
Unless you specifically work for the team or college please don’t wear the team’s gear. If you are there working for the student paper, you really shouldn’t be wearing the team’s gear. As photojournalist, you are not part of the team.
I even try not wear colors associated with the teams. Black or grey usually works for me.
You are there as an objective observer documenting what is taking place you should present yourself one.
You will be very hard pressed to find any of us professional journalist sporting team gear.
Don’t get me wrong, when I am fan I go nuts. When I am not working I try to get front row seats to Real Salt Lake soccer games and I wear the team’s jerseys, drink a ton of beer, stumble over small children and heckle the opposing team and referees as much as possible. When I am on the sidelines working, I am working and not missing a pic because I was cheering my team. And I left all the team gear at home.
If you think this is harsh, try to think of it this way; many of us have a financial stake associated with our local teams performing well. If the team is performing well and making waves, that leads to more assignments, greater distribution of our photos and if they make the playoffs of any kind, that also translates into more income for us. So even with that, you will not see the professionals cheering or booing in anyway.
Remember, because we are professionals, we have the opportunity to be on the field and many are envious of us. Don’t ruin this experience or future opportunities by forgetting to do your job and not conducting yourself as the professional journalist you want to be.