(UNDATED) A television news "holiday" is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary, much to the delight of hungry photographers everywhere.
"Take a photog to lunch week" has taken on a life of its own since its inception in the late 1980's. Originally conceived by a reporter who wanted to bribe a photog to edit her resume tape, the week is now highlighted on calendars in photog lounges all over the country.
"It doesn't cost a lot, but it means so much to a photog," said John Shooter, President of the National Society for the Prevention of Blue Video, better known as NSPBV. "A little appreciation goes a long way with this group. Any reporter smart enough to buy lunch for a photog will come back to the station with some world class stuff. And if you spring for dinner after hours, you'll think you were shooting with Steven Spielberg."
The organization has also issued a list of suggested restaurants for the event, none of which have drive-thru windows.
Reporter Jim Goodhair bought lunch for a few photogs last year, and was amazed at the results. "By the end of the week my work had taken a huge leap. You should have seen these guys; they set up umbrella lighting on every story, reflectors, fog machines, you name it. One rode the mast on the live truck to give me some aerial b-roll. At the end of the week I had a new resume tape and jumped from market 210 directly to the network. All for the price of a few Chinese buffets."
Most photogs admit this event highlights the "it's the thought that counts" concept. "I nearly impaled myself with the legs of my tripod when my reporter picked up the check," recalls photog Ray Cathode. "If I'd known in advance I would have ordered dessert. But seriously, I really go the extra mile for that reporter to this day."
News Directors, Assignment Editors and Producers have always frowned on the event, however. "This really plays havoc with our schedule," said News Director I. M. Beancounter. "For goodness sake, they actually take thirty minute lunches all week. I don't see why a reporter can't buy them something they can wolf down in the car."
While the event runs from June 16th-23rd, photogs acknowledge that reporters don't have to participate just once a year.