Watch Who You’re Calling “Paparazzi,” Buster

Reuters photographer Gary A. Cameron wrote a letter to the editor published in Saturday’s Washington Post:

    Regarding Dana Milbank’s March 17 Washington Sketch, about the testimony of Valerie Plame before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee:

    Milbank uses the hackneyed word “paparazzi” to describe those covering the hearing with cameras. At best, the use of paparazzi is inaccurate, and at worst, offensive.

    The male and female “news photographers” who covered that hearing are all members of the U.S. Senate Press Photographers’ Gallery and accredited employees of such news organizations as Reuters, the Associated Press, the New York Times and, why, even Milbank’s own publication, as noted in the photo credit for the images used, “By Melina Mara — The Washington Post.”

    “Paparazzi” describes photographers who chase celebrities and originates from a fictional character in Federico Fellini’s 1960 film, “La Dolce Vita.” The news photographers who were working on the biggest story of the day in Washington are not paparazzi; they are trained, qualified, professional journalists, much like their peers with pad and pen, with years of experience capturing photographs that are fleeting and cannot be repeated or sought after later, the way a quote can. That photographers are covering a legitimate story in a large group, just as reporters do, does not make them paparazzi.