Holding to Truth: Radio Encryption & the Press, with Todd Maisel & Lloyd Mitchell01/18/2024
Press photographers have faced tough workplace challenges for quite some time. Yet, according to recent headlines, their job is about to get even tougher, due to current plans by many law enforcement agencies—particularly the NYPD—to encrypt radio calls, making live transmissions of breaking news inaccessible to common citizens and members of the press.
Above photograph © Todd Maisel
Besides being a devastating blow to meddling old biddies and law enforcement buffs, this change has huge implications for photojournalists and news outlets, who depend on such communications as part of their workflow.
Joining us to shed light on this matter, as well as to provide a general update on newspaper photojournalism today, are two generations of accredited newspaper photographers, Todd Maisel and Lloyd Mitchell. As a current board member and past vice president of the New York Press Photographers Association, Maisel has worked tirelessly to investigate and mediate the NYPD’s encryption plans.
Among the many topics raised in our discussion are a shift in press accreditation from the NYPD to the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment, competing interests within news organizations that prevent broadcasters from taking law enforcement to task, distinctions between police and fire departments when it comes to radio encryption, details about radio encryption rollouts in other US cities, and much more.
Towards the end of our chat, Todd Maisel offers a compelling insight into his mission as a photojournalist, which speaks to the high stakes involving the matter at hand. “What I’m doing as a journalist is a sacred obligation. It’s a God-given right to do it, and to continue to do it, and to do a great job at it. And so, I made a promise to protect it, to protect freedom of the press.”
Guests: Todd Maisel and Lloyd Mitchell
- 3:39: Methods for monitoring NYPD radio transmissions and early news about encryption plans.
- 8:56: Credentialing of press passes and changes to the clearance process from NYPD responsibility to the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment
- 16:14: The involvement of trade organizations such as the NYPPA and the formation of the New York Media Consortium as an attempt to mediate current issues.
- 20:06: Encryption of police calls in other American cities, plus the matter of a 30-minute delay in transmissions.
- 23:14: Strategies for getting around the rise in radio encryption, plus the role citizen journalism plays in spreading disinformation through social media.
- 31:38: How media outlets are responding to radio encryption, and existing relationships between news outlets and entertainment entities.
- 34:28: Episode Break
- 37:12: Law enforcement 10-code terminology, a recent federal mandate to shift this to plain English, plus Mitchell’s experience working in Buffalo, NY, and differences between that and larger cities such as New York.
- 42:52: Discussion about the NYPD’s staggered roll out of encrypted radio calls, differences between the NYPD and FDNY radio calls, plus the fact that the fire department radio transmissions will remain non-encrypted.
- 49:00: The critical need for the press to know what’s going on in emergency events such as Hurricane Sandy and other breaking news situations.
- 51:50: An update on the situation for press photographers five years after Maisel lost his staff position at the Daily News, plus Mitchell’s ability to license his press images since he owns the copyright to material he shoots for AM New York.
- 58:46: A press photographer’s role to care about others in need. “You have to be a human being first and a photographer second.”
- 1:03:45: Differences in how press photographers are viewed by the FDNY and the NYPD, how the emotionality of a situation can affect a photographer’s access, plus Mitchell’s thoughts on new avenues for him to explore in photography and future opportunities for advancement.
Todd Maisel is an award-winning visual journalist with 40 years in the business, 18 of which he spent as a staff photographer for the New York Daily News, before the elimination of the photo department. Maisel has traveled the world to cover the biggest breaking news stories, from the war in Iraq to nearly every type of major sporting event. He recently retired as Breaking News Editor at AM New York, while still continuing as a contributing editor as he works on a book about his 38-years in the business. Additional past roles include executive editor for Town & Village News and contributing editor for Real Estate Weekly. He currently serves as Vice President of the New York Press Photographers Association, as well as NYPPA Newsletter editor, Govt. Relations Chairman, and NYPD Liaison.
Lloyd Mitchell is a photojournalist born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. His goal as a visual storyteller is to show people what’s going on in their community through a variety of compelling images, whether it be a breaking news event, protest, or parade. His clients include: The New York Times, Reuters news agency, AM New York, Brooklyn Paper, Canarsie Courier, Firehouse Magazine, Fire Engineering Magazine, and Fire Rescue Magazine.
Todd Maisel Website: https://www.toddmaiselvisualjournalism.com/
Todd Maisel on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/toddmaisel/
Todd Maisel on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
Todd Maisel on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ToddMaisel
Lloyd Mitchell Website: https://lloydmitchell43.photoshelter.com/
Lloyd Mitchell on Instagram:
Lloyd Mitchell on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randymitchellwritesandphotographs/
Lloyd Mitchell on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lloydphoto
NYPPA Website: https:// www.nyppa.org
Todd Maisel on the Deadline for Newspaper Photojournalism Episode:
Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: Jill Waterman
Senior Producer: Mike Weinstein
Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner