World Fixer creates worldwide, reputation-based database of fixers

WorldFixer.com
WorldFixer.com

If you worked with a fixer, you know how valuable they can be, and also how difficult they can be to find. Typically, one asks for recommendations from others who have worked in a region to find someone to help with translating, transportation, and access. Now, World Fixer aims to create a worldwide database of fixers for media companies to help facilitate their reporting. This is a huge undertaking and one which requires a method to verify safety and reputation on both sides of the equation. Reporters need to know that the prospective fixer knows what they’re doing and won’t sell the reporter to kidnappers, etc. Fixers need to know that people contacting them for work are actual journalists and not just trying to get personal information so they can kill or kidnap the fixer. Columbia Journalism Review has a good backgrounder on some of the issues at play in the fixer-journalist relationship.

I asked Mike Garrod, one of the founders of World Fixer, a bit about how the site works.

It is common that facilitators let their guard down just because an employer is waving a cheque book but it’s important that they know as much as they can find out before engaging on a project.”Mike Garrod, founder of World Fixer

World Fixer started this year to try and help employers (media, NGO’s and Travel operators) find trusted, local fixers, producers and journalists around the world. The key word here is ‘trusted’ and anyone who has had to use local staff in their ventures will know what can go wrong,” Garrod said over email. So they’ve developed a system for verifying and tracking reputation of both fixers and those who would hire them. Members on the site give confidential references to World Fixer who then call and verify their identity and capabilities. Members can also post testimonials and reviews of individuals they work with through World Fixer. But, he acknowledges that there is “no foolproof system” to ensure trust, and encourages users to perform their own due diligence before working with someone found on the site. World Fixer also offers services to conduct background checks and additional verification of fixers.

Fixers can also work with World Fixer to get background information about the companies and journalists that would hire them. The site encourages users to keep all correspondence on the site so that there is a record in case of any disputes. The fixer-journalist relationship can be unbalanced, Garrod said. “It is common that facilitators let their guard down just because an employer is waving a cheque book but it’s important that they know as much as they can find out before engaging on a project.”

Sites like World Fixer require a critical mass of users to be of any value. Having only started this year, I was curious about how big the database is so far. Garrod says that the founders of World Fixer have 25 years in the journalism business so mined their existing contacts to start. There are now nearly 900 fixers listed in the database and 300 employers have signed up, including independent journalists, BBC News desks, Discovery Channel, ABC, and Save the Children and other NGOs.

Take a look around the site yourself. Garrod said that signups are welcome for fixers, journalists, and media companies. “We are keen to create more work for our fixers in whatever form that comes so [photographers and other journalists] are welcome to [sign up],” Garrod said. Of course, new members must provide contact information so they can be verified before having access to fixer information.

And be sure to check out World Fixer’s blog. There are posts including notes from the field, ideas about physical and data security precautions, and explorations of issues affecting fixers.

Worth a watch: Lynsey Addario on the Daily Show

 

It’s great to see Lynsey Addario getting so much press for her book, It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War. Hot on the heels of her appearance on Fresh Air, last night Addario was interviewed on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. You can watch the video embedded above or at Comedy Central’s website.

It’s a short interview, interspersed with Stewart’s usual acerbic wit, but it touches on many important topics including the value of frontline photojournalism, the dangers faced by conflict reporters, and Addario’s efforts to balance normal life with her work.

Not many photographers make it to the Daily Show interview chair, so it’s especially exciting to see this interview. The only other photojournalist to have been invited on to the show, that I’m aware of, is Benjamin Lowy back in 2011.

Kubrick treasure trove: Museum puts thousands of director’s LOOK assignment photos online

kubrick-photo-museumnyc
Screenshot of Stanley Kubrick collection at the Museum of the City of New York

The Museum of the City of New York has unveiled an online collection of ~5000 of Stanley Kubrick’s photos from his time on staff at LOOK magazine between 1945 and 1950. While not quite as easily searchable as Yale’s FSA project, there’s a lot of fun to be had just clicking from page to page. Small collections of Kubrick’s photography have been passed around on blogs over the years (here or here) but this collection includes 129 of the young Kubrick’s assignments. And while only about 5,000 of the images are online now, the collection totals about 15,000 pictures. Oh, and you can order pretty affordable prints from the collection.

Here’s what the museum has to say about the collection:

Between 1945 and 1950, Stanley Kubrick worked as a staff photographer for LOOK magazine. He was not yet Kubrick, the famous film director; he was just Stanley, the kid from the Bronx with an uncanny photographic sensibility. Only 17 years old when he joined the magazine’s ranks, he was by far its youngest photographer. Kubrick often turned his camera on his native city, drawing inspiration from the variety of personalities that populated its spaces. Photographs of nightclubs, street scenes, and sporting events were amongst his first published images, and in these assignments, Kubrick captured the pathos of ordinary life in a way that belied his young age. The Museum’s collection contains 129 of Kubrick’s assignments for the magazine, encompassing more than 15,000 individual images, the vast majority of them never published.

If you want to see the influence of Kubrick’s photography in his films, you’d do well to find a copy of his early noir The Killing. IMDB has a few stills to give an idea of the look of the film.

And while we’re on the subject of Kubrick, here are a couple posts from the past few years on his work: Kubrick’s centered single-point perspective, and Capturing historic light in film.

via reddit