In this age of communications, one of the most important factors of television journalism is the working conditions of news cameraperson which gets harsher day by day. News camerapeople, despite all these problems, continue to perform their jobs. We would like to share some of these issues with you. As a requirement of our work, camera, tripod and equipment bags are the minimal materials we have to carry. The total weight of these three pieces of equipment are almost 30 kilograms. Sometimes many other items such as 3G device, lighting set, laptop computer to edit images are also included in these equipment. Constantly carrying these items throughout our careers causes certain permanent physical deformities. Spinal and cervical disk hernias, collapsed shoulders, caused by these tough conditions and known as occupational illnesses, are some of the most encountered health problems for our line of work.

According to research, a news cameraperson travels an approximate 3 – 4 million kilometers throughout their career. This result clearly portrays just how high the probability percentage of encountering accidents is. The working environments of news camerapeople are rife with dangers. These people work in settings such as social events, natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes, acts of terrorism, drills, war zones, and similar settings where injuries and loss of life is a high possibility. If you do the research, you can see for yourself that many news camerapeople who have been injured or died due to abovementioned reasons have made it to the news. Private television channels started broadcasting in 1990s. According to camerapeople data, since that date when private television channels started broadcasting until today, only a few out of the hundreds of news camerapeople have been able to work until retirement and thus earned pension. The state of things is clearly abysmal. Aside from all these physical factors, the psychological fatigue of news camerapeople has evolved into a problem all by itself. Many scientific research show news camerapeople to be performing one of the most stressful jobs in the world. In almost all the work they perform, these people work under the fear that they may miss or fail to capture something. Parallel to that, news camerapeople lead the list of professions that are most prone to depression.

The job of a news camerapeople is one that is constantly evolving at a rapid rate, parallel to technological advances. Back in the day a camera consisted of two parts and the recording unit was used by a second camerapeople. When live broadcast was part of the picture, there were dozens of people involved. Today a single cameraperson does all this single-handed, including live broadcast. While we talk about the dangers of mobile phones, a news camerapeople today have to carry a 3G device that uses 10 – 15 GSM lines at once. This device emits significant levels of radiation. Adding to that the radiation emitted from the camera, which camerapeople use right next to their heads, we leave it up to you to guess the results. While the official working hours of a radiology technician is 20 hours a week, a news camerapeople work in 24/7 working conditions for over 50 hours a week on average.

News camerapeople work without job security and without overtime, night and day in many corporations. They are easily disregarded, between the ages of 40 and 50 latest, claiming that they must be tired. We leave it up to you to figure out what a person, who has dedicated themselves to the cameraperson profession, ends up out of a job at the age of 45 without earning their retirement. Nowadays 80% of camerapeople face this problem. Our association has been making efforts to overcome these issues for years. However the power employers have not only prevents these problems from being resolved, it also results in them deteriorating further.

Celal CEVIRGEN, December 2011