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Notes from the Reel World: The Board President's Column, February 2003

By Michael Donaldson

Dear IDA Members:

It is always tempting to take a look back at the year just completed and bask in the glow of whatever successes can be conjured up. For IDA, there have been many successes over the past year, but many opportunities remain ahead in the coming year. And they are huge. We will be calling on your active participation in a variety of areas this coming year.

The Documentary Credit Coalition's Scrap with Scripps

The Scripps Networks owns and operates The Food Network, Homes & Garden Television, Fine Living and DIY Network. They do not give credits on the shows they commission. The only credit they give on shows they produce in house is a credit to themselves at the end. Occasionally, they will buy a show such as The Iron Chef that has credits that they cannot eliminate contractually. Unfortunately, none of these channels acquire many completed programs.

Contrary to every other network in the business, The Food Network and its sister cable channels simply do not give credits to those who work so hard to create programming for this large corporation. You might not produce anything for these channels. You might not know anyone who produces anything for these channels. But everybody who works in television is at risk as long as there is a growing cable channel that thinks it is OK to refuse due credit to those who create programming.

Every art form—sculptures, paintings, photographs, newspaper articles—identifies the authors of the creative work. Every program on every other cable or broadcast channel is credited. Scripps stands alone in its refusal to recognize those who labor on its behalf.

Please contact Sandra Ruch at if you can help in any way. At a minimum, please provide your email address so that we can keep you updated in this important area.

Michael Moore's Exhibition Initiative

At the IDA Awards Gala, which was a blow-out success, our host, Michael Moore, volunteered to contact major exhibitors to persuade them to reserve one screen in their larger multiplexes for documentaries. If you have suggestions to move this initiative forward, contact Sandra Ruch at

The Oscars Reception—Reserve Early

Speaking of the success of the gala, we at IDA feel badly for those members who waited too late to purchase their tickets, only to discover that none were left. We want to insure that all IDA members can purchase tickets to the annual Oscars Reception, honoring the nominees in the documentary categories, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Beverly Hills, California, on Wednesday, March 19. Tickets will not go on sale to the general public until February 7. Only IDA members may purchase tickets until then, so order early.



Michael C. Donaldson
IDA Board President