Respect to you, Mr. Jarecke. Well said.
With regard to this part of your piece: “Another good question is why any photographer would pay a fee to enter their contest, when the only reward (I can see) is that of “exposure”. Exposure, that mysterious thing that won’t even get you a coffee at Starbucks. The same sparkly lure that photo editors dangle in front of photographers to try and snag their work for free.”
Reminiscent of Harlan Ellison’s excellen, short, “Pay the Writer” interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE