As a photojournalist for 35 years I have followed and taken part in this "who owns the copyright" fight...National Geographic writers and photographers, as well as the ones at Time magazine and others went to court about re-publication rights and compensation, won in some cases, lost inothers.
NG put all their magazines on a set of CDs and their argument was "how far back to we have to compensate writers? To the 18hundreds?)" while Time/Life put out CDs of photos for sale as an image pool which can be used in advertising, etc.... Many before, and most articles now are provided by freelance writers and photographers. It is cheaper than keeping them on staff and paying insurance and medical for them and their families.
The courts basically held that if the writer did "Work-for-hire" then the copyright belongs to the publication. Anytime the publication assigns a writer to write about a particular subject or place, it is work for hire. It is not woork for hire if a finished article is offered to the publication on a "one-time publicaton rights" or "First publication rights only" basis.
My paper allows me to own the copyright to any images which weren't used in the paper and gave the copyright back to me on images which were used after two years...
I am now in the process to give the prints back to the people pictured via a web site I created just last week.If you are interested, it is at:http://home.neo.rr.com/ottmar/