Friday, May 31, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times Lays Off Photographers, Continued Changes to Media Landscape
Another sign of the times for a changing media landscape, the Chicago Sun-Times announced Thursday that they are letting go of the entire staff of photographers at the historic newspaper company.
This sudden and unexpected announcement has unsettled many in the media and will undoubtedly spark discussions over the various challenges facing the news business.
Members of the media - please share your thoughts with us at Newswise on the World Press Gallery group on LinkedIn.
We sympathize with the veteran news photographers laid off in this situation and we hope they find other work soon.
In spite of bad feelings, mourning an unfortunate event like this, it would be a mistake to see this move as an indictment of the value of photography in the news. In many ways, as technology has advanced and the ability to capture images of news events has been democratized (everyone these days is carrying a camera in their cell phones), photography is as important as ever. We should begin discussing how to ensure that we retain quality and relevance in the way images are used in journalism. While the idea of individual, dedicated photographers on staff at a newspaper might be a changing equation, the value and power of images in journalism is undeniable.
So, who qualifies as a “photographer” or “photojournalist” nowadays? The Chicago Sun-Times will now be encouraging their reporters to take many pictures themselves in the course of covering a story, for example. Could photographers similarly become writers themselves? And what role will crowd-sourcing and social media play? Will we see news outlets using civilians’ photographs?