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(Jim Romenesko)   The Chicago Sun Times has laid off its entire photo staff. Because if there's anything that can save the newspaper industry, it's a return to column upon column of unbroken text   (jimromenesko.com) divider line 75
    More: Stupid, Chicago Sun-Times  
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3498 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 May 2013 at 2:07 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-05-30 11:41:26 AM  
that really sucks. editorial photography is a hugely important part of news reporting.
 
2013-05-30 12:03:07 PM  
Ah, who needs it when you can just grab phone shots off twitter?
 
2013-05-30 12:09:59 PM  
Actually, I kind of figured this was where the industry was going.  Why take two bodies when you only need one? Something tells me they'll end up with a lot of shiatty shots in the beginning, and I bet they'll end up hiring most of the photographers back on a freelance basis, though.     Which sucks for the shutter jockeys....
 
2013-05-30 12:22:32 PM  

Earguy: Ah, who needs it when you can just grab phone shots off twitter?


Sadly prescient. Who needs quality when it only matters that you have it first. That, and you can contract the best ones on a cheaper, per-print basis like Peter Parker, still get photos without pesky benefits or steady wages
 
2013-05-30 01:50:24 PM  
With a copy of Photoshop and the internet you can have any picture you want
 
2013-05-30 02:10:39 PM  

PainInTheASP: Actually, I kind of figured this was where the industry was going.  Why take two bodies when you only need one? Something tells me they'll end up with a lot of shiatty shots in the beginning, and I bet they'll end up hiring most of the photographers back on a freelance basis, though.


The local fishwrapper in my parts is doing that. You've got a lot of "freelance contractors" under the roof. And one staff is now doing the copy editing for three papers. The downsides are obvious. No employment benefits. No arbitration. No severance package. The upside is you can quit any time.

There's a reason most JRN majors wind up in marketing or PR.
 
Ni
2013-05-30 02:12:50 PM  
The Sun will no longer be there....
 
2013-05-30 02:12:53 PM  

Gig103: Earguy: Ah, who needs it when you can just grab phone shots off twitter?

Sadly prescient. Who needs quality when it only matters that you have it first. That, and you can contract the best ones on a cheaper, per-print basis like Peter Parker, still get photos without pesky benefits or steady wages


Agreed.  Heard it on WBBM this morning and that's kind of what I got out of it.
 
2013-05-30 02:13:13 PM  
On this subject, I was driving around town yesterday and actually saw an ancient Massachusetts license plate that had "News Photog" stamped on it.
 
2013-05-30 02:14:40 PM  
FTFA: The Chicago Newspaper Guild's executive director tells Crain's: "We will be looking into all of our options, legal and non-legal. We think this is a terrible move for the paper and community."

They're announcing that they're considering breaking the law?
 
2013-05-30 02:15:59 PM  

Gig103: Earguy: Ah, who needs it when you can just grab phone shots off twitter?

Sadly prescient. Who needs quality when it only matters that you have it first. That, and you can contract the best ones on a cheaper, per-print basis like Peter Parker, still get photos without pesky benefits or steady wages


Most of the pictures I see of real news are reader submitted already - the ones that contain real content anyway. Why would anyone keep a photographer on staff to get those award winning shots of cops standing around?
 
2013-05-30 02:16:18 PM  
It won't be long before all the writers are free-lance stringers, too. Like the good, old 1890s. With any luck, they'll go back to hard drinking; it will have to make journalism livelier.
 
2013-05-30 02:17:26 PM  
The thing is, back in the day you used to have some modicum of photographic training to use a camera, what with f/stops, shutter speed, ISO ratings, film stock, framing, etc. etc. Nowadays a dumbfark with a cheap Kodak stands a much better chance of snapping a decent image just because all that knowledge has been programmed into the camera, and Photoshop will take care of the rest. Trained photographers can still get better studio and tabletop shots than amateurs, because of lighting and positioning and whatnot, but for on-the-street breaking news shots, no one cares.
 
2013-05-30 02:19:12 PM  
Thanks, Rahm Emanuel.
 
2013-05-30 02:19:47 PM  
Reporter will be shooting with their phones?

Is that part sarcasm?

I would think cellphone photos are too small to reproduce well on the printed page.
 
2013-05-30 02:20:46 PM  
Plus AP, UPI and Reuters are there for events outside of town.
 
2013-05-30 02:21:53 PM  
I think Otto von Chriek is available.
 
2013-05-30 02:27:05 PM  

bigwf2007: Reporter will be shooting with their phones?

Is that part sarcasm?

I would think cellphone photos are too small to reproduce well on the printed page.


Their size is plenty big enough for the printed page.  It's the skill of the operator that will be in question.
 
2013-05-30 02:31:41 PM  
Just Photoshop Ric Romero into any scene, like they already do on TV for the last 45 years.
 
2013-05-30 02:32:41 PM  

bigwf2007: I would think cellphone photos are too small to reproduce well on the printed page.


It used to be that way, but the pics I take with my not-so-good cellphone could run at 8" x 6" without any problem, probably 11" x 14" on tabloid presses.
 
2013-05-30 02:37:14 PM  
I've been watching nonsense like this in the newspaper business for 30+ years. Reduced newsholes, downsized newsrooms, emphasis shifted from investigative reporting (that costs money!) to producing filler news stories. The only budgets I have never seen cut is Display Advertising. They are the tail that wags the print media dog.

The print media bosses have no one to blame but themselves. And it's a goddamn shame because it's putting a lot of excellent employees out of work.
 
2013-05-30 02:41:23 PM  

mbillips: It won't be long before all the writers are free-lance stringers, too. Like the good, old 1890s. With any luck, they'll go back to hard drinking; it will have to make journalism livelier.


A heavy infustion of straight whiskey would do wonders for American journalism. There would be an initial decline in quality, and then a return of some damn fortitude.

Journalists who literally don't give a fark about anything but the story are good for society as a whole.
 
2013-05-30 02:41:47 PM  
Take a look at how many cameras there are at a typical press conference or other big event.  There is no shortage of people taking pictures.
 
2013-05-30 02:42:44 PM  
No picture, no story. Soon there will be no paper in Chicago other than the tribune.
 
2013-05-30 02:45:12 PM  
So what the hell am I gonna do with my hat that has a "press" sign?
 
2013-05-30 02:49:46 PM  
Is it ironic that no one has posted any pictures in this thread yet?
 
2013-05-30 02:52:21 PM  

AliceBToklasLives: So what the hell am I gonna do with my hat that has a "press" sign?


Take MySpace-style selfies while wearing it, apparently.
 
2013-05-30 02:53:31 PM  

uncoveror: No picture, no story. Soon there will be no paper in Chicago other than the tribune.


FTFY. Print is dead; it's just a matter of time before it's all gone. RIP, general-interest newspapers.

There will be plenty of journalism that you can read on your phone, reported by free-lancers, cranks, hobbyists and specialists, but there won't be general-interest newspapers reporting everything from foreign wars to Little League scores.
 
2013-05-30 02:54:27 PM  
How does Chicago even maintain 2 major dallies?

Even New York and LA only have one daily apiece (not counting the tabloid papers for NYC).
 
2013-05-30 02:56:06 PM  

mbillips: Like the good, old 1890s.


well, everything's beginning to look like the 1890s. a gilded age where the über-wealthy live like kings, yellow journalism and muck-raking, bubble-and-burst economic cycles, ginned-up wars in foreign lands (remember the maine!).

so, next up: a world war, the roaring 20s and a great depression!
 
2013-05-30 02:57:01 PM  

SirEattonHogg: How does Chicago even maintain 2 major dallies?

Even New York and LA only have one daily apiece (not counting the tabloid papers for NYC).


The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul do so quite well. Both papers are very profitable and both are Union papers. And they're thriving.
 
2013-05-30 02:57:03 PM  

PainInTheASP: Actually, I kind of figured this was where the industry was going.  Why take two bodies when you only need one? Something tells me they'll end up with a lot of shiatty shots in the beginning, and I bet they'll end up hiring most of the photographers back on a freelance basis, though.     Which sucks for the shutter jockeys....


You're totally right. About 10 years ago when I was in J-school my professors all warned that one day they'd just be handing cameras to the reporters, have them shoot video, and just grab stills from that as needed.
 
2013-05-30 02:57:34 PM  
Without newspaper photographers, we won't get any more gems like this:

8020.photos.jpgmag.com
 
2013-05-30 03:07:49 PM  

UNAUTHORIZED FINGER: I've been watching nonsense like this in the newspaper business for 30+ years. Reduced newsholes, downsized newsrooms, emphasis shifted from investigative reporting (that costs money!) to producing filler news stories. The only budgets I have never seen cut is Display Advertising. They are the tail that wags the print media dog.

The print media bosses have no one to blame but themselves. And it's a goddamn shame because it's putting a lot of excellent employees out of work.


Amen. Someone who knows what they're doing needs to open a damn paper and do it right.
 
2013-05-30 03:08:08 PM  
Kind of like some of the posts in fark comments threads.

/wall-o-text
 
2013-05-30 03:12:29 PM  

Earguy: Ah, who needs it when you can just grab phone shots off twitter?


Or, you know, if you're a reporter you could carry around a DSLR and a couple of lenses, and maybe take some classes. It's not uncommon to have stories in the small papers written and photographed by the same person. When you're doing a story on a water main break, you don't need multiple cameras and an f2.8 lens that weighs more than your kid.

If it's a major event they'll just hire some freelance guys who won't need a 401(k) plan or health insurance. Like it or not, this is what the new employment arena looks like now that the cheap labor conservatives have won. In 20 years everyone will be a temp except for the executives and owners. Oh, and oblig protip: try to make as much money as you can before you hit 45...

/yeah I'm a liberal
//a bitter, bleeding-heart, liberal
 
2013-05-30 03:27:10 PM  

mdeesnuts: Someone who knows what they're doing needs to open a damn paper and do it right.


I agree, but I saw what happened in Eureka California, when a quality competing newspaper was founded. The entrenched newspaper used its greater circulation, and pull with advertisers to ensure that no revenue was available. They promised better wages to employees, reduced advertising costs to clients,and offered subscription deals all around but when the new newspaper was successfully repressed, they went back to business as usual. The newspaper game is rigged. What they don't realize is that they're killing themselves.

/it's only business; bad business badly done, but only business.
 
2013-05-30 03:32:47 PM  
Unauthorized Finger:   How does Chicago even maintain 2 major dallies?

Even New York and LA only have one daily apiece (not counting the tabloid papers for NYC).


The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul do so quite well. Both papers are very profitable and both are Union papers. And they're thriving.

That's not a relevant comparison.  St. Paul and Minneapolis each have their own paper.  2 separate towns and both papers have sort of decided somehow not to step too much on each other's respective markets. Hence a healthy market.

Point is NYC and LA, with populations ranging from 3.5 million to 8 million ONLY have one general daily paper (along with most smaller cities). Chicago is somehow bucking the inevitable trend so far.
 
2013-05-30 03:34:19 PM  
Pics or it didn't hap...oh...
 
2013-05-30 03:39:12 PM  

SirEattonHogg: 2 separate towns and both papers have sort of decided somehow not to step too much on each other's respective markets. Hence a healthy market.


I have to disagree. Both papers have conducted multiple subscription and advertising drives in each others' perceived territory, and one paper even successfully poached the other's publisher, and scion of a newspaper dynasty. Both papers have sued and countersued each other countless times, and there is tremendous animosity between the two. But the only way either newspaper is going to fail is through incompetent management. So it could happen at any time, I suppose.
 
2013-05-30 03:39:14 PM  

ZeroPly: If it's a major event they'll just hire some freelance guys who won't need a 401(k) plan or health insurance. Like it or not, this is what the new employment arena looks like now that the cheap labor conservatives have won. In 20 years everyone will be a temp except for the executives and owners. Oh, and oblig protip: try to make as much money as you can before you hit 45...


If college students (not just in journalism but everywhere) don't have the point beaten into their heads by graduation then education has failed. I've come to accept professional freelancing as the new normal--I've even embraced the concept. But I know freelancing isn't for everybody. And I really do feel bad for those who are going to struggle with it. We're not that far off from the day when prospective employees are considered entitled and greedy for daring to ask for a consistent wage for consistent work.
 
2013-05-30 03:46:47 PM  

UNAUTHORIZED FINGER: SirEattonHogg: 2 separate towns and both papers have sort of decided somehow not to step too much on each other's respective markets. Hence a healthy market.

I have to disagree. Both papers have conducted multiple subscription and advertising drives in each others' perceived territory, and one paper even successfully poached the other's publisher, and scion of a newspaper dynasty. Both papers have sued and countersued each other countless times, and there is tremendous animosity between the two. But the only way either newspaper is going to fail is through incompetent management. So it could happen at any time, I suppose.


Yeah, but this is Minnesota you're talking about.  Where people are reasonably well-educated and civic-minded.  Unlike the festering human swamp that Chicago has turned in to.
 
2013-05-30 03:54:32 PM  

FrancoFile: Yeah, but this is Minnesota you're talking about. Where people are reasonably well-educated and civic-minded. Unlike the festering human swamp that Chicago has turned in to.


You have a good point. I no longer live there, but I truly respect and admire Minnesota. Truly great people there.
 
2013-05-30 03:56:07 PM  
SirEattonHogg:

Point is NYC and LA, with populations ranging from 3.5 million to 8 million ONLY have one general daily paper (along with most smaller cities). Chicago is somehow bucking the inevitable trend so far.

It gets weirder.  A few years back, the Chicago-Tribune went so far as to take over home delivery of the Sun-Times to keep the Times from going under.  Tribune was also doing the printing for the local distribution of the New York Times, so there's a pattern here.

I suspect the billionaire Koch brothers will eliminate this, or prove the motive is profit, not altruism.
 
2013-05-30 03:57:13 PM  
Unauthorized Finger:  
I have to disagree. Both papers have conducted multiple subscription and advertising drives in each others' perceived territory, and one paper even successfully poached the other's publisher, and scion of a newspaper dynasty. Both papers have sued and countersued each other countless times, and there is tremendous animosity between the two. But the only way either newspaper is going to fail is through incompetent management. So it could happen at any time, I suppose.

Okay, so they're fierce competitors, but again, although neighboring, you have 2 distinct towns.  I would assume both papers also survive due to hometown loyalties.  For example, your family are St. Paul natives and subscribers of St. Paul Pioneer Press for your entire lives, are you going to readily switch over to Minneapolis Tribune, if all things are pretty much equal in terms of quality?  That's the difference with the Twin Cities media market in comparison to the 3 largest cities in the US.

Oakland and SF are the same metro area, but they both maintain a different newspaper because in reality they are 2 separate towns with some differing local news.
 
2013-05-30 04:12:20 PM  

SirEattonHogg: Okay, so they're fierce competitors, but again, although neighboring, you have 2 distinct towns. I would assume both papers also survive due to hometown loyalties. For example, your family are St. Paul natives and subscribers of St. Paul Pioneer Press for your entire lives, are you going to readily switch over to Minneapolis Tribune, if all things are pretty much equal in terms of quality? That's the difference with the Twin Cities media market in comparison to the 3 largest cities in the US.

Oakland and SF are the same metro area, but they both maintain a different newspaper because in reality they are 2 separate towns with some differing local news.


Much of what you say about the Twin Cities is true. However in the Bay Area, the Oakland Tribune has joined all the other newspapers (that are not the Chronicle or Examiner) under the MediaNews umbrella. There are 12 major newspapers in the Bay Area News Group, and many smaller weeklies and shoppers. They have a monopoly in the Bay Area excepting San Francisco. http://info.bayareanewsgroup.com/online-print-ads-direct-marketing/pr o ducts/print Unfortunately, MediaNews is a vampire organization that is known for bleeding newspapers dry, and then shutting them down. The very first words Dean Singleton (owner of MediaNews) ever spoke to me were a bald-faced lie. And I'm afraid that he is the face of the future of newspapers in America. I have worked for four different newspapers that were acquired by MediaNews, and each time, I immediately realized it was time to move on. Finding that MediaNews is acquiring your newspaper is a resounding death knell.
 
2013-05-30 04:16:35 PM  
The wife and I saw the digital writing on the wall from our time in the commercial photo lab biz 80s-90s. Jumped ship in '96. But thanks, Kodak! Took care of us
Still was sad, though. We loved our jobs. Miss the Kodachrome.
 
2013-05-30 04:18:10 PM  

The Great EZE: ZeroPly: If it's a major event they'll just hire some freelance guys who won't need a 401(k) plan or health insurance. Like it or not, this is what the new employment arena looks like now that the cheap labor conservatives have won. In 20 years everyone will be a temp except for the executives and owners. Oh, and oblig protip: try to make as much money as you can before you hit 45...

If college students (not just in journalism but everywhere) don't have the point beaten into their heads by graduation then education has failed. I've come to accept professional freelancing as the new normal--I've even embraced the concept. But I know freelancing isn't for everybody. And I really do feel bad for those who are going to struggle with it. We're not that far off from the day when prospective employees are considered entitled and greedy for daring to ask for a consistent wage for consistent work.


It takes a lot to kill passion, but with a lot of hard work, the cheap labor conservatives are about 90% there. When I was in high school, if you were a kid who couldn't be pried away from your camera, and you had your little heart set on becoming a photojournalist, it was a gimme that you would eventually be making a decent living as a photojournalist. Just keep your nose to the grindstone, learn the fundamentals, be patient, and you'll get there. You'll someday have an actual career with weird coworkers and an office copier you could complain about, not an endless series of temporary jobs straight out of Snow Crash.

Now, if's like wanting to play in the NBA. If your guidance counselor doesn't tell you that you'll probably fail in your quest to live off photography, and that this is a real long shot requiring a backup plan, then they're not doing their job.
 
2013-05-30 04:29:11 PM  
Philip K. Dick's dystopian world generally involves newspaper machines that not only sell papers, but write the news. Called homeopapes, they are essentially automated news reporters--they take the photos, write up the text, go where the news is, dig into the secrets of even the super-rich and conspiracy class powerful. They are so to speak, a counter weight to the evil alien overlords who really govern us all in Philip K. Dick's painfully accurate paranoya. Even the President of the United States is generally a robot who spouts text written for him by pions and machines. Who knew?

Newspapers have always relied to some extent on free reader content--the letters to the editor page often contains the best writing in the newspaper, the most pertinent and complete op-ed and even the most accurate reporting. A lot of meaningless fark also goes into the newspapers--poems, religious glurge and write-ups of private parties that nobody cares about ad to the free paper-filling fark, as do public sources such as police reports, court transcripts, etc.

But to completely ditch the photographers, writers, editors and thinkers, that is positively Murdochian in its evil. Or not. Maybe we should look forward to our machine overlords. They may eventually be more objective, honest, complete and accurate than anything humans have produced in the last five hundred years.

In the meantime some bastards are making money off of you doing all the work for free--playing bank teller everytime you visit an ATM or a website, providing up-to-the second updates on public catastrophes, posting stupid comments to Fark.com and even paying $5 a month to post stupid comments to the redundant articles with the too-stupid-for-primetime headlines.

Sigh. Pout. If I weren't a lazy bastard I would get a piece of this action, dammit.
 
2013-05-30 04:44:36 PM  
Newspaper photos are the perfect crowdsourcing project. A newspaper no longer hires a photo staff; they just let folks know to send them pics of various situations and any accepted they will pay a nominal fee. A few editors to review and decide which ones to include, and they are all set.

Not saying this is the right way to do it... but if the main focus is on reducing expenses, this is one way to go. Licensing photos from other newspapers is another option..

Anything technology makes easier, businesses are going to explore how to use it to improve productivity... and reduce expenses, which means fewer jobs.
 
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