Chicago Sun-Times Lays Off Entire Photo Staff

It seems that iPhoneorgraphy is going to a whole new level at the Chicago Sun-Times. As someone who went to journalism school to be a photojournalist this makes me sad as I see photojournalism as more and more of a dying profession. The Sun-Times laid off their entire full time group of photo journalists totaling 28 photographers. The official statement from the Sun-Times was:

“The Sun-Times business is changing rapidly and our audiences are consistently seeking more video content with their news. We have made great progress in meeting this demand and are focused on bolstering our reporting capabilities with video and other multimedia elements. The Chicago Sun-Times continues to evolve with our digitally savvy customers, and as a result, we have had to restructure the way we manage multimedia, including photography, across the network.”

It was reported on the Tribune that they will be replaced with some freelancers but that also they are training reports on how to use iPhones to capture videos and photos as they are reporting. Chicago media critic Robert Feder said:

Sun-Times reporters begin mandatory training today on “iPhone photography basics” following elimination of the paper’s entire photography staff. “In the coming days and weeks, we’ll be working with all editorial employees to train and outfit you as much as possible to produce the content we need,” managing editor Craig Newman tells staffers in a memo.

While I am a huge fan of the iPhone and actually use it a lot for my own personal photos there is still a big different from what you can create with an iPhone with no control over exposure and depth of field vs. a SLR camera. And the camera still is only one small piece of a great photo, it’s really all about the creative eye and something that not everyone has. Journalists are great at telling stories with their words and some may have the creative eye for photography as well but most don’t. Not everyone was meant to be an artist and there will definitely be a huge decline in the quality of photography over at the Sun-Times.

I hope this trend doesn’t continue but wouldn’t be surprised to see other media outlets follow. Would love to know your comments below, lets chat about what you think this means for the future of photojournalism.

Small Voices back cover

Here is a classic from one of my favorite storytellers W. Eugene Smith.

to all the 'Madonnas'...

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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1 Comment

  1. This is a sad day in the history of photojournalism. I am glad that I am not a subscriber to the Chicago Sun Times. It seems to me that journalists will be so busy taking videos that they will miss everything else happening around them. It is like suffering from tunnel vision.

    Photojournalists can create images that are unforgettable and even historic.
    American consciousness about the war in Vietnam was never the same after publication of the famous photo of the hysterical young girl running nude down a street because her clothes had been burned off.

    Entire sites are dedicated to the beauty, wonder, and awe that works of photojournalists inspire.

    I can truly say that I have not viewed any videos taken by iPhones that have captured my imagination, or become memorable.

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