To say that we did not see this coming is a bit of a fib, but to see something like this so soon is what is surprising to me. In case you had not heard, the Chicago Sun-Times in one foul swoop cut their entire photography staff and are now training their reporters on Iphone Photography.
According to the paper they now plan to work exclusively with freelance photographers for assignments that their editorial staff cannot handle on their own. They did not elaborate, but in my mind the obvious genre is sports. Not anyone can just jump on the sideline and get the consistent high quality results needed by the sports desk.
“The Sun-Times business is changing rapidly and our audiences are consistently seeking more video content with their news,” the paper said Thursday. “We have made great progress in meeting this demand and are focused on bolstering our reporting capabilities with video and other multimedia elements.”
I think this policy of adding more work to the reporter’s workload is quite idiotic. As if they already to do not have enough to do with their normal duties, now they are going to have to take images and produce their own videos? Sure this is quite a common practice amongst blogs and smaller rural newspapers, but those are not daily papers.
This is just the beginning, I fully expect to hear about many more papers going this route over the next few months. Just think about it, think about how much money they can save by giving their reporters a slight raise and laying off the entire photo staff. Let’s say they have 10 staff photographers and a photo editor, for the sake of math let’s say the photographers make roughly 60k per year and the editor 90k, which is almost 3 quarters of a million dollars that they save on a yearly basis.
I can’t say that I blame them from a financial standpoint, but as a photographer I feel like they are sorely mistaken if they think that Iphones and reporter made content is going to be of high enough quality to match the work that the photographic team was putting out. What do you think?
Is the Sun-Times crazy or are they just a sign of things to come? Let us know in the comments below.
[via the Verge]