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What iPhone Journalism Looks Like When You Fire Your Photo Staff

By Jules Ebe on July 24th 2013

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It was not too long ago that Chicago Sun-Times made national headlines and shocked photographers around the world when it purged its entire photojournalism staff and replaced them with iPhone ‘trained’ reporters. That’s right – iPhone trained writers now man the photo desk as well. The response was so impressive that even Steven Colbert took a few stabs at the media outlet’s lack of respect for its own journalists in a humorous segment on The Colbert Report.

But just when Chicago Sun-Times thought the attention had died down, Chicago-based freelance photographer Taylor Glascock has been keeping the discussion alive on her Tumblr page. Glascock’s Tumblr blog compares the Sun-Times’ photography with that of its direct competitor, the Chicago Tribune. After a few months, we now have a good collection of covers and web pages to peruse. Probably not the quality journalism Sun-Times was hoping for.

“I think that you can’t just assume that if you give [reporters] a camera they will come out with the same result as someone who is trained.”

Chicago Sun Times vs. Chicago Tribune

Guess which one still uses staff photographers:

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“If photographers had to write all the stories it wouldn’t be pretty either.”

To check out Glascock’s Tumblr, click here.

So what are your thoughts? Is photojournalism dead – or will media outlets appreciate the value of trained photographic professionals?

Update: It turns out the June 25th cover comparison isn’t entirely fair. The Sun-Times actually had a special wrap-around for that day’s paper. The examples here are trying to exclude professional photographers that work for the Sun-Times as freelancers. The focus is on images provided by iPhone-toting writers vs Chicago Tribune professional staff photographers.

Until Next Time . . .

Stay Inspired ~ Jules

[via Wired]

About

is a Southern California based Conceptual Artist and Photographer. Her work has been featured in several print publications and selections can be seen in local gallery exhibitions. Connect with her on Facebook and Google+.

3 Comments

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  1. Christian Lampe

    What a misleading article. While I am a photographer and think that it is wrong that they fired those award winning photojournalists, the real cover to the chicago sun times is this:

    https://twitter.com/Suntimes/status/349406211562680320/photo/1

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    • Matthew

      That cover photo is a Getty image. We’re interested in photos produced by the newspaper staff.

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  2. James Keck

    I always wondered how long it would take for the papers to begin doing this. I don’t like the idea, but it was headed this way for quite some time. Even our little home town paper has taken phone pics from readers as submissions for a while now, but they do still utilize freelance photogs, and maintain at least a couple of staff photographers as well.

    It is all about the economy, and the fact that a lot of folks have switched from traditional outlets (newspapers/radio) to getting their news from computers and phones. Progress makes the world a better place, but it always carries a price. In this instance, however, I don’t like the price tag…

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