Chicago Sun-Times Fires All Its Photographers, Trains Reporters to Take iPhone Photos

Chicago Sun-Times Fires All Its Photographers, Trains Reporters to Take iPhone Photos

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The Chicago Sun-Times has fired its entire of staff of professional photographers and has started training reporters on iPhone photography basics.

Yesterday morning the paper called its 28 photographers together for a mandatory meeting and gave them the news. The Sun-Times says its going to use freelance photographers and reporters themselves to shoot photos and video going forward.

Their official statement reads:

"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."

Robert Feder who was the TV and radio columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1980 until 2008 reports that the paper is now training its reporters on how to take photos with the iPhone.

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.

Alex Garcia, a rival photographer at the Chicago Tribune, expresses his outrage at the idiotic decision.

"The photographers they fired were not button-pushers, they were journalists and trusted members of their communities. Some of them were deeply connected to areas of Chicago in ways that a freshly minted multimedia journalism graduate from New York will never be. Everyone in the city, it seemed to me, knew John White and Brian Jackson. I couldn’t walk up to a crime scene or a neighborhood center without them receiving slaps on the back and having doors thrown open. Scott Stewart had deep access to firefighters and fire officials in the city, on a first name basis..."

"By eliminating their deep knowledge, connection and trust to their communities, the Sun-Times has signaled to its readership that it doesn’t really care. And so begins the death spiral. "

Read More [via Fortune]

Richard Kopperdahl - June 8, 2013 at 12:31pm
Soon they'll call in all the reporters and say, "You guys are really terrific writers; some of you have even won Pulitzers, but the bottom line is, we no longer can afford you. We will use virtually free blogers, desperate free-lancers and stuff we pick-up from the internet. Goodbye."
Sam - June 1, 2013 at 8:12pm
Absolutely brillant! this is modernity the guy who did that was a genius! most people don't give a shit to pretty pics they just want FACT, ALLLO!!!
catherine lucas - June 3, 2013 at 9:47am
Sam you have no idea, your comment is so wrong... Would you like to be operated on by doctor that has not studied the correct fields? It's not because you can hold a phone that you become a good photographer. I often look through magazines and papers and bad photographs peeve me off tremendously... An phone camera has its function and use, but it's not the sole way to go for a newspaper. People want facts and good photographs. Anyone who says different has no clue...
Robb Montgomery - June 1, 2013 at 11:57am
Smartphones replace point & shoot cameras, they replace consumer-level video cams, they replace pro audio recorders. They do not replace DSLR's and the talent and experience required to make pictures for many types of newspaper assignments. Smartphones are great for getting images for web, social media and video posts. The training, technology and workflows have to be organized completely. I know about this. The Radio Free Europe journalists around the globe that I recently trained in Smartphone reporting techniques have had a taste of what it takes. But they don't publish newspapers.
Wale SANNI - May 31, 2013 at 10:01pm
This is really stupid. This is what happens when people who have no experience in an industry are hired to lead professionals in the industry. There is a lot more that goes into producing a professional photograph than using an iPhone or a Nokia Carl Zeiss phone. Lighting and positioning are very important factors. The doofuses that run the paper are going to realize their folly sooner rather than later. Very soon, they will have nothing but shots with bad angles, blur, etc. And camera phones have not gotten good enough to rival a proper DSLR camera. They are expensive for a reason.
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