File this story under the category of “The Long and Painful Demise of the Newspaper” as we know it. In a somewhat surprising move, the Chicago Sun Times has laid off their entire 20 person professional photography staff, now relying on their reporters to shoot photos and video with their phones. From Mashable:
According to The Chicago Tribune, 20 full-time staffers in the photo department received layoff notices Thursday. In a statement shared with its chief competitor, the Sun-Times said it was looking to shift more resources to video and other multimedia elements (where, it should be noted, there are greater opportunities for advertising revenue growth):
“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.”
Why I’m Curious
The trend of the democratization of content creation and “crowdsourcing” has finally hit the professional photography industry where they’ve been saying it would hit them. The instagrams of the world have enticed profit hungry executives to believe that taking a good photo is as simple as having a subject to photograph. I think this will open the door for other newspapers to make a similar move. This seems to be another nail in the coffin of the newspaper as a printed medium and is helping force them into the digital space at the expense of quality and artistry.