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Article: Pulitzer photojournalist takes a stand for quality
Kevin M. Cox, Photographer, Assistant
Galveston & Houston | TX | US | Posted: 10:28 PM on 08.30.11
->> Pulitzer photojournalist takes a stand for quality
http://www.bizjournals.com/dayton/blog/2011/08/pulitzer-photojournalist-tak...

"Two-time Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Larry Price took a stand this week for journalistic quality — and it cost him his job."

“This is a trend in media and newspapers in general. It really is eroding the foundations of the industry, of what newspapers and media bring to the table: to keep democracy on track. It’s so important. Maybe I’m naive but the bottom line simply is not as important as what information can convey to people in helping them make decisions,” Price said.
 This post is:  Informative (13) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Erik Markov, Photographer
anywhere | IN | | Posted: 10:56 PM on 08.30.11
->> a lot of papers must be using the same playbook. I think its a one size fits all spiral bound guide like the AP stylebook.
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Willis Glassgow, Photo Editor, Photographer
Florence | SC | USA | Posted: 9:10 AM on 08.31.11
->> Folks....its all about the bottom line. Nothing more and nothing less...period. And on top of that, its all short term thinking.
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Jack Kurtz, Photographer
Phoenix | AZ | United States | Posted: 10:18 AM on 08.31.11
->> I think the industry would be in better shape if more newspaper publishers had the courage to stand up the way Larry did. The sad thing is that I doubt his resignation will save the jobs. No doubt the bean counters at Cox will say "Score! We just saved another salary. Now, Off with their heads!" Or words to that effect.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Kolman Rosenberg, Photographer
Mentor | OH | USA | Posted: 12:19 PM on 08.31.11
->> ...but at least Larry will be able to live with himself! Maybe a little less affluent, but not having compromised his principles! That's worth a lot!
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Willis Glassgow, Photo Editor, Photographer
Florence | SC | USA | Posted: 8:45 AM on 09.01.11
->> You hit the nail on the head Jack!!!!.....
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John Germ, Photographer
Wadsworth | Oh | USA | Posted: 9:10 AM on 09.01.11
->> Jack - unfortunately, "making a stand" isn't going to be good enough. It's a business decision. Threatening to quit just isn't good enough. You have to make a business case. It's certainly great to stand up for what you believe. But, if you want to affect change in the business climate, the business case is how you do it. After all - look at the reality of the job market. Plenty of unemployed people that will be willing to step up and take the job of someone who quits. If anyone thinks they're not replaceable, and quickly, they need a reality check. Don't get me wrong - it's great to fight for what you believe is right. But, if you're fighting with business management you have to use the language they understand. If you can't make a cogent business case and show how something has a direct, tangible benefit (or cost avoidance), you're not going to change minds.
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Gerry Melendez, Photographer
Columbia | SC | USA | Posted: 12:54 PM on 09.01.11
->> John,
Price's drastic decision caused more of a ripple than any business case would have. I believe "making a stand" was good enough in this case. It was obvious from the article that Larry had exhausted all his options. I'm sure there were plenty of discussions about content and driving revenue. At the beginning of the piece he talks about how the paper "encouraged Price and his team to embrace online photo galleries — a driver of Web site traffic."
That obviously changed. "Price said he realized there was a mandate to stop producing sophisticated visual content." That is the key. You can produce all the content in the world for revenue but do you want to work in an environment that embraces mediocrity?
Once a company takes such a drastic direction, making a "cogent business case" will not help. Unless you have the means to do an extensive case study on consumer demands, which the company apparently did, it would be extremely tough to change their minds.
“The new prerogative, as it was explained to me, was to dumb down the photo report,” Price said.
Dumbing down content goes beyond any business decision. That is a drastic change in a company's philosophy.
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John Germ, Photographer
Wadsworth | Oh | USA | Posted: 5:23 PM on 09.01.11
->> "Price's drastic decision caused more of a ripple than any business case would have."
Gerry - what change did it affect? Did his quiting change policy? Do you have an example where quiting in the newspaper industry in the last 2 years has forced a change of policy? I don't wish to diminish his intentions at all. What he did takes courage. I merely dispute that it's an effective approach as Jack indicated it would/could be. Now, it may generate change or not - quite possibly too soon to tell. From a business standpoint I deal day in day out with corporate business decisions and building business cases for spending corporate dollars. It's possible the business folks in newspaper are different than other industries. So, do you have some examples I could study where this approach actually brings change in the newspaper business world?
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Gerry Melendez, Photographer
Columbia | SC | USA | Posted: 6:15 PM on 09.01.11
->> John,
You're missing the point. There are newspapers that encourage powerful visual storytelling. His no longer cared for it. Even if they had a successful business model, would you want to work for a company that could care less about quality. One that had "dumbed" down its visual content. We talk a lot about bad contracts and walking away from them. That is essentially what Price did in my opinion. The "ripple effect" has been felt by many in the photo community. You ask for change in the industry. I say his leaving has caused change throughout the photo community. It reminds us to diversify and prepare. To take on new skills and continue to enhance our abilities.
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Gerry Melendez, Photographer
Columbia | SC | USA | Posted: 6:37 PM on 09.01.11
->> A couple of things I forgot to mention. Price made his decision mainly to save jobs, which he did. That sends a strong message. Back to Jack's point. If a large number of publishers decided not to carry out layoffs anymore or took a stand against attrition it would cause change or at the very least initiate dialogue.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 7:49 PM on 09.01.11
->> The business argument claiming that content will pay off in the long run goes right over the head of most newspaper executives. That's why Larry was faced with two lousy choices.

--Mark
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Michael Durisseau, Photographer, Assistant
Santa Fe/Houston | TX | USA | Posted: 10:38 PM on 09.01.11
->> Too bad the executives are taking the hacks that they're asking the rank-and-file to take. Quality really has taken a back seat to the money, but I can't see how you have one without the other.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 10:53 PM on 09.01.11
->> Michael, As you allude, quality and money have to go together. I just think that most newspaper executives are cutting the wrong way in the wrong places and about two decades too late.

--Mark
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Jeff Stanton, Photographer
Princeton | IN | USA | Posted: 12:12 PM on 09.02.11
->> ...but at least Larry will be able to live with himself! Maybe a little less affluent, but not having compromised his principles! That's worth a lot!

Unfortunately, the bank doesn't accept principles on deposit. The DDN management will probably make the cuts despite Price's departure, then assign an existing editor the task of handling what photo staff remains.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 12:35 AM on 09.04.11
->> Apple is the best example of a management style that's contrary to what's taught in MBA courses... and they are the one of the most profitable business ever in a industry that is based on price.

Delivering high quality and charging a fair price with something the consumer can't get somewhere else is a winning formula. Most newspapers don't see the power of owning the local markets and as a result, get caught in the squueze. Now they cut staff, the one thing that could save them.

Geniuses one and all.
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David Harpe, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 1:11 AM on 09.04.11
->> That's why Larry was faced with two lousy choices.

He had three:
1. Stay, do the layoffs, and continue.
2. Stay, refuse to do the layoffs and see what happens.
3. Quit.

I understand not choosing #1. I have wondered why he chose #3 instead of #2.
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Mark Peters, Photographer
Highland | IL | USA | Posted: 7:53 AM on 09.04.11
->> David,

It would not surprise me if the answer is control.

By resigning rather permitting himself to be terminated for insubordination, he controls the message, rather than the news organization.
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Thread Title: Article: Pulitzer photojournalist takes a stand for quality
Thread Started By: Kevin M. Cox
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