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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

"Chicago Sun-Times lays off entire photo staff"
Jim Colburn, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 12:03 PM on 05.30.13
->> http://jimromenesko.com/2013/05/30/report-sun-times-lays-off-entire-photo-s.../
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 12:05 PM on 05.30.13
->> You posted it seconds before I did, sorry Jim.
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Albert McCracken, Photographer
Lockport | NY | USA | Posted: 12:22 PM on 05.30.13
->> The beginning of the end for the business as Photojournalism. What, do think $25 assignment or $30. The money that they will save will be incredible . And the birth of I phone journalism will begin.
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Paul Hayes, Photographer, Photo Editor
Littleton | NH | USA | Posted: 12:30 PM on 05.30.13
->> So does anyone know if they have created, or are creating, a multimedia department to replace the photo dept., and if so, whether they would retain current photogs as "multimedia producers" or whatever they would call them???
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Wesley R. Bush, Photographer
Murfreesboro | TN | U.S. | Posted: 1:14 PM on 05.30.13
->> ""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."

So I checked the paper's site for myself and found on the front page, lead story video, a 30-second non-skipable ad for a 36-second tv news clip that locked up my browser when it was done, accompanied by some old file photos. Raise your hand if you want more video content with your newspaper.
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Ting Shen, Student/Intern, Photographer
Chicago | IL | U.S. | Posted: 2:28 PM on 05.30.13
->> Last time I heard(which is 3 weeks ago when i was still interning there) I dont really see any plans or actions being made for a Multimedia department. They laid off John Sall who heads the video department(again I saw it happen with my eyes), which does not make any sense at all if they're heading multimedia direction. And what they ask for the photographers do is simply shoot a 30 second iPhone video and upload it on to NDN.
We all knew this was going to happen, but no one knew it was going to crash this hard.
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Jon Durr, Student/Intern, Photographer
London | UK | United Kingdom | Posted: 2:50 PM on 05.30.13
->> Paul,

Some updated info from Donald Winslow's article on this,

"According to a report from a wire service photographer who formerly worked at the Sun-Times, three people may have been retained to perform new job duties. Photographer Jessica Koscielniak will do video multimedia, photographer Rich Hein will be a photo editor, and a third person will serve as a photo editor in the suburban papers, he told News Photographer magazine tonight. News Photographer is currently trying to reach Koscielniak and Hein for comment."

https://nppa.org/node/62277/
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Jonathan Daniel, Photographer
Chicago | IL | USA | Posted: 3:09 PM on 05.30.13
->> Sports writer Toni Ginnetti of the Chicago Sun-Times just sent a wonderful tweet: "A picture USED to worth 1,000 words."
My best wishes for my long-time friends who have lost the jobs they love. This is the future for many newspaper photographers because actions like this will give ideas to other owners that they can do the same thing. And they will.
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Scott Serio, Photo Editor, Photographer
Colora | MD | USA | Posted: 3:52 PM on 05.30.13
->> Here is what I don't get. Every person I have talked to says the metrics for photo galleries outpace the metrics for video. There is this story from the NYT ( http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/13/business/media/in-new-orleans-times-picay... ) about the situation in New Orleans and Philadepha. Did the folks at the Sun-Times bother to look at NOLA and Philly as a case studies for what gutting a photo department will do?

Everything I have seen is that bigger multimedia projects are well received, but overall, readers prefer photos to video. Am I wrong about the metrics?
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TD Paulius, Photographer
Orland Park | IL | USA | Posted: 4:03 PM on 05.30.13
->> They have replaced their staffers with freelancers. Good for the freelancers and bad for the staffers. Many staffers will no doubt take some of the freelance assignments. The STMG (Sun Times Media Group) had been building up its collection of freelancers over the past three years in preparation for this event. Just 6-7 years ago, the ST would very rarely hire a freelancer.

As the bottom line becomes more and more important, and notwithstanding those that say the economy is improving, the only way form many companies to improve their bottom line is to reduce people costs. The STMG immediately saves 9% in taxes on a freelancer v staffer, or 5,400$ for each salaried shooter at 60,000$. Not to mention the cost of any benefits, such as the payment of 70-80% of the health insurance premium, the company's share of the life insurance premium and contribution to retirement or profit-sharing programs. That can bring the total savings up to 12,000 to 15,000$ per canned employee or 336,000 to 420,000 which is arguably justified to a financial guy.

I wonder how many people have called the STMG volunteering to shoot the Blaclhawks Saturday and Sunday for free.

It is a sad day for photojournalism in the Midwest.
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G.M. Andrews, Photographer
Irvington | AL | USA | Posted: 6:43 PM on 05.30.13
->> Does anybody know if the former staffers will be allowed to freelance for the Sun-Times?
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 8:05 PM on 05.30.13
->> Does anyone know what is the freelance rate for assignments, and what the terms are?

As to gallery metrics I had an interesting and enlightening conversation with a newspaper photographer/TV videographer a few months ago. The paper posted some not-so-good contributor photos along with sharp staff produced ones. The photographer asked the web person to take down the bad ones. They were back up an hour later by order of a manager. The reason? Online revenue is generated by the number of hits/clicks -- not the length of time a viewer looks at a great one. Thus, a dozen soft cell-phone pix will generate 12x the revenue than a Pulitzer Prize one.
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 8:25 PM on 05.30.13
->> CURRENT and I say Current because it's my understanding there is a 1 week grace period then the freelance situation will be evaluated, rates are as follows:

$90 - Sports
$60 - News, be it daily, feature, etc.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 9:32 PM on 05.30.13
->> Jim,
What rights do they require for submitted images? All rights in perpetuity or is it a shared right situation with an embargo? One-time print and perpetual web? How many images must be submitted per assignment? What about travel? Are freelancers paid a mileage fee?

To other staff photographers: I would seriously consider this a warning shot over your bow. If you haven't started building a war chest and planning parachute strategy, the time to start is today.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor, Photographer
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 9:53 PM on 05.30.13
->> That's right, announce that you're going to concentrate on multimedia and then ax all of the visual storytellers.

This is nothing more than ham-handed panic management. They need to improve the bottom line RIGHT NOW and cutting staff is the easiest way to do that. Of course, they trade their future viability to do it.

Viewers are more visually sophisticated and demanding than ever before. "Good enough" isn't good enough any more.

--Mark
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Richard Uhlhorn, Photographer
Chelan Falls | WA | USA | Posted: 10:03 PM on 05.30.13
->> For the full story go read te Photoshelter blog on the subject. They are saving about $1.6 million in salaries and benefits.

Sad day for the staff.
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Rafael Agustin Delgado, Photographer, Assistant
Pasadena | Ca | USA | Posted: 10:28 PM on 05.30.13
->> I doubt they will be the last paper to do this.
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Mike Burley, Photographer
Dubuque | IA | USA | Posted: 10:37 PM on 05.30.13
->> "$90 - Sports
$60 - News, be it daily, feature, etc."

Sorry, but I wouldn't get out of bed for those rates. Tribune used to pay $125-$150 for average assignments and $175 for a real PIA. Thats not great, but they used to at least give you 6-8 a week and reward their regulars. $60 is what I would expect from a weekly - No thanks.
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Jonathan Daniel, Photographer
Chicago | IL | USA | Posted: 10:44 PM on 05.30.13
->> Absolutely disgusted at the lack of support from the other staffers(i.e. writers)at the Sun-Times at this news. Twitter has been quiet from that group. They should be ashamed. Hope they have fun covering their stories with their IPhones.
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Jim Colburn, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 11:02 PM on 05.30.13
->> Very good point Jonathan. What ever happened to the idea of coming out on strike when your fellow workers got the shaft?
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Thomas E. Witte, Photographer, Photo Editor
Cincinnati | OH | USA | Posted: 11:33 PM on 05.30.13
->> $90 for sports huh?

- "Sports" would range from a very quick high school basketball game at about 90 minutes up to an MLB game game at 210 minutes plus about 60 minutes of editing and transmitting and another MINIMUM 60 minutes getting there early so 210-330 minutes. Lets average on the low end and say that you're tied up for four hours per event - not including your travel time between home and/or the next assignment.

- Let's ballpark 30% in taxes so $63.00 take home for a sports assignment and $42 for other news. Plus you're talking second shift hours and/or working on the weekends.

- According to
http://www.rentjungle.com/average-rent-in-chicago-rent-trends/ A single bed room apartment will go for maybe $1400 a month. Let's round down to $1200 just for giggles. You would have to shoot 20 sporting events just to pay your rent. Two more assignments to cover health insurance, maybe four to cover your car payment plus two for insurance.

- At some point you're going to need to eat. Lets say you subside on Ramen noodles, trail mix and hotdogs for all meals every day, that's about four assignments for at home eating.

- You need some sort of power supply to heat up the water, plus a phone to get calls about assignments and power to charge your batteries. Let's say six assignments for that.

At this point you're at 38 "sports assignments" per month just to cover living BY YOURSELF, and we haven't even gotten in to your normal entertainment, buying clothes, going to movies with friends, buying a gun to blow your brains out in despair, nor the extra 80 assignments annually you'd have to shot just to max out a Simple IRA contribution for the year.

Like Mike said, I wouldn't even get out of bed at those rates... I think we've discovered why people show up at events wearing flip flops and cut off shorts.
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Thomas E. Witte, Photographer, Photo Editor
Cincinnati | OH | USA | Posted: 11:42 PM on 05.30.13
->> And listen, I apologize for hijacking a very serious thread with my personal vendetta about the devaluation of day rates. This clearly isn't the time to bring it up but my frustration got the best of me.

If you want to discuss it with me we can start another thread (again) or just take it to email.
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Charles Auer, Photo Editor, Photographer
Waukesha | Wi | USA | Posted: 11:56 PM on 05.30.13
->> I work for a small town paper and our rates are better than those. ...not by much, but still.

What I still don't get is why visual journalism is so devalued. We have a culture where people think reporters can "snap" some pictures to carry the page. Too often, management doesn't realize how strong images drive readership and sales.
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 12:18 AM on 05.31.13
->> I will say this. Those are the rates for the suburb papers. Not sure if city assignments are the same.. That I could not tell you. Just from the 2 burb papers I've been in contact with, that's the rate.

Now, the local competition in NW Indiana (which is covered by a Sun-Times paper) pays just slightly better:

$115 - sports
$60 - News

And for sports they want photos uploaded for sale on MyCapture which some photographers do and some just ignore. Plus their deadlines are much more insane. Sun-Times is pretty lax about their deadlines, or have been. They were always 9:30/10:30 Drop Dead. Since they closed all the local offices they switched to 9:00 which isn't bad but still 10:30 was always that drop dead time. The other local paper, you may have a baseball game at 7PM and an 8:15 deadline, which means if you are extremely good with your PM workflow you might be able to shoot for 45 minutes.. Anyway, not the point. Rates at least in the burbs are comparable..
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 12:59 AM on 05.31.13
->> Thomas talked about being able to afford a gun to end the dispair - it will be much worse for the folks running the Sun Times.

I'm truly sorry to hear about this. Jim is correct - the rest of the staff should strike...but no one dares to do that in this day and age.
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 1:58 AM on 05.31.13
->> Who wants to place wagers on the writers being next? I've just talked to someone that said they want to be more like the Huffington Post without staff writers, just contributors....
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Michael Myers, Photographer
Miami | Florida | USA | Posted: 2:37 AM on 05.31.13
->> Within not that many years, I predict that just about all the professional photographers involved in the news industry will be wearing Google Glass, and regular cameras and mobile phones will be extinct.

Those people not wearing Google Glass will be wearing something similar from one of the dozen competitors.



Sorry about the story, and how it much be affecting so many people - how many years until the whole paper goes the way of the Ann Arbor News, and simply stops. Which may happen to most of their competitors.

(Also wondering, how many of us get our "news" from Google?)
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Roger Davis, Photographer, Photo Editor
Russiaville | IN | USA | Posted: 7:48 AM on 05.31.13
->> The comment from Clark Brooks is, possibly, the hard truth for anyone who still holds a staff photographer job. Their newspaper controls ad space. A few days advertising for daytime, evening and weekend freelance photographers would likely garnish more applicants than they could interview. Then so long to the staff photographers with one maybe retained to manage the freelancers, but that person doesn't need to be a photographer in the eyes of newspaper managers.

I do shoot some freelance for a small weekly paper. They have several on their "list'. An e-mail is sent out to all with requested assignments then those who reply first get them. (I have written confirmation that I can still sell any photo after first publishing of the event which supplements the freelance pay just a little. Of course, this does not apply to college/pro stuff since the paper doesn't have the say.)

The larger venues have some power in that they can limit photographer access if they choose to "qualified" photographers. Not sure who the event staff has on hand to make that determination, though.
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Scott Serio, Photo Editor, Photographer
Colora | MD | USA | Posted: 8:16 AM on 05.31.13
->> The point about the IRS and "employee" is an interesting one several have made. At what point do independent contractors (freelancers) become employees? Seems like a very high-end game for such a huge paper to be playing.

Say it again...they just ran up the white flag to the Tribune and surrendered - and they don't even know it yet.

In reality, their digital product might survive, but the Sun-Times will see what happens to the print product when, over and over, they just don't have any images worthy of a Front or Sports Front.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 9:44 AM on 05.31.13
->> "Who wants to place wagers on the writers being next?"

More papers will see the light and expect a domino effect as papers around the country slowly release their photo staff. During that time staff reporters will dwindle and become contract or freelancers. IMHO, writers are in a far worse position than photographers. With a camera body and a lens or two, a shooter can do weddings and portraits and develop an income stream. I think it would much harder for a writer to hit the ground running generating enough income from writing stories after a sudden layoff.

I can guarantee you that staff writers/reporters are next. Copy editors will be the last to leave the newsroom leaving only editors and fact checkers.

From the perspective of a financier, along having seen and been a part of similar operation, here is what no photographer and reporter will want to here: In today's news world papers do not need an editorial staff. Quite honestly, if you look at the history of newspapers, the dynamics that led papers to hire reporters and later photographers no longer exist.

When this time comes, the only reason a paper/publisher may keep a writer or photographer on staff for one of two reasons. The first being the individual may pose a threat to their advertising revenue either by working for the competition or creating a competing product. Second, the paper may want to maintain exclusive distribution of the stories/photos they produce to drive and maintain certain readers.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 10:48 AM on 05.31.13
->> "$90 - Sports
$60 - News, be it daily, feature, etc."

I'll ask again because the rates mean nothing without the answer to these two questions: 1.) Is there mileage compensation included with these rates? 2.) How many images are expected to be transmitted to the paper?

While price may seem important, the more important concern to me if I was a photographer in the Chicago market is what ownership rights does the company want transferred. To me the rights conveyed are equally or more important than the fee. They key to successful in the new paradigm isn't so much the fee, but the rights negotiated between the photographer and the paper as well as his/her ability to generate income from images submitted or created from an assignment.

For me (and I think this should be true for every photographer), it is more important to maintain and control image rights so that income can be generated from additional or future editorial use. Additional means allowing other editorial clients to license the image(s) or for the creation of editorial products I create. The goal is to maximize the potential income from any assignment and conveying the wrong level of rights would be detrimental to my business model.

As an example, if the paper wanted 10 captioned images from a prep football game (assuming they are not paying a mileage fee) which includes print rights, web display and reprint sales (uploading to retail site like my capture), I would refer them to someone else. There are plenty of clients willing to pay more than $9/image and I retain all the rights.

OTOH, the same parameters except there is no embargoes, with one time print rights, unlimited web rights (with the story) and no reprint rights transferred, I would accept the assignment.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling most of those laid off will be unable to make their decision on whether or not to accept an assignment based on the rights management. I wish them all the best of luck in the coming months as they either move on to other careers or grow their freelance business.
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Mike Burley, Photographer
Dubuque | IA | USA | Posted: 11:26 AM on 05.31.13
->> Good luck having communication between staffers and freelancers on daily news assignments. Its hard enough to get everyone on the same page when people are coming and going all day long. Can you imagine what it'll be like when the photo department NEVER enters the news room? Despite how organized and talented a freelancer is, there's no replacement for the staffer who attends budget meetings, knows staff writers' tendencies, and has that last second chat with the photo editor before heading out on assignment. Say goodbye to anything that resembles a well planned out story.

Not knocking freelancers, I used to be one. I had plenty of head-scratching moments when sent out with little instruction - As a freelancer in Chicago, at least once a week I'd show up at an address for a portrait only to find a subject who wasn't expecting me.. or no one home at all. Some weeks this would happen 2-3 times. I got paid regardless, so I didn't really care, but it made me long for the staffing days for sure when I could be part of the planning process.
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Michael Prengler, Photographer
Dallas / Ft. Worth | TX | USA | Posted: 11:26 AM on 05.31.13
->> I think it's cool that they can now imbed video in a printed paper...wow technology is really blazing ahead.

"The Sun-Times business is changing rapidly and our audiences are consistently seeking more video content with their news."

Pretty much stating the obvious here but the print version of the paper has become a footnote.

I'm guessing the Sun-Times vision going forward is put everything behind a digital version of the paper with videos imbeded, real-time updates etc.

I personally don't watch news videos unless it's spot news action.

The part of this business model that I don't seem to grasp is that with Instagram and the likes as well as the phone manufacturers battling to come out with better still cameras on their phones it seems like you would want to show the world what your staff is capable of. You know, millions of photojournalist roaming the world but we here at the paper have some of the best.

It looks like managment at the paper has taken the same view on photography that others seem to have, "Wow that's a neat camera, I bet it takes great photos."
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Chris Peterson, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbia Falls | MT | USA | Posted: 11:40 AM on 05.31.13
->> I thought the Sun-Times was on the skids anyway. This sounds like the beginning of the end of the newspaper.
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 1:24 PM on 05.31.13
->> Someone had asked if the laid off photographers could freelance for the paper. I was told last night by a reporter they could, but they would have to wait 1 year to do so and it was something to do with IRS rules.. which I don't quite believe because there was a local staffer that left for another job and then went back to freelance almost immediately, actually 2 of them, one from each of the locals. One left for other employment, one was fired. They were both freelancing right away, so that makes no sense to me.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 2:50 PM on 05.31.13
->> Sorry, it's just me but if I was fired in such an underhanded way there is NO way in hell I would work for these idiots. I would work all right...I would make it my mission in life to see them go out of busines by helping every one of their competitors. A very dark day for journalists everywhere.
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Jim Colburn, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 3:45 PM on 05.31.13
->> http://jimromenesko.com/2013/05/31/fake-sun-times-ireporter-ad-any-journali.../
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Jim Colburn, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 3:47 PM on 05.31.13
->> http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/assignment-chicago/2013/05/the-idiocy-o...
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Jim Colburn, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 3:48 PM on 05.31.13
->> http://www.chicagotribune.com/videogallery/76112703/Video-Laid-off-Sun-Time...
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Keith Simonian, Photographer
Martinez | CA | USA | Posted: 4:48 PM on 05.31.13
->> "The Sun-Times executives dropped their cigarette ashes all over my friends yesterday."

http://rambllingmadman.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-trib-sun-times-and-180-degr...
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Erik Markov, Photographer, Assistant
Indianapolis | IN | | Posted: 4:55 PM on 05.31.13
->> fake Craigslist ad doesn't really seem too far off....


http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/crg/3839693515.html
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Erik Markov, Photographer, Assistant
Indianapolis | IN | | Posted: 5:08 PM on 05.31.13
->> sorry Jim I didn't see yours.... screen was scrolled up
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 6:23 PM on 05.31.13
->> The technology is making it easier for just about anyone to get a photo. Then we end up helping shoot ourselves in the foot with articles like this from the Olympics: http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/3/3216616/olympics-iphone-photography

I still think if you are a "photojournalist" and not a technician with a camera then you bring more to the story. However, I would argue many in our profession are just technicians with a camera. When the technology makes it simpler to use then these folks cannot justify their existence.

Even when we are doing great work like John White we then have another problem those we give our work to that then deliver it to the audience can affect its impact almost as much as the photojournalist.

Personally I think too many are thinking "either or" rather than "and."

They try to attract a new younger audience and rather than figuring out how to keep their present audience "and" add the other they choose to abandon the old and try to go for the new.

I think there is one solution that will solve the problem and that is the subscribers and advertisers all just cancel their contracts. Since that isn't happening at any publication that I know of the trend will continue. How else will they learn their lesson if no one votes where it counts--the subscription and advertising.
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Frank Niemeir, Photographer
Woodstock | GA | usa | Posted: 7:12 PM on 05.31.13
->> But then from that blog there is a link to "And lets take a look at the big guns…" http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2012/08/london_2012_olympics.html with good examples of what phone photography can't do, at least in 2013. I don't think the sports writers will be taking iPhone photos from the press box, or of the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup playoffs with an iPhone.
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Joe Ahlquist, Student/Intern
Winona | mn | USA | Posted: 7:23 PM on 05.31.13
->> “Humanity is being robbed,” he said, “by people with money on their minds.” - John H. White - http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/top-stories/215016/john-white-on-sun-tim.../
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Stephen DiBrito, Photographer
Elmhurst | IL | | Posted: 9:03 PM on 05.31.13
->> There is nothing like the captured emotion and the unspoken story told by a great still photograph. Maybe the corporate world thinks that the bottom line can be propped up by having a beat reporter multitask with his iPhone, but the purists in this society will hold onto the images taken by the professional photographer who freezes the world's memory for perpituity.
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Paul Hayes, Photographer, Photo Editor
Littleton | NH | USA | Posted: 9:45 PM on 05.31.13
->> So when will Sun Times readers start to notice the difference? I think we should all hope that people actually do notice it. If not, other papers -- big, medium and small -- might just shrug their shoulders and follow suit.
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Jim Colburn, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 11:43 PM on 05.31.13
->> "How the Internet Killed Photojournalism"

http://petapixel.com/2013/05/30/how-the-internet-killed-photojournalism/
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Nik Habicht, Photographer
Levittown | PA | USA | Posted: 12:57 AM on 06.01.13
->> Clark Brooks wrote: "To other staff photographers: I would seriously consider this a warning shot over your bow. If you haven't started building a war chest and planning parachute strategy, the time to start is today."

I was laid off/bought out/had my job eliminated by the Trenton Times in 2006. I was not prepared at the time. I wasted 8 months looking for work as a photographer, before applying to and attending nursing school. That delay had me graduating in the first year of the nursing surplus in the Northeast -- and it took 10 months to find a job. Had I graduated a year earlier, the hospital where I attended school would have offered me a job, upon graduation. That delay on both ends, easily cost me $100,000.

If you're working as a staff photographer currently, I hope you have your own photography business on the side, and that in the event of a layoff, you'd be able to develop that into supporting you quickly. If you don't it's high time to consider a plan B -- and to prepare for it now, whether it means a return to school, starting a business, writing a book, starting a blog.

I know it's hard to walk away from a career you love. I remain a member here, largely because of nostalgia for my former profession. That said, none of you are just photographers -- you're individuals of diverse talents and experiences who are also photographers. You can support yourselves, and even be happy doing it, in other professions.

Think and work toward that plan -- if you're fortunate enough to remain in photojournalism, the learning will only inform your future work with new experience and perspective. If the bottom falls out, at least you'll take the news slightly easier knowing that you have a safety net in place.

Best of luck!
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 9:01 AM on 06.01.13
->> This has been a powerful thread - thanks for starting it, Jim.

Some points that need to be reinforced: The warning from Clark, Nik and others is real, obviously. Nik had the courage to jump to a completely different endeavor and is better off - what the suits at the Chicago Sun Times are counting on is that you won't and you'll be forced to work for peanuts. The best way to beat them is not to play the game. IF you choose another branch of photography, do your homework. There are new skills required and most of them are business related. I highly suggest joining PPA because they offer lots of business related training if you're going in studio/portrait/wedding work.

Finally, Paul asked when the Sun Times crap will hit the fan. Typically, Paul, not as fast as you would think. But what will happen is that competitors will attack on two fronts: The ad sales people will start trying to take more dollars from advertisers advertising in the Sun Times. The approach will be smooth, but it will essentially be "compare our product to theirs." Perhaps followed by a special "deal'. That will take a little time, but if it works at all, it will reduce the Sun Times revenue even more - and the Sun Times will speed up sliding down the slippery slope.

The other papers will more than likely make a push to attract new subscribers - again using the lack of coverage as a weapon. Suburban newspapers, who cover a specific area, will have a real advantage here if it's properly done.

Both will have the same effect: They will draw dollars away from the Sun Times - that was what I was trying to spit out in my original thread. The Sun Times will then be forced to either cut more staff - and accelerate the decline - or try to reverse positions to regain lost revenue and market share. That is very hard to do unless you put, in their case, significant resources behind it - which they won't do. If they were going to commit dollars - they already would have.

I'll conclude with a quote from Edmund Burke from the 1700's iirc "We must all obey the great law of change, it is the most powerful in nature." If you understand that, and obey it - you'll probably be ok. Failure to do so, on the other hand, gets you tossed under the bus of change.

God luck.
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