Photographers Replaced By iPhones

I’m just not sure how I feel about this one…newspaper

I know this is old news but have you heard about the latest move by the Chicago Sun-Times? A couple of weeks ago they fired nearly 30 full-time photographers, including a Pulitzer Prize winner, opting instead to gain their photos by arming their reporters with iPhones. I have read that “The reporters will be responsible for taking their own ‘in the field’ pictures  and sourcing photos from witnesses.”   This means if they miss the shot with their phone they will then find others standing around with cell phones and ask if anyone else got the shot.

I understand that sells of actual paper newspapers are down; in fact I hear that print media as a whole is struggling these days, while more and more people get their news online. But really…cell phone pictures??

The reporters are to be trained in “iPhone photography basics, as well as capturing and editing video on iOS, and uploading it to the appropriate social sites.”  Social sites?! Is this really the way to save print media?! Why send reporters out at all? Just log into Twitter and see what’s going on. Good grief Charlie Brown.

Ok. I know you can take a good enough picture on an iPhone. Well, I can’t, but I’ve seen others who can. I’m just not so sure this is going to work well for a newspaper. Especially one the size of the Chicago Sun-Times. After all there is a lot more to capturing a photo than just pointing and clicking. And I don’t think that poor quality cell phone images are going to sell a lot of papers. I kind of think they may have shot themselves in the foot with this one. I really think that the public eye will notice a big difference between a quick cell phone shot and a story told by a professionally trained photojournalist with years of experience. I tend to agree with John over at America Blog “Photography is a skill, and at its best, an art.  Just because you’re a great reporter does not mean that you’ll be an even passable photographer.” And yes; I’ve never been a photojournalist out in the field on the scene of a horrific disaster but I still think he’s got something there. And again I say; really…cell phone pictures?? At least give them a nice point and shoot.

Now I’m a fan of the “man on the street” view; you know getting the opinion of eye witnesses. I’m also a fan of all those shots taken by people who happen to be in the right place at the right time no matter what the camera used. There are times when we wouldn’t know what was going on somewhere if those people weren’t there when they were. And for those times when all you need is a quick shot; sure have those reporters pull out their iPhones. I even use mine! But when I want the whole story I want it told with an awesome photo.

I guess maybe I really did have an opinion on this after all.

Have a great weekend everyone; I’m off to visit family and maybe even take a side trip to the little ol’ zoo to snap a shot or two of a cute furry critter. I’ll take that over controversy any day.

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3 thoughts on “Photographers Replaced By iPhones”

  1. I wonder where photography is going sometimes when I see so so many people using their phones and tablets (holding those up to take a photo really looks goofy to me) to take a photo and never a camera. I use my phone sometimes but it cannot compare to a film or DSLR camera.

  2. There’s a difference between someone taking a picture and being a photographer. I’ve no idea of the financial status of the Sun-Times but this sounds to me like a desperate act by a newspaper in trouble. We’ll know soon enough.

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