Chicago Sun-Times lays off its entire photography staff

SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 703Member
edited May 2013 in General Discussions
I just saw this headline.

The guy that got me away from my Contax system and over to Nikon was a Chicago Newspaper photographer: I met him on a flight coming back from China. This was years ago, though. Nowadays it's not a good time to be a photojournalist in traditional dead-tree print media.
Post edited by Symphotic on
Jack Roberts
"Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
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Comments

  • JohnJohn Posts: 134Member
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Leads one to think that they are now going to rely on freelance photographers shooting on their iPhone...maybe. Very foolish on their part if you ask me.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,389Moderator
    Or agencies perhaps?
    Always learning.
  • shawninoshawnino Posts: 453Member
    Odd. I thought they were shifting their focus to being more local.
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,304Member
    heh. maybe they should have let go more of their print staff and gone for a more photos layout look. This was probably inevitable anyway, given the situation here in the Chicago area.
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • JohnJohn Posts: 134Member
    @Dissent: What's that situation in the Chicago area? The same general economic problems as we see across the globe or something different? I don't live near the area, hence my question.

    I think they will start to rely on "the people" to provide the images.
    A few years ago news coverage was done by professionals.
    Now it seems that even television networks just feed us low resolution youtube clips.
  • VipmediastarVipmediastar Posts: 55Member
    Earlier this year I called a big wedding photo company from Chicago. They said they were not hiring photographers or backup photographers. This seems kinda scary and sad.
    www.vipmediastar.com
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator

    From:http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-chicago-sun-times-photo-20130530,0,4361142.story

    The Chicago Sun-Times has laid off its entire photography staff, and plans to use freelance photographers and reporters to shoot photos and video going forward, the newspaper said.

    A total of 28 full-time staffers received the news Thursday morning at a meeting held at the Sun-Times offices in Chicago, according to sources familiar with the situation. The layoffs are effective immediately.
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    It seems to be the trend towards video and motion media combined with photography and possibly with writing skills as well.

    The Associated Press made a clear distinction in the early seventies in union agreements that one was either a photographer or a writer, not both. The trend now in news reporting is to go for both.

    Clearly, in acquisition of media, that tread is for video and stills. I suspect that some skill of editing will have to come along, too, although how much is questionable.

    I don't know that this needs to be such a sad day. Good photographers can stay good photographers and also be good videographers, too. Those skills aren't mutually exclusive, and both skills will be necessary for visually telling good stories.

    I do think that the photographers at the Sun-Times need to file a Grievance (it seems like a lack of good faith on the part of management - come on), but video can be a skill-set the photographers can learn and profit from in delivering news.

    My best,

    Mike
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,304Member
    @Dissent: What's that situation in the Chicago area? The same general economic problems as we see across the globe or something different? I don't live near the area, hence my question.
    I don't have special knowledge; just casual observations by living in the area. The Sun-Times has been on a faster track to obscurity than the Tribune for a while, so is just getting there sooner, IMHO.
    A few years ago news coverage was done by professionals.
    Now it seems that even television networks just feed us low resolution youtube clips.
    Is this exacerbating our short attention span culture? Hmmm . . .

    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    Okaaayyy...and here in West Palm Beach there was a recent TV news report basically stating that if you see someone photographing a bridge or building without a "person" in the foreground then it might be OK to call the authorities to report this as suspicious behaviour. What the hell!! Photographers seem to be catching it from several different angles.
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • Announced yesterday. In sweden, starting the 1e of july a new law is implemented for private photography, publishing on twitter, facebook and youtube.

    You are not allowed to make photos on the street, in the gardens, and on private parties and put footage on the internet without permission. How this is going to work in practice, nobody knows.

    There is an exeption made for journalists and press photographers.
    Those who say it can't be done, should not interrupt those doing it!
  • BlinkingeyeBlinkingeye Posts: 21Member
    edited May 2013
    If I were one of the guys getting laid off I would likely view this as an opportunity. Team up with a couple of the others being laid off, go to management with a contract in hand, saying sign this contract to provide outside service photo/video. Who else has the relationships built and knows better what the paper wants that someone that use to work there. The paper's decision is based on money not the personalities or the need. They are just looking for cheaper delivery of the same content.
    Post edited by Blinkingeye on
  • shawninoshawnino Posts: 453Member
    B-Eye... I'm not familiar with Illinois labour law, but even that's legal, which it may well be, you don't need a D4 with a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 attached to know that the optics of that situation would be far, far short of a pretty picture. I lived in Chicago long enough to know you don't want to be labeled a union-buster.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,389Moderator
    edited May 2013
    @dissent said:
    Is this exacerbating our short attention span culture? Hmmm . . .

    Well said, I have always felt that problem is going to haunt future generations for some time to come I am sure.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,304Member
    Announced yesterday. In sweden, starting the 1e of july a new law is implemented for private photography, publishing on twitter, facebook and youtube.

    You are not allowed to make photos on the street, in the gardens, and on private parties and put footage on the internet without permission. How this is going to work in practice, nobody knows.

    There is an exeption made for journalists and press photographers.
    I don't get this, Ton. Does that mean tourists to Sweden can't post their vacation pictures they take around town on Flickr, Facebook, etc. without running afoul of this law?

    Crazytalkin'.

    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited May 2013
    I am just the messenger dissent, in Sweden you only need a million approvals, that is all :)
    Post edited by [Deleted User] on
    Those who say it can't be done, should not interrupt those doing it!
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,304Member
    yeah, I know it's not you, Ton. The whole thing just sounds like a full employment act for Swedish lawyers. Say, can't we just post an approval form and announcement "in the cloud". I think the cloud is supposed to be the new tech savior anyways.
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    Not that I'm a Ken Rockwell proponent, but he did have an interesting take on this very topic. It's not pretty, but it's the reality of the entire news business.
  • ElvisheferElvishefer Posts: 329Member
    Depressing.
    D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 24-70mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4G, 200mm f/4 Micro, 105mm f/2.8 VRII Micro, 35mm f/1.8, 2xSB900, 1xSB910, R1C1, RRS Support...

    ... And no time to use them.
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    It is Elvis, but it's become a freelancers' world. 25 years ago I decided I was going to freelance full time (I'm a writer) and I have to say I make a lot more money than if I were employed by a single place (and have a TON more personal flexibility). Granted, it works for my many employers too, as they don't have to pay benefits and they only pay for the portion of my services that they actually need. And when they want someone with a different specialty than my own, they hire that writer instead of me, and I go find someone who needs what I do. My wife has always had a straight job, so we get health insurance through her (for you non-US members, this is a huge deal). I'll also say that the few times I've hit dry spells have been a little scary, but over time those have been few and far between and have been outweighed by the increased income.
    Back when I started, people didn't really understand what freelancing meant. I distinctly remember my dad asking me, "So wait, you're not going to have a job?" If these ex-Sun shooters are good and understand how to market themselves (no different than being a good freelance wedding photographer), then they may very well make more money.
  • FlowtographyBerlinFlowtographyBerlin Posts: 477Member

    Is this exacerbating our short attention span culture? Hmmm . . .
    Very well said. Sadly.
  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 703Member
    edited May 2013
    I used to be the guy who got sent out by HQ to lay people off. I told one really talented manager that he could always start out on his own, but he decided to go on the dole instead. He told me it was easy for me to tell people to start their own business, but I had no idea what that was really like.
    I thought about that a bit and a year later I started my own small business making industrial cameras. Now i do know what it is like: it doesn't pay as well as working for a big company, but I've been doing it for over ten years now and would never go back.
    The good photographers who reaaly want to photograph will do fine. There are lots of opportunities out there!
    Post edited by Symphotic on
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • The photography world is changing very fast these days. Photoclubs average member age is 50. Photos are now taken with mobile phones, tablets and small camera's and put direct on the internet to show.

    Look at the video from Adobe. Photos made with your Phone or tablet, edit it with Photoshop Touch. When you want more, bring it to Photoshop on your desktop and put it in the cloud.

    That is not the future, that is now.
    Those who say it can't be done, should not interrupt those doing it!
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited June 2013
    After looking at this thread for a couple days I do feel very sad. Maybe not as a result of the fact photography is changing, but just the idea we are changing so rapidly and I am not so certain change is always good.

    I am of the opinion that a single moment in time will never be replaced by a video. Two different medias. And, the eventual loss of newspapers, another event I am saddened by.

    We may be looking at the pendulum swinging toward one end and at some point in the future there will be print media returning, possibly with some new technology...scannable articles so one can see a video if they want by reading that funny code....?
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
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