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Chicago Sun-Times axes all staff photographers, offers reporters 'iPhoneography training' - Page 4

post #121 of 184

I know the entire market took a -1% hit yesterday but NINOY (Nikon) was down over 2% and  CAJ (Canon) was down over 4%. With the Yen being weaker I would have expect less of a drop for these two stocks. Perhaps these are good shorts considering the trend of firing photographers.

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post #122 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

No but taking a video of a plane crashing, because you just happen to be in the right spot at the right time might just outweigh that slightly.

It's hard to embed video in a newspaper.
post #123 of 184
Originally Posted by Thecisco View Post
…why didn't they just train the staff who got fired on the iPhone instead? Everyone would have been happy. The paper got what they wanted and the photographers kept their jobs.

 

Because they just didn't want to pay them anymore. That's really it. They can pay a freelancer WAY less money than a salaried professional photographer. 


Originally Posted by jungmark View Post
It's hard to embed video in a newspaper.

 

Ten years from now this will be a laughable sentence. 

post #124 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


That's true.  However, when most news is online and pictures are usually no more than 800x600, and printed magazines are slowly going out of style and read on tablets, SLR quality is not a necessity methink.  It's sad.

I could make the opposite case.   Now that most newspapers are online and the majority of photos are printed in color, you need higher quality than the age when photos were printed on cheap newsprint with low resolution screen printing.   

 

But this isn't just about the technical quality of photographs.    The best photo-journalism combines visual "facts" with art.    It's not just about capturing the moment.    Why don't they just fire all the reporters as well and rely upon Twitter and Facebook postings to gather the news?      

 

The other problem with using an iPhone is that the photos can be too easily manipulated without any record of the original image, since the iPhone is not a file-based device.    With a pro or semi-pro DSLR, you always have the original raw file (if proper procedures are followed).  When you manipulate the photo in Photoshop or other such apps, the original raw file is untouched, the adjustments are all in a "sidecar" file.   

 

While I understand that printed newspapers are largely dying and that the main source of income for these newspapers, classified advertising, is long gone and that there's also a tremendous reduction in display advertising as marketing dollars have moved to the web, when they take steps like this, they're simply signing a suicide pact.    I expect my newspaper to at least have the pretense of being professional.   It's one thing to give iPhones to reporters to catch things that happen when photographers aren't around or simply to record a record of their reporting and investigations, but it's quite another to fire all pro photographers.   Do they really think that any of the reporters are ever going to again capture a photo that can win a Pulitzer Prize?     

 

I love my iPhone and the best camera to have is the one that you carry with you, but when I want to accomplish something serious, I drag out my Nikon and big, heavy lenses.    It's a pain, but it's the best way to achieve anything resembling quality.    Giving journalists iPhones to take photos is the equivalent of giving photographers "Brownie" cameras in the 1950s-60s.  No one did that.    Pro journalists originally used either large format cameras like the Graflex Speed Graphic or medium format cameras like the Rolleiflex until Leica and Nikon rangefinders came along, with the Nikon beginning in 1948.   Nikon lenses were used on a Leica body by photo journalist David Duncan, who was covering the Korean War.    When the prints were sent to New York publishers, they wondered why this guy was using an 8x10 camera in a war zone - that's how good they looked.   After that, many photo journalists switched to 35mm, especially after the Nikon F SLR was released in 1959 and Canon after that.   Even the paparazzi still use DSLRs and they don't give a damn about quality - they're just trying to catch (famous) people at their worst.  

post #125 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I know the entire market took a -1% hit yesterday but NINOY (Nikon) was down over 2% and  CAJ (Canon) was down over 4%. With the Yen being weaker I would have expect less of a drop for these two stocks. Perhaps these are good shorts considering the trend of firing photographers.

I think that's completely unrelated.    Nikon and Canon have been trending down largely because point and shoot cameras are in serious decline due to the advent of higher quality smartphone cameras.    (If you don't care about quality, you might as well use your smartphone).    And DSLRs are down as well.   Canon being down twice as much as Nikon indicates that something else is at play because Canon is a far larger and far more diverse company than Nikon.  

 

Shipments of Japanese DSLR cameras for the first three months of the year are down 23%, mirrorless cameras are down 19% (a surprise, since this was supposed to be a growth market) and point-and-shoot cameras are down 48% over previous year.    25 photographers getting fired has no substantive impact on these numbers.  This has far more to do with the economy, especially in Japan and Europe.    Some European countries have unemployment rates among young men of 25 to 50%.    Those people aren't spending money on photography (or much of anything else for that matter.)   The U.S. economy looks fantastic in comparison.   

 

In addition, Nikon and Canon don't make the bulk of their earnings at the high end.   The profits are all in the middle - in the "enthusiast" lines.     Nikon doesn't sell that many D4s ($6000 body) and Canon doesn't sell that many EOS-1Dx's ($6800 body).    Of course, if every newspaper decided to fire all their photographers, then there would probably be impact.     But one of the biggest areas of journalistic still photography is sports and one is not capturing any decent closeups that stop action with an iPhone.   It still requires a 600 to 800mm reach, the ability to shoot many frames per second and a low-noise sensor.  So I don't think sports photographers are going away.    The Chicago Sun-Times may have fired their staff photographers, but my bet is that any number of the photographers come back as freelancers.    Part of this is a game to show how payroll was reduced.   

post #126 of 184
It is just part of the pathetic and inexorable dumbing down of all graphical standards worldwide, and nobody cares.
post #127 of 184
In all likelihood, this decision is driven by cost. Staff photographers cost serious money, and print newspapers are bleeding cash. They're all looking for ways to cut costs or they'll go out of business. They may be just putting off the inevitable, but it's like a sick patient who'll do anything to feel better.
post #128 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

This is stupid. Being a good photographer isn't just training. It's experience and creativity that's makes them shine. Just because you can take a pic of your cat doesn't make you a prof photog.

But in the world of news gathering, nobody is looking for an artistic shot with just the right DOF. The purpose of news photography is to capture the moment and convey real-time events. In this respect, you can be trained to take photos and don't need to have an ounce of artistic talent in order to shoot for newspapers.

post #129 of 184

  There's Photojournalism and there's pictures of things in newspapers.  Many newspapers don't use the former for 95% of their images.  Having a staff of photojournalists of any size larger than three is going the way of the dodo bird except for the publications who really pride themselves on their own images.  The bean counters hold the reins and my opinion that it's a shame is hypocritical since I've barely bought a newspaper in an eternity and I barely pay attention to the images on the places where I do read my news.

 

(And I'm a professional photographer.)

post #130 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

It's hard to embed video in a newspaper.

Not a Harry Potter fan, I take it......
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post #131 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

This is stupid. Being a good photographer isn't just training. It's experience and creativity that's makes them shine. Just because you can take a pic of your cat doesn't make you a prof photog.

This is actually a challenge to good photographers. Step up your game and learn the essentials of on-the-scene reporting. At my business, I'm responsible for everything except for the few things I hire out. One has to take on more responsibilities to survive in this world.

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post #132 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

And in other news, all Holywood directors and cinematographers have been fired. in their place, LA taxi cab drivers have been given iPhones, and 15 minutes of training, to shoot all future feature films. A Holywood studio executive stated, " who needs to spend all this money on artistic talent when any three year old with an iPhone can do this job".

Haha! That's not how "Hollywood" works. Movies are (more often than not) independently developed with outside financing and everyone works independently or with an LLC formed for the sole purpose of making that movie, unless a big studio brings in a group of people to work on one of their properties. There is no "Hollywood", just projects and hired talent. The studios are still "the" way to get a major movie advertised and distributed.
Edited by SpamSandwich - 6/1/13 at 11:33am

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post #133 of 184

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Edited by kellya74u - 7/24/13 at 8:36am
post #134 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by kellya74u View Post

Articles say businesses are struggling under the new health care requirements, that they will have to let some employees go in to maintain the current coverage for the other employees. The Sun-Times appears to have done just that with their professional photographers, whom they have deemed least important to the company. Doing away with professionals is becoming common. That's how the garment buildings in Bangladesh are built. They literally, don't stand the test of time!

I'm so thankful I own a small business and have no employees. It's tough to lay off people who are good workers, but especially tough if the reason is due to regulatory or legal stupidity.

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post #135 of 184
As a seasoned reporter AND photographer AND a guy with a journalism degree my take on this is quite serious. It's not only an unprofessional move that will yield unprofessional results but also puts the responsibility of taking good/representative photo images on the back of the reporter. And, btw, the reporters won't, I'd bet, be paid extra for shots they take as photojournalists and neither will the public.
The C-Sun Times was the the birthplace of many journalistic "firsts".....this isn't one of them.
post #136 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by ronstark View Post

As a seasoned reporter AND photographer AND a guy with a journalism degree my take on this is quite serious. It's not only an unprofessional move that will yield unprofessional results but also puts the responsibility of taking good/representative photo images on the back of the reporter. And, btw, the reporters won't, I'd bet, be paid extra for shots they take as photojournalists and neither will the public.
The C-Sun Times was the the birthplace of many journalistic "firsts".....this isn't one of them.

On the other hand, the alternative is " you're fired." Is that preferable? Newspapers are dying and must make a painful transition or disappear.

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post #137 of 184

Photos will all be wire service and freebie junk submitted by wannabes.  

 

The Sun Times is obviously in its death throes and Chicago is about to become a one newspaper town.  

post #138 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark Addison View Post

Photos will all be wire service and freebie junk submitted by wannabes.  

The Sun Times is obviously in its death throes and Chicago is about to become a one newspaper town.  

Possibly a zero newspaper town... but honestly who reads a paper anymore? Everything I read or peruse opinions is digital these days.

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post #139 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by StruckPaper View Post

 

 

If this story accurately represents what Chicago Sun-Times is planning to do, it is not a decision about iPhonegraphy being good enough tools. It is a decision to forsake photography as an important tool.

 

 

Art f**ing haters!

Just look at current HollyWood. 

In the end art is the only window to the soul of any society / civilization.

post #140 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post


It's hard to embed video in a newspaper.

...a newspaper website?

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post #141 of 184
There's technology, and there's talent. Everybody can have the first one. The second one can't be easily imbued, only developed in people who already show promise.
post #142 of 184
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post #143 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

Here's what happens when you send out a reporter with a camera. 1cool.gif

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57587080-504083/oklahoma-city-reporter-nathaniel-campfield-arrested-suspected-of-taking-upskirt-photos/

 

From that story:

 

Quote:
Even though they found no evidence of [censored] taking inappropriate photos, police arrested him....

 

Lovely. The guy is reporting on a graduation ceremony, brushes up against the crowd, and they react by calling the police to arrest him.  I think people need to be a little less hysterical.  Seems to me the reporter is the victim in this story, even if he did make some women "feel uncomfortable".  Sometimes that's a reporters job.

 

Back to the Sun-Times firing all their photographers.  I guess we're all feeling good by taking the side of the photographers here, and ridiculing the paper's managers, but let us remember that we're only getting one side of the story, and it's possible that the Sun-Times did review the quality of the photos they were getting from their staff photographers lately, vs. those they were getting from cheaper sources, and that the decision was easy.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But I wouldn't expect we're reading the whole story here.  One lucky Pulitzer-winning photo from years ago does not make an excellent photo crew today.

post #144 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

In a few years smart phone cameras will continue to progress to the point that they are nearly as good as dedicated cameras. Already there are some phones using CMOS sensors with optical zoom available by Sharp and Toshiba in Japan. 

 

In other words, phones that are getting to the quality level of existing compact consumer zoom cameras, like the Nikon Coolpix.

Be that as it may, photography is not about gadgets or specs, but the skill of the photographer. Plenty of amateur DSLR shooters out there who have never taken their fancy camera out of "P" (or "AUTO") mode, and wouldn't know what to do if they did. It doesn't make them Ansel Adams.

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post #145 of 184
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Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Not a Harry Potter fan, I take it......

I am, but I think the Ministry uses gifs (pronounced jiffs 1smile.gif)
post #146 of 184
This must have been said a number of times here, but photography is very little to do with the device, it's who's behind it. Unfortunately today's media and consumers seem resistant to appreciating that.

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post #147 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Because they just didn't want to pay them anymore. That's really it. They can pay a freelancer WAY less money than a salaried professional photographer. 

 

That is actually a possible death sentence for the publication. Freelancers in any industry charge more for the same amount of work to make up for the taxes, inconsistency, etc. If they aren't getting that, it decreases the quality of talent that they attract. There's a false notion that people are lined up, yet if it was the case, these companies would have made a similar culling years ago.

 

Quote:

 

Ten years from now this will be a laughable sentence.

 

You already have publications that can be viewed on your phone. Everyone has a phone. Tablets could push it even further, but really they need to be dirt cheap to achieve real volume. If it's something you care about or wouldn't want to leave in your car, it's not a great replacement to to the distribution of a printed publication that was essentially disposable. I also think you have the issue of cultural shifts. Magazines and newspapers involved paid content. You still looked at ads, but you paid a certain price to pick it up. I haven't looked up the numbers, but it would be interesting to know what Conde Nast or Time has today in terms of digital subscriptions paid by people in their 20s and maybe 30s.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


On the other hand, the alternative is " you're fired." Is that preferable? Newspapers are dying and must make a painful transition or disappear.

It's more of a delay tactic here. I'm not sure this will really create a viable path to restructuring. These guys should really be looking for new jobs as it is rather than maintain a poor job that still may not be there in a couple years. As I've mentioned, it will dissuade new talent from entry, which further complicates long term viability. Really they need to have at least an abstract idea what that business will look like five years from now.

post #148 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Because they just didn't want to pay them anymore. That's really it. They can pay a freelancer WAY less money than a salaried professional photographer. 

 

Ten years from now this will be a laughable sentence. 

 

 

Especially when devices start displaying at 1200ppi.

post #149 of 184
Next we fire all the reporters and let the public write the stories. We unfortunately will become just a nation of bloggers as Jobs feared. I'm starting to tire of the digital world.
post #150 of 184
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

You already have publications that can be viewed on your phone. Everyone has a phone. Tablets could push it even further, but really they need to be dirt cheap to achieve real volume. If it's something you care about or wouldn't want to leave in your car, it's not a great replacement to to the distribution of a printed publication that was essentially disposable.

 

Yeah, but you don't see it happening, do you? You don't see the revolution that should already be here, do you? I say ten years at absolute max. If almost 100% of newspapers in the US alone aren't via the iPad (and its successors) in ten years, then I'd say that's a failure for digital news! irked.gif

 

These guys should be flocking en-masse to the iPad! ANIMATED TEXT! VIDEOS! And the layout can either be the same as the physical or something radical and innovative and new! Heck, they can do that with the physical newspaper itself, but do you see them caring? 


Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post
Especially when devices start displaying at 1200ppi.

 

lol.gif

post #151 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by bennettvista View Post

Next we fire all the reporters and let the public write the stories. We unfortunately will become just a nation of bloggers as Jobs feared. I'm starting to tire of the digital world.

Nah, someone will write a program that captures Facebook, Twitter, and TwitFace (coming in 2018) crowdsourced info and then auto-composes news stories*.




* Patent not pending.

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post #152 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Nah, someone will write a program that captures Facebook, Twitter, and TwitFace (coming in 2018) crowdsourced info and then auto-composes news stories*

 

We have that now. They're called "reporters."

 

Oh, you mean software... that would have the advantage of only requiring the focus of the story to be punched in once...

post #153 of 184
The issue is money. Or more correctly, return on investment.

Very difficult to justify 28 photographers when the newspaper business is already in the toilet. And this way a photo could end up a closer link to the story in any case. All they need now is an app for the sun times that formats the story and embeds the pics to further streamline the layout process. Then the next to go will be the subbies.

It isn't as though the photographers turn out a Pulitzer pic every second week, and the sell on of a photo with a story would happen regardless if it is a DSLR shot or an iPhone snap.
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post #154 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

That is actually a possible death sentence for the publication. Freelancers in any industry charge more for the same amount of work to make up for the taxes, inconsistency, etc. If they aren't getting that, it decreases the quality of talent that they attract. There's a false notion that people are lined up, yet if it was the case, these companies would have made a similar culling years ago.

 

 

 

  Freelancers may (try to) charge more for the same service, but the company will always have saved money by using freelancers instead of staff, for mainly two reasons.  First, no benefits. Secondly, if there's little in the way of local breaking news they're not paying anyone to be on call for any story that breaks.  A story breaks, they call someone to shoot it.  If there's a lot going on, they're using a lot of freelancers.  If not, those freelancers are not being used or paid by that company.

 

This story is similar to the way cheap digital tools changed the music industry.  You can't tell a guitarist that he can't record a song in his bedroom with a $400 package from Guitar Center, because he can.  Would it be better done in a recording studio?  Maybe, but does that matter?  The bar for the result has been lowered enough for both this and the Reporter-with-iPhone-as-photographer to yield a not unacceptable end product in the context.  

 

Sucks, but as mentioned before, it's a kick in the ass for photographers to show why they make the newspaper better, same as recording studios and live musicians have had to do.  This has been on the radar for a long while.

post #155 of 184
The Sun Times just saved on Providing 28 people with benefits. Not the first Daily to do this btw. Supporting that trend the Sports photography will most likely now be covered by free lance. Very Sad news for Pro Photogs.


whoops. just read last cmmt. take mine as a summery.. 1frown.gif
post #156 of 184
The news is meant to be objective. For those purposes, all you need is photos that are sharp, clear and pointed in the right direction. You need technical excellence not artistic excellence. And there was always going to be a time come when the technology handled that side of things itself. 
 
But it will be a much longer time before technology takes artistic photos by itself so that would be the kind of job I would look for next if I was these guys.
post #157 of 184
Wow. What sad news. Is this an Onion article? They can not be serious here. Our culture is declining so rapidly. Can we please start over?
post #158 of 184
As a retired Photography teacher, I can say that Professional Photographers tend to be born. It's a gift, like being a wordsmith: and it's probably rare for the two to overlap. In my experience, there were usually one or two in every photographic class who had the gift. Their shots right from the get-go were always selected, framed and played with, at a level above the rest. I don't think it's necessarily something you can learn.

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post #159 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Yeah, but you don't see it happening, do you? You don't see the revolution that should already be here, do you? I say ten years at absolute max. If almost 100% of newspapers in the US alone aren't via the iPad (and its successors) in ten years, then I'd say that's a failure for digital news! irked.gif

 

These guys should be flocking en-masse to the iPad! ANIMATED TEXT! VIDEOS! And the layout can either be the same as the physical or something radical and innovative and new! Heck, they can do that with the physical newspaper itself, but do you see them caring? 

 

lol.gif

There are a lot of interesting things that can be done, but it comes down to whether companies have a viable business plan and a way to fund these ventures. Doing it really well might involve further software development to include desirable features, and ideally you want younger designers who came out of college using smartphones (probably blackberries at the time) yet have some understanding of print layouts (not just magazines but brochures, tech packs, bus wraps, etc). I think they won't survive without a certain level of quality. Blogs typically do not charge subscription fees, so it has to be something more than that.

 

Regarding animating everything, I don't think that's always necessary. There has to be a reason for it. Otherwise you end up with the 90s era of banner ads all over the place. It was no less cheesy then. If you're just making things move because they can be displayed in motion, that just makes it more of a fad. There are viable reasons. You can show what really happened at an event rather than just highlights. I'm not describing this very well relative to what I'm thinking, so I will end it here for now.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlandd View Post

 

  Freelancers may (try to) charge more for the same service, but the company will always have saved money by using freelancers instead of staff, for mainly two reasons.  First, no benefits. Secondly, if there's little in the way of local breaking news they're not paying anyone to be on call for any story that breaks.  A story breaks, they call someone to shoot it.  If there's a lot going on, they're using a lot of freelancers.  If not, those freelancers are not being used or paid by that company.

 

This story is similar to the way cheap digital tools changed the music industry.  You can't tell a guitarist that he can't record a song in his bedroom with a $400 package from Guitar Center, because he can.  Would it be better done in a recording studio?  Maybe, but does that matter?  The bar for the result has been lowered enough for both this and the Reporter-with-iPhone-as-photographer to yield a not unacceptable end product in the context.  

 

Sucks, but as mentioned before, it's a kick in the ass for photographers to show why they make the newspaper better, same as recording studios and live musicians have had to do.  This has been on the radar for a long while.


What you seem to miss is that this is a short term ploy. You're also focused on the wrong portion. You're looking at entrenched talent and saying okay they need to step it up. That kind of goal based management technique wears off very fast. Sure you can fire them and bring on new people for less, but if that music label can't turn out something that clearly differentiates them from the bedroom audio engineer, they don't have a sustainable business model on the production side, not that labels always produce everything directly. Anyway that is the basic situation this publication may face assuming they intend to stick to the paid subscription model while cutting costs wherever possible. If the difference isn't immediately distinguishable, how do they attract new subscribers? Pointing at the employees or contractors is just stupid and lacking in vision. It means their management team has no idea what to do and they're trying to buy time. Look at what happened with Apple prior to the return of Jobs for a point of reference. When he returned he did cut down the line somewhat, but he lined up new projects to secure their future.

post #160 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

The news is meant to be objective. For those purposes, all you need is photos that are sharp, clear and pointed in the right direction. You need technical excellence not artistic excellence. And there was always going to be a time come when the technology handled that side of things itself. 
 
But it will be a much longer time before technology takes artistic photos by itself so that would be the kind of job I would look for next if I was these guys.

 

What a crock of sh**! Objective? What is objective?

WIth your definition of photography, we might as well post a Google Earth satellite picture of the area of the event with each article. Heck the f-ing camera is pointed in the right direction, right?

 

You really showed that you have ABSOLUTELY ZERO CLUE about photography. You can point the camear 100 times in "the right direction" and show a different face of a similar event. That's (on a non-political level) wedding photographers get paid upwards of $10k for shooting a wedding, even though uncle Joe is also there "pointing the camera in the right direction" (as if there were a wrong direction during a wedding).

Yet, the photographer (if s/he is worth the money being paid) will tell a quite different story of the even than all the uncle Joe's and auntie Jane's combined.

 

Sometimes a bloody street shows more reality than someone pointing a gun. Both depict the same reality, but the dude pointing the gun may look like a hero, while the blood on the street may show what a crime that guy perpetrated. What's objective? 

 

It is the reporting that tells a story, and truth, if such a thing exists outside of very long historical contexts, is something that is revealed by combining many, competing perspectives reporting on the same events.

 

That's why people taking useless pictures just to fill a blank on a page, and tons of newspapers printing the same syndicated articles are the beginning of the end of a functioning democracy: there is no truth, because the number of competing perspectives on a particular story is approaching a number between one and zero (because enough relevant stories aren't even reported anymore, and the rest is regurgitated newswire content without independent correspondents reporting on location.).

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  • Chicago Sun-Times axes all staff photographers, offers reporters 'iPhoneography training'
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Chicago Sun-Times axes all staff photographers, offers reporters 'iPhoneography training'