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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
The Chicago Sun-Times, one of the oldest daily newspapers in America, fired its entire pool of 28 photographers on Friday, and plans to source future graphics from reporters who will be trained to capture print-worthy images with their iPhones.

iPhone Camera


First reported by former Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder on Facebook (via Cult of Mac), the publication plans to give reporters mandatory training in "iPhone photography basics" as a replacement for the outgoing photographers. One of the fired photographers is Pulitzer Prize winner John H. White.

With smartphones, or camera-toting feature phones, being nearly ubiquitous, an increasing number of news outlets are turning to the pubic for immediate "on the scene" shots. For example, when a tornado ripped through Moore, Okla. on May 20, initial news coverage relied on photos from residents and storm chasers posting images to various social media sites.

From Feder's Facebook page:
Sun-Times reporters begin mandatory training today on "iPhone photography basics" following elimination of the paper's entire photography staff. "In the coming days and weeks, we'll be working with all editorial employees to train and outfit you as much as possible to produce the content we need," managing editor Craig Newman tells staffers in a memo.
It appears the Sun-Times is looking to use the iPhone's camera as a step-up from amateur-shot pictures currently used by Web and TV media.

A recent side-by-side comparison of photos taken by all six iPhone versions illustrates how the device has developed as a portable shooter.

While Apple's latest iPhone 5 takes image capture to new levels with an 8-megapixel CMOS sensor with glass optical elements and a man-made sapphire cover glass, it can't compete with modern digital SLRs, especially when those rigs are in the hands of a seasoned professional.

The Sun-Times is willing to take a chance, however, and believes that with the proper training, reporters can gather images at a quality high enough to publish.
«13456710

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 186
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,515member
    There's sadness in that story, but I suppose it's technology making other "norms" obsolete. Seems that all the photos we see lately comes from mobile devices anyways. I supposed it's not a surprise.

    Interesting it's all iPhones. Not one mention of Android devices.
  • Reply 2 of 186
    zoffdinozoffdino Posts: 192member
    Sad, so sad for those photographers. I take photography as a side hobby, and despite the massive improvements in phone cameras recently, those photos still cannot measure up to the dedicated high end cameras. Heck, it's easy enough to tell an image taken by an iPhone 5 and that taken by $600 Nikon/Canon prosumer DSLR. You paid $600 for a dedicated camera, versus $600 for a phone that just happens to also has a camera.

    Becoming a photog isn't easy. There are lots of training, interning, learning on the jobs, and yes, heavy investment in photo equipments. It's so sad to see a large newspaper ditching all the arts of photography and tell the photogs "just take pictures with your phone".
  • Reply 3 of 186
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,515member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zoffdino View Post



    Sad, so sad for those photographers. I take photography as a side hobby, and despite the massive improvements in phone cameras recently, those photos still cannot measure up to the dedicated high end cameras. Heck, it's easy enough to tell an image taken by an iPhone 5 and that taken by $600 Nikon/Canon prosumer DSLR. You paid $600 for a dedicated camera, versus $600 for a phone that just happens to also has a camera.



    Becoming a photog isn't easy. There are lots of training, interning, learning on the jobs, and yes, heavy investment in photo equipments. It's so sad to see a large newspaper ditching all the arts of photography and tell the photogs "just take pictures with your phone".




    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.

  • Reply 4 of 186
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,801member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 186
    The best camera is the one you have on you.
  • Reply 6 of 186
    undedunded Posts: 43member
    A business selling contents axes its pro photographers and hoping to train reporters to capture good enough photo for publication is a decision that they will soon regret.

    The question is how effective a reporter can one be while being a photographer?
  • Reply 7 of 186
    jobsisgodjobsisgod Posts: 31member


    Nothing sad here.  It just shows how iPhone's are also helping a struggling industry.  It's not like National Geographic just switched to photos taken by people with their iPhones.

  • Reply 8 of 186
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,801member
    unded wrote: »
    A business selling contents axes its pro photographers and hoping to train reporters to capture good enough photo for publication is a decision that they will soon regret.

    The question is how effective a reporter can one be while being a photographer?

    I can hear the reporters now: sir! Sir! I have two questions for you. 1. Can you smile at my iPhone? 2. When did you learn about the terrorist plot?
  • Reply 9 of 186
    blowbotblowbot Posts: 9member


    More jobs down the drain, never to be seen again...

  • Reply 10 of 186
    struckpaperstruckpaper Posts: 702member


    This is a mistake for at least two reasons.


     


    First, the ubiquity of smartphones is not the right reason to fire photographers because equipment is not what makes a professional photog. John White didn't win his Pulitzer because of his equipment (which is no better than that of other professional photogs). He also didn't win it because he knew the basics of how to use a camera. He won it because he is an artist and an artisan. He knew when to take a photograph, where to take it and how to take it. You cannot pass on such instincts in a basic training course.


     


    Second, sports photography does require professional equipment. No smartphone can produce the spectacular shots typically shown on the front page of the sports section. The sensor, optics and speed are totally inadequate.


     


    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.

  • Reply 11 of 186
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member


    An iPhone is obviously not a better camera than an expensive DSLR, but I think that a lot depends on the person that is behind the lens. If you hand an expensive camera to a no talent amateur, you'll end up with crappy photos, and if you place an iPhone in the hands of a talented photographer, with an eye for things, you'll end up with some ok pictures, though obviously, a talented photographer using premium gear will produce the best results.


     


    Many news stories today and photos and videos are captured by amateurs with their phones, because there are no pro photographers around, so phone cameras have been able to capture many news stories and events that would have been impossible to capture in the past.


     


    The main thing that annoys me when people use their phone cameras is when morons shoot video holding their phones vertical, and then post it to Youtube. Are these people totally retarded? Do they not realize how tiny and stupid their videos look when being shot vertical? Sometimes the subject or image that they are shooting might be interesting or newsworthy, but the tiny, vertical videos just ruins everything. I almost feel like slapping people when I see them holding their phones and filming in portrait mode. It should be forbidden for people to shoot video in portrait mode. Maybe the next iPhone can product a slight electric shock if some dumbass gets the bright idea to shoot some video in portrait mode. 

  • Reply 12 of 186
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member


    Surprising a paper still had staff photographers. Freelancers would probably be less expensive and more widely available.

  • Reply 13 of 186
    the cool gutthe cool gut Posts: 1,714member
    Lucky for the Paparazzi, you can't take topless photos of celebrities from 800 meters away with an iPhone. Their jobs are safe for now - but not for long. Not for long.
  • Reply 14 of 186
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,501member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Surprising a paper still had staff photographers. Freelancers would probably be less expensive and more widely available.



     


    Why? It's Chicago. You have millions of citizens and hundreds of news locations on a daily basis. Having a staff is far simpler to delegate stories to than to have an on-call group of independent people who may or may not be ready.

  • Reply 15 of 186
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,590member
    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".
  • Reply 16 of 186
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


     


    Why? It's Chicago. You have millions of citizens and hundreds of news locations on a daily basis. Having a staff is far simpler to delegate stories to than to have an on-call group of independent people who may or may not be ready.



    I don't know about photographers, but i think that in a lot of businesses, it's much cheaper to use freelancers instead of keeping people on staff. Then they are not officially employees of the company, the employer doesn't have to pay health insurance, unemployment benefits, various taxes and ends up saving the employer a bunch of cash.

  • Reply 17 of 186
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    This is depressing news.
  • Reply 18 of 186
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member


    THIS is all Apple's doing!!!


     



     


    (/S)

  • Reply 19 of 186
    struckpaperstruckpaper Posts: 702member



    Checking official newspaper versions of this story ... it sounds like about 30 full-time photographers are being laid off. The reason being given is not because iphones can replace professional cams. It is because they want to put more emphasis on online video.


     


    Furthermore, this decision was taken during labor negotiations, suggesting that this could be a union-busting maneuver rather than a technology decision.

  • Reply 20 of 186
    isaidsoisaidso Posts: 750member
    So now, the photography quality will more accurately match the reporting (in other words, s**t)
Sign In or Register to comment.