The day photo journalism died

This is one of the breathtaking pictures Chicago Sun Times reporter John J. Kim took for a gripping story about a night in the life of a city where people are killed at an unbelievable rate (if you have Flash capability, you can view the slideshow here).

For his efforts, he and reporters at the paper were awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for journalism.

This morning, all of the photographers at the paper were fired.

Photo journalism is yesterday. It’s all about the video now, the paper said in its statement.

“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. The Chicago Sun-Times continues to evolve with our digitally savvy customers, and as a result, we have had to restructure the way we manage multimedia, including photography, across the network.”

The paper will use freelancers when it needs old-fashioned photos.

  • andy in chicago

    Ugh, this is maddening. I hate video news stories, in fact I never open links to news stories when I see that it’s video content only (e’hem CNN).

    I guess I’m old fashioned, I like to read my on-line news and see an accompanying photograph or slide show on the side.

  • Kevin Watterson

    I don’t know who its audience is, but the last thing I want when I go to any news website is video. Give me text that I can read at my own speed, I don’t want to be captive to your 2:30 video.

  • Brian

    The reason for firing their photographers is a total cop-out. Producing a quality video is somewhat time consuming so the end result of all of the duties of the reporters covering the stories is crappy video that nobody watches. In the end it’s just a vehicle for the newspaper to attach a video ad to.

  • Sara B

    Like Andy and Kevin have posted above, I never open links to video news stories. I hate them. I go to a news website to read the news. Often times I have a few minutes at work to quickly glance at what is happening in the world and need to be able to read the news quickly. In my opinion it takes too long to load the video story, let alone watch the commercial (that is always there) before hand.

  • Mat in Duluth

    Andy, that’s not old-fashioned thinking – it’s rational thinking.

    To me, the best part about reading news stories and seeing their accompanying photos is the SILENCE. I think it’s a safe assumption that most people, especially while on a city bus or in a coffee shop or otherwise, would MUCH rather READ news stories quietly to themselves then have someone belch the stories TO them in an “anchor voice” via video.

    A friend of mine saw this story and said “The part about them doing (layoffs) because they wanted to focus on video sounds like a management line straight out of 2003.”

    Paper newsprint might be a thing of the past, but the written word and a telling visual will always be my preferred way of inhaling news. Bring back the “news shooters.”

  • Matt Sutkoski

    Whether or not you like video, skilled photojournalists are usually trained to take quality still photos and videos. Which makes these photojournalists necessary to create top quality visual content of any type. And to train reporters (like me) to create quality visual content.

  • Dale

    As a freelance photographer, there’s no way in hell I would shoot for them. Not after this.