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Photojournalists Becoming A Thing Of The Past?

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Category: Industry News

CNN Cuts Photojournalists - It seems the general public are taking the place of CNN photojournalists.

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Words by Rachel White.
 
The world debt crisis seems to be getting more and more problematic as each day passes. There's no industry sector or business that hasn't been affected in some way, so it's hardly surprising that news heavyweight CNN, have announced 50 job cuts throughout their staff.

The cuts have hit several of the CNN offices, across different departments. However, in the CNN Senior VP Jack Womack's e-mail to his colleagues, he explains that part of the reason for layoffs is due to the general public being able to provide broadcast standard photography, completely free.

Part of the email said: "We looked at the impact of user-generated content and social media, CNN iReporters and of course our affiliate contributions in breaking news. Consumer and pro-sumer technologies are simpler and more accessible. Small cameras are now high broadcast quality. More of this technology is in the hands of more people. After completing this analiysis, CNN determined that some photojournalists will be departing the company. "

You can read the full e-mail which has been published online at The Hollywood Reporter.

It is true that technology has advanced and excellent quality compact and mobile cameras are owned by a vast majority of the general public, but can that really replace the role of a photojournalist? Tell us what you think.




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Comments

pulsar69
pulsar69  91611 forum posts United Kingdom6 Constructive Critique Points
1 Dec 2011 - 4:36 PM

From my personal experience of them both blackberry and iphone are a million miles away from anything even approching broadcast quality in everyday and night! situations where photo-journalism may be needed , however I have noticed the absolutely abismal quality shots on both the tv news and local papers recenly so they are apparently un-interested in the quality they put out , or do they think the public dont care what theyre looking at, all seems a bit of a step back to me. Beside which do the general public now automatically become qualified photojournalists and photographers because they have an iphone , I think not. There is a great deal of skill required in both fields, immerse yourself in facebook for 10 minutes and look at the downright awful quality of photographic material people post and imagine that in your papers and on your news. God forbid. CNN will be seen as a more downmarket product following this move I reckon.

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1 Dec 2011 - 4:43 PM

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Pete
Pete Site Moderator 1218416 forum postsPete vcard ePz Advertiser England96 Constructive Critique Points
1 Dec 2011 - 4:43 PM

The modern camera phone in the right hands (like any camera) can produce images that have the necessary impact to be suitable for photo journalism. Here's an interesting article about the iPhone and Hipstamatic app used in Photo Journalism

We still need those who have the skill to produce images with impact in this arena, and that's not any old Tom, ****, or Margaret with a camera phone snapping away.

The only real advantage is that there will normally be someone with a camera phone at the scene before the photo journalist arrives, so sometimes they get the lead photo even if it is blurred or badly composed.

Last Modified By Pete at 1 Dec 2011 - 4:50 PM
mohikan22
mohikan22  102180 forum posts United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
1 Dec 2011 - 5:05 PM

the main point being... ITS FREE and they dont need to pay a tog. its as simple as that i should think. if its good enough to tell who or what it is, itll do. no need for a 20+mb image to show someone or something in extreme detail when a camera fone will do the same job. again FREE..... thats the point i think.

wrinkles
wrinkles e2 Member 5338 forum postswrinkles vcard United Kingdom
1 Dec 2011 - 5:12 PM

It's something for nothing,I have pictures used with articles in the local paper and never receive a fee.Sad

Gaucho
Gaucho e2 Member 122047 forum postsGaucho vcard United Kingdom2 Constructive Critique Points
1 Dec 2011 - 5:17 PM

I think there is a distinction, or should be, between a news photograph and true photojournalism. I see photojournalism as an important method of making people aware of issues that affect us all, whether directly or indirectly. As an example, one thinks of Snowdon's work for the Sunday Times Magazine on the conditions in mental hospitals (asylums). This kind of work is and should be celebrated. I often visit Perpignan for their Visa pour l'Image, a week long showcase for photojournalism worldwide and it's astonishing to see some of the work that's being carried out by young photographers. This is true photojournalism. Not a chance pic carried out just because you happened to be there. I hope and trust this kind of photography will always be around.

pulsar69
pulsar69  91611 forum posts United Kingdom6 Constructive Critique Points
1 Dec 2011 - 5:45 PM

"part of the reason for layoffs is due to the general public being able to provide broadcast standard photography, completely free"

Maybe the real problem is the general public should not be giving them images for free when they are then being used for an agenda or to make a profit. If you have taken the lead photo on your mobile at a scene then you should still be paid for it and CNN should not be abusing the lack of knowledge of the general public by not making payments rightly due to people who have taken images , and then to top it off using it as an excuse to lay people off.

strawman
strawman  1021991 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
1 Dec 2011 - 5:53 PM

The problem exists at two levels in my eyes. First people expect a lot of content for free, after all who still pays to receive news? Next people also expect to give content away. So its the whole food chain that is affected.

Looks like it applies to the newsprint world (circulation falling) Music (always complaints about pirating and lots of bands offering free content), magazines are struggling in competition with the web, so it is a multi-level issue.

Hugo
Hugo  9628 forum posts United Kingdom
1 Dec 2011 - 6:33 PM

There's nothing like actually being there.... for me the most memorable photos of the 7/7 events are the grainy badly shot camera phone images from people wondering around inside the tunnels. Not the pro shots taken later outside the stations of rows of ambulances etc.
I think there's a place for user content...and also for 'real' photo work, but as user content is free...the media will jump all over this and over use the 'free' content. Sad

Last Modified By Hugo at 1 Dec 2011 - 6:36 PM
User_Removed
1 Dec 2011 - 6:46 PM

Amen Hugo - hence my (somewhat cynical - but wholly true) comment in Pete's Forum Post on the subject - and speaking as an ex-Photo Journalist.

Last Modified By User_Removed at 1 Dec 2011 - 6:47 PM
TTT
TTT  12556 forum posts Germany
2 Dec 2011 - 8:24 AM


Quote: The problem exists at two levels in my eyes. First people expect a lot of content for free, after all who still pays to receive news? Next people also expect to give content away. So its the whole food chain that is affected.

So if this is the new future, where everything will be avaliable for free, then how do togs buy cameras or can we expect those to be freely avaliable in the future?

Then the new meaning of PROGRESS should be " Moving forward in the world without the need of man" or somethink to that respect, because this seems to be the modern trend of company's today. When a company is not making enough profit then the next step is to streamline the workflow in other words make cuts ( redundencies ).
Question: where are we going and what are we doing to ourselves ???

mgts24
mgts24 e2 Member 3mgts24 vcard United Kingdom
2 Dec 2011 - 3:54 PM

This move is exactly what you would expect in an industry that has become so commercialised. It's all about the bottom line, and feeding the ravenous shareholders. The quality of the images, or other aspects of the 'journalism', are secondary. Networks like Fox News are unapologetic mouthpieces of individual political parties (in this case, the Republicans).

The quality of images in many publications and media has been going downhill for some time. An interesting parallel is in the world of recorded music where the demise of the CD seems to be imminent, and where music may one day exist only in the 'cloud.' I suspect the bit rate, etc. will be well below that of a CD, as is the case with iTunes downloads. It's interesting that the world of digitisation, for the most part, seems to have resulted in a lower resolution world. That makes me sad. But then I'm still shooting Velvia on a Pentax 67 II.

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