Having gone to school for journalism and then getting my graduate degree in writing and publishing, I’ve been inclined to follow the lay-off debacle of the entire Chicago Sun-Times photo department. I find it so discouraging to know that they are now hiring iPhone photographers to do the job of these great photojournalists, many of whom have worked at the Sun-Times for years.
During school, my professors told me that print would, at some point, go away. That newspapers, magazines (like Time Out Chicago just informed me via email) and other publications would make their way solely on the web. But photojournalists?! Sure, smart phones are great and all, but you can’t possible capture the same photograph that an actual camera–and gear–can.
Working at Youth in Focus where the students are taught not only black and white photography but digital as well, I find this shortfall of the Sun-Times even more upsetting. The students I work with truly enjoy photography, most of them want to make a living at it. I’m not sure what kind of message this latest lay-off round sends to young people like the students here in our classes. True, you carve your own path, make your own future, but simply cutting an entire , essential department as this can send a shockwave felt throughout various groups of people.
In the midst of this sorry news, though, has come some great blogs and Tumblr accounts of prior Sun-Times photojournalists. They are great to read and I wish all of those affected by this unfortunate turn of events the best.