A Sign of the Times

CNN laying off photojournalists. Because plenty of people will do their work (albeit badly) for free.

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  1. I read this late last night. breaks my heart. i work for a daily newspaper, and this type of stuff has been happening to us for years, now. everyone has a canon rebel, and everyone has a sony handycam… so that means everyone can tell a story, right? *sigh*

    i even heard a rumor that one of my superiors was thinking of suggesting sports writers use their smart phones to shoot games. because, you know, an iphone with a burst-mode app is the same as a nikon or canon with a 300mm f/2.8 lens…

  2. PhotoCharlie

    Buying a camera makes you a camera owner, not a photographer.

  3. depressing.

  4. This is really sad. What gets me is the language they use: “CNN determined that some photojournalists will be departing the company.” Departing… really?! And notice it goes on to say they’ve received criticism for not paying for the photos they broadcast using their citizen journalism initiative. Ha!! Isn’t that the same thing as keeping your staff photojournalists? Why on earth would they do that?

  5. Wsroadrunner

    Which is why if news media wants any of my shots, they have to pay for them or they don’t get them. Photography should never be free.

  6. Real photographers have a new market – independent journalism. If you want your own independent career, just follow go where there’s news and be the only site with good pictures.

  7. The fact that professional photojournalists can be fired is what keeps them honest. Citizen journalists are not getting paid so they have no incentive to be honest or properly represent their photos.

    If you have an interest in the subject check out the book “The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture” by Andrew Keen.

    • It’s because people don’t know what there photos are worth. They could get money for them if they weren’t so gullible, giving them away for free, when there are people willing to actually pay. But why as a network executive would you pay for a photo, when people are dumb enough to give away, what networks pay hundreds of dollars for?

      Instead of everyone getting paid fairly, no-one gets paid, by deep pocket networks with plenty of money…. SO sad.

  8. I guess my newspaper is ahead of the curve because they let go all their professional photogs 4 years ago. Some still submit photos and get assignments on a freelance basis but it’s tougher without a fulltime pro photog. Reporters now have to do much of their own photography, which is sometimes hard to do if you’re trying to write the story as well. But … you’re right, it’s a sign of the times.

  9. Yeah, this was inevitable … TV stations (and radio station web sites) are constantly exhorting their viewers/listeners to send in their photos & videos. Now that they have a steady stream of crappy material, why should they pay pros? They’re bound to find a “nugget” in that stream … even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then.

  10. Time for a new website: You Are Not a Photojournalist.

    I also completely agree with the above comment about professionals being honest due to having to earn their jobs. Good luck to the “news” organizations on weeding out all those Photoshopped images they’ll be receiving from now on. Amateur Hour is now in full swing.

  11. few things:
    1) CNN is primarily a video / tv company – they are not a print media –

    2) In addition to the salaries – there are also benefits that they have to pay full time employees – they pay those whether or not they actually use any of the photos that one of their staffers submits. So – if a PJ makes $35,000 per year – the actual pay (out of company’s pocket) is more like $60 – 70k.

    3) Has anyone who commented tried to submit a photo on their site? I’m guessing (because I haven’t) that there are some standards and the reject rate is probably slightly higher than at the local stock site. Things such as obvious PS’ing etc… would probably not make it through.

    4) And PJ’s are so honest about not PSing their work or pushing an agenda? Please spare me.

    5) I agree the language on the notice sounds like it was written by a grade school teacher – Bad form –

    6) I’ve seen weddings done on iPhones – very good actually – so are sports that far behind? And for the record – Most of MWC / DWC I see in the stands have 70-200 f2.8’s.

    7) While it stinks that more people are losing their jobs, as a stockholder (actually my 401k) I would have to question the head of the department that is asking for 12x60k vs free or $5.00 a photo…

    8) as a photographer – Never give a photo away. Problem is that if you don’t – there is someone pretty close who is dumb enough or doesn’t need the money that will do it.

  12. Ahh, American broadcast companies, had dealings with quite a few of them wanting photos and the rights to use them in the past few years.

    So this is of no surprise to me.

    I have never seen such a selection of undervalued right grabbing contracts in my life! I know I refused to sign many (if not all) insisting they be altered but just thinking of the poor sod that thinks WOW GETTING MY IMAGE ON TV! and then finding out they are selling – reselling to every other station out there making a fair old profit.

    Huge profit for them.

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