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UK Newspaper Chain Follows in Sun Times Footsteps, Shutters All Photographer Jobs

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Britons tend to take their newspapers a bit more seriously than Yanks, but that hasn’t stopped a newspaper chain there from Chicago Sun-Timesing (yes, we verbed it!) its way to ignominy by firing its entire photography staff.

It’s unclear exactly how many photographers will hit the pavement as a result of the decision by Johnston Press, but the National Union of Journalists counts 24 at newspapers scattered across Scotland and the Midlands.

Faithfully following the script set by the Chicago Sun-Times last year, the axed professionals will be replaced by freelancers, reader-submitted photos and reporters with smartphones.

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Jake McNulty, one of the photographers to get a pink slip, said in online comments that the writing was on the wall after several rounds of “voluntary” staff reductions. “After 27 years service, it’s a sad ending … but [I] cannot afford to carry bitterness around permanently.”

McNulty noted that with editorial staff already pared down and centralized, photographers were the only contact many readers had with their hometown newspaper. “Snappers are the only real people our readers can thank, moan at and ask favours of, face-to-face,” he explained. “We are photographers, videographers, news gatherers, reader generated picture repairers and ambassadors and will be hard if not impossible to replace.”

In what we’re sure is an entirely unrelated move, financial analysts on Monday lowered their rating on Johnston Press to “sell.”

(via Hold the Front Page via Poynter)


Image credits: Header photo courtesy of Johnston Press and “Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen…” courtesy of the U.S. National Archives