Orlando Sentinel Tells Photographers Their Jobs are Gone, Will Need to Reapply for New ‘Videocentric’ Positions


Earlier this week, the photography staff of the Orlando Sentinel in Florida was pulled into a meeting in which they were told that their current jobs are disappearing, and they will need to apply to new more ‘videocentric’ positions by tomorrow, Friday, February 28th.

The news is being reported by the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), who was told directly by one of the affected member of the Sentinel’s staff.

According to the NPPA’s source, on Monday, the staff was pulled into a meeting with Todd Stewart — the newspaper’s design, graphics and multimedia editor and a man who had never met with the photography staff before that day. In that meeting he explained that their jobs were effectively gone, and that the would need to reapply for a new set of positions that will focus on creating more video content for the newspaper’s website.

The silver lining, if there is one here, is that these positions are only available to internal applications, so the staff photographers who are losing their jobs won’t have much competition for the new positions.

Still, according to the report, 13 positions will be affected and there will be only 5 photo-centric positions left to reapply for. The rest of the positions will be split between two ‘mobile photojournalists’ positions (exactly what it sounds like…), two video editing positions, two video coordinator positions and two manager’s positions.

The newspaper’s management believes that increasing the amount of video on the website will help to increase readership/viewership… we have our own opinions regarding the wisdom of sacrificing still photography jobs in order to do this. For more info, head over to the NPPA website and read the full report. And, as always, drop us a line and let us know what you think in the comments down below.

Photo Upheaval at Orlando Sentinel [via NPPA]

Image credits: Orlando Sentinel front page via Newseum

  • Jack B. Siegel

    I am a Chicagoan, so I know what happened at the Chicago Sun-Times last year. Two observations: Most newspaper videos start with an advertisement. Most times I am not interested enough to wait for the ad, so I close the browser. Even when I watch it, a lot of the video I have seen, particularly on the Chicago Tribune’s website is raw unedited footage. A waste of time. In short, newspapers have not figured out video yet, or if they have, they aren’t doing it very well.

    Second, if you watch television news and pay attention, you will notice a lot more still photography then you might expect. I think this is largely because still photographs have far more impact than video.

    I hope the pendelum swings back in the other direction. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do.

  • JordanCS13

    I don’t understand why news websites think everything has to be video. I don’t mind supplemental video, but too many sites sacrifice written stories for video only stories and it’s the quickest way to get me to go away from that site and search for a story about that subject with text and images. American journalism is dying with these changes.

  • Josh Humphries

    “I am a Chicagoan, so I know what happened at the Chicago Sun-Times last year…”

    Do you really believe you need to be Chicagoan to know what happened in that newspaper?

  • Jack B. Siegel

    Stating that fact is quite relevant. Many people may be unaware of the events. More importantly, many more people don’t read the online paper everyday. I do, so I have firsthand ongoing experience.

    Why so hostile? It was a simple turn of phrase at the start of a sentence. Nothing more or less.

  • Burnin Biomass

    Good, I thought I was the only one that disliked videos (instead of a written story with images). Even on Petapixel, most times I’ll skip the videos.

  • markz

    unskippable ads, pop-up ads, auto starts on video, poor editing horrible sound quality….so many reasons to dislike excessive video content, and that’s before you even start on bandwidth, congestion, lagging and data caps. It has to be one hell of a tempting video for me to click through on most web news sites

  • Bill

    As someone who has had to scramble to make it back to where I was five years ago, I must say it is hard for me to find empathy. I say let there be competition, ruthless competition, newspapers don’t need professional photographers or “professional” journalists, hell I get my news for free, like most everyone else. I’m a Conservative, and my ideology does not get a fair shake within the press, so I say let’em go broke!

  • YourProfessionIsMyHobby

    Every industry has changed greatly in the last 30 years: Typewriters are novelty items now; Cars have computer chips built in; You don’t need to pay 20 cents a minute off peak or $1 peak charges for long distance and have access to the entire knowledge of man kind in your pocket. Not to mention the progression in the medical and scientific fields.

    The point is that the members of almost every profession have had to reinvent themselves and survived if not thrived and yet, photographers are the whiniest bunch crying that they can’t just turn in a few snapshots to a newspaper to be printed on low grade paper like they did when they were just a young lad out of J-school. What makes you guys so special?

    Newspapers are now multimedia outlets which believe it or not, includes video. It’s not cute or adorable for you to say “well, I don’t need video in my camera…video is yucky”. It’s just as bad as some Southern Conservative Teaparty type bragging about how he doesn’t know how to turn on a computer when he is in charge of making laws about the internet and technology. It’s time to evolve or be one of those angry AM radio listeners.

  • JamesF

    … And ad my favorite rant. Most online videos are a waste of time. 15 second ad, followed by 45 seconds of content which can be read in ten seconds and a glance at a good photo.

  • David Vaughn

    Are you one of those conservatives that gets angry at people gaming the system and not getting jobs? Because you can’t be angry at them while also hoping these people lose their jobs. Well, I guess you could, but it wouldn’t make much sense. Lol


  • Bingo

    There is a lot of brilliant journalist out there finding and writing informative pieces every day, most of them are working for very little money and outside of the mainstream media, and they represent a minority.

    The problem with the main stream media is that more people just want to read celebrity gossip and uniformed, misleading, political attacks, and other sensationalist trash, than want to read good journalism. We have gone well passed the saturation point and even the fools who demanded this rubbish are smart enough not to pay for it.

    On the idea that the conservative side of politics is not being well represented in the media, that is a fallacy. The conservative side of politics is at least equally represented(reported) in the news media as other sides of politics, the reason the coverage is not always kind is because the principals of journalism are based around searching for facts, and having an objective approach to a presenting a story, whilst the conservative parties are built around an ideology that ignores any facts that don’t serve their own narrow interests. Ideologies and facts rarely compliment each other.

  • behindthecamera

    “Why so hostile?”

    Because The Internet. It breeds jackhammers like that.

  • PTBridgeport

    “I say let there be competition, ruthless competition, newspapers don’t need professional photographers or “professional” journalists, hell I get my news for free, like most everyone else. I’m a Conservative, and my ideology does not get a fair shake within the press, so I say let’em go broke!”

    Well based on your statement, I can see why your “ideology” doesn’t get a “fair shake”…..

  • Patrick Day

    You sir win the daily jerk of the internet award. So because you have struggled you wish that on other people…ones that you do not even know?

    People with no empathy are usually called a psychopathy

  • Patrick Day

    You are coming off very angry. Based off your name you seem upset that you never made it as photographer.

    Yes times change but you still can have some sympathy for people losing there jobs regardless if you feel they should or not.

  • Jackson Cheese

    I didn’t detect any anger in his tone at all. I sure did read a lot of truth though.

  • Jackson Cheese

    “People with no empathy are usually called a psychopathy”.

    Well he did admit to being a conservative.

  • Patrick Day

    photographers are the whiniest bunch, What makes you guys so special… I guess that is your definition of being happy?

  • pgb0517

    I’m conservative and that guy doesn’t represent me. So save your misguided political statements for another forum, please.

  • Sterling

    “…an ideology that ignores any facts that don’t serve their own narrow interests.”

    That applies to all political ideologies – conservative, liberal, or anything in between or outside.

    The fallacy is in assuming that “journalists” are completely objective. They all have their biases. Some are just less obvious than others.

  • Sterling

    So someone not liking video in their camera is comparable to an ignorant lawmaker? Bit of a stretch don’t ya think?

  • Mantis

    I agree. *Pro* photographers are a whiny bunch, at least based on the comments in here they sure are.

  • Mantis

    Your “ideology” is represented by more than half of the newspapers in America, the entire AM radio spectrum, and a mainstream cable news outlet.

    Where is this sense of under representation coming from?

  • Jo Ann Snover

    I actively try to avoid most video as for the bulk of stories it’s a very slow way to get the news – even from the NY Times (my favorite online paper) I find it takes way too long to catch up with news if you use video. Sites like CNN that are littered with video stuff are more annoying than useful. The ads don’t help, but even if they were gone I wouldn’t prefer video for most stories.

    So in addition to being sorry to see the rather shoddy way the paper treated its staff (not giving them much time to deal with this change), I think the paper in the long run will be sorry as it may not find the market it thinks it will for video. I suspect they hope to increase “engagement” and the amount of time spent on their site. My goal is to get what I want (which I pay for) as fast as possible and leave.

  • PamMktgNut

    Does the Sentinel think people will be more willing to pay for online subscription because of video? I agree video skills are needed and any media platform should be focusing there as a method for communicating. However, to think that video is going to save the day and make your readers want to pay for what they can get everywhere else on the web for free just makes no sense to me.

    Why not focus on different business models that provide more value to your target audience that you can monetize?

  • Bill

    So you’re the purveyor of this award, being the top jerk and big a$$hole. I have my opinion.
    A man who does not think for himself does not think at all. Oscar Wilde.

  • Bill

    I don’t represent you and you don’t for me either. I have my opinion.

  • Boss overload

    [[I’m a Conservative]]

    What you are is a troll.

  • Boss overload

    [[According to the report, 13 positions will be affected and there will be only 5 photo-centric positions left to reapply for.]]

    …so, they are eliminating 8 photo jobs.

    [[The rest of the positions will be split between two ‘mobile photojournalists’ positions]]

    …all photojournalists are mobile.

    [[two video editing positions]]

    …why have two editors instead of teaching photographers how to edit?

    [[two video coordinator positions and two manager’s positions.]]

    Boss overload. Half the photo jobs being eliminated are going to “coordinators” and “managers.”

  • Bingo

    Of course it applies to all ideologies. Not all political views are based solely on ideology though. There are a small number of progressive political parties(or individuals within these parties) that merge the loose ideology of having genuine human compassion, with fact based policy. Meaning instead of ‘back to the old ways’ conservative dogma, they look at current research, and aim to use the best of what is available, whilst constantly looking for improvement that can be measured and proven with scientific method.

    Unfortunately ‘science’ and ‘research’ are hard for ‘morons’ to understand, but they do understand 3 word slogans like ‘tough on crime’ even when the facts show that this method breeds career criminals, when a rehabilitation based method that is seen as ‘soft’ actually has the best long term outcomes for the whole community. Conservative policies are full of examples of ideologies that ignore the facts.

  • Bill

    Takes one to know one, b!tch

  • akshayjamwal

    I don’t know whether photojournalism is dying as a profession or whether stories like these are just a consequence of still and video production merging. The line between the two has become increasingly wavy. If you do stills, you’re expected to do video and vice versa.

  • Backyardigan

    I have looked at in-house metrics for a major U.S. newspaper chain and I have never quite understood the push toward video. The viewership is just not there.

    The amount of time that would have to be invested in a mildly interesting video to garner maybe 1,000 views is basically a wast of time in a world of decreasing investment in street-level news reporting. Now still photos, on the other hand, command huge viewership.

    I know there is pressure from advertisers to recycle their already-made television commercials as pre-roll on a web video, but the Internet is not TV. Metrics show that video’s with pre-roll commercials are stopped almost half of the time before the video even starts. The user loses control of the experience and will often close the browser.

  • Fick Lambert

    This is not a new concept. During 2008 I warned fellow photographers that this is going to happen. Editors started looking for photographers with video experience and the camera production industry followed by producing SLR`S that does the job. Why, because every +/- 26 frames per second in a HD video is in fact a still photograph. The changes are fueled by demand of social media, evolution of the internet. You might be a great photographer with informants, contacts and great business skills, but if you are caught by surprise by these changes you were either in a comfort zone or very naive. Video must not be regarded as the only threat. Stock photography is another one and then the technology(APPS) in new phones and tablets is evolving by the second. Still photography will still have it`s place and I have informed a chosen few what it would be, but then I could be wrong and I don`t want to send you on a wild goose chase, but you will have to be creative and good at what you do and most important you will need to specialize. I might have this wrong:” abandon ship every one unto himself” This advice comes from a cop,photographer, blacksmith.