Roughly 50 staffers at CNN were given pink slips today, including nearly a dozen photojournalists. In an email to the staff, Senior VP Jack Womack cited the accessibility of cameras and the growth of citizen journalism as reasons for the terminations:
We also spent a great deal of time analyzing how we utilize and deploy photojournalists across all of our locations in the U.S. […] 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 analysis, CNN determined that some photojournalists will be departing the company.
CNN’s citizen journalism initiative, iReport, has proved extremely valuable as a source of imagery during things like disasters and protests. However, it has also received criticism for not paying for submitted photos — even those that are subsequently broadcast worldwide.
CNN recently published a pop-quiz with 10 photos and a simple question: was the photo taken with a phone or DSLR? The test is meant to open the public’s eyes to the fact that phone cameras are getting to be just as good as expensive DSLRs. It’s misleading though, and Neal Krawetz over at Hacker Factor has a great explanation as to why:
The implied rational is that, with the correct technique, you can take pictures on your cellphone that are just as good as an expensive SLR. However, they do it by showing you thumbnail images that were created using Photoshop. At thumbnail size, even crappy pictures will look good.
Next time, CNN should do a speed comparison between a bike and a car… while they’re both at a standstill.
CNN made this creative video highlighting the fact that there’s still a remnant vibrant community of film shooters in New York City. It’s seen from the perspective of someone typing in “analog photography” into a futuristic Qwiki-esque search engine. Read more…
CNN recently did a story on NYU professor Wafaa Bilal and the camera he had implanted on the back of his head. The video above gives you a glimpse into what it looks like and how the system works. Turns out it wasn’t a working camera that was permanently embedded into Bilal’s skull, but rather a baseplate to which the wired camera can be mounted magnetically.
Read our previous coverage of this bizarre project here and here.