When Sony unveiled its “One Sony” game plan back in March after posting billions in losses, the company highlighted digital photography as one of its three main pillars going forward. It was a bit of a surprise, then, when Sony announced today that it will soon be closing a large lens manufacturing factory in Japan as part of the restructuring efforts.
Before Instagram, there was Hipstamatic. Hipstamatic was one of the pioneers and heavyweights in the retro filter photo app space, but when Instagram came along, the price advantage (free vs. $2), ease of use, filter selection, and built-in social network allowed Instagram to turn into the new 800 lb. gorilla of mobile photo sharing.
The story is strangely similar to the history of Myspace and Facebook, and yesterday the narrative became even more identical. On the same day that Instagram rolled out version 3.0 to its 80+ million members, Hipstamatic laid off all but 5 of its core staff.
Last week we reported that the Sacramento Bee had suspended one of its photographers for splicing together a photo of egrets. After some further investigation into Bryan Patrick’s body of work, the newspaper discovered two more photos that had been Photoshopped. It immediately fired Patrick and published a notice:
After The Bee published a correction and apology online Wednesday and in print Thursday, editors reviewed a selection of Patrick’s work and found two additional digital alterations that violate The Bee’s standards.
[...] In a 2009 photograph of the Auburn wildfire that was published unaltered in the newspaper, Patrick subtly enlarged the flames in the photograph submitted for a winning entry to the San Francisco Bay Area Press Photographers Association annual contest. An anonymous email to The Bee late Thursday cast suspicion on that photograph.
NPPA president Sean Elliot wasn’t surprised by the firing, saying, “If he’s willing to move a couple of egrets around, if he’s willing to jazz up flames to make a photo more exciting, how do we know there aren’t more?… How do we trust the work?”
(via SacBee via Poynter)
Update: We’ve updated the post to describe Patrick as a “photographer” rather than “photojournalist”.
Thanks for the tip, Jess!
CNN created quite a stir yesterday after laying off a dozen photojournalists due to the rise of citizen journalism and the availability of cameras. Here’s a humorous response to the story by Stephen Colbert, who gives us a glimpse into the “uncompensated future of news”.
Thanks for the tip, Eduardo!
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.
(via The Hollywood Reporter via FilmmakerIQ)
Image credit: CNN by Ayushπ
Last Friday, we reported that Olympus had fired CEO Michael Woodford, claiming that he clashed with the company’s 92-year-old management style. Woodford is now coming out with different story: he believes that he was dismissed after raising questions about $1+ billion in payments the company made in acquisitions between 2006 and 2008. The Financial Times writes,
Mr Woodford [...] had been pressing other directors since July to explain payments related to the 2008 purchase of Gyrus [...]
Olympus’ own auditors had privately identified problems with the Gyrus transaction, the documents show. KPMG, Olympus’ auditor until 2009, said in an internal report dated March that year: “In our opinion proper accounting records have not been maintained.”
Olympus replaced KPMG as its auditor when its contract ended two months later.
Mr Woodford stressed that he had seen no evidence that Olympus executives benefited improperly from the acquisitions. But he said large amounts of money seemed to have “disappeared” into the hands of poorly vetted outside financial advisers and investment vehicles.
According to BusinessWeek, Woodford has met with the U.K. Serious Fraud Office to request that they investigate the acquisition. Olympus is also considering suing Woodford for leaking internal information to the press.
Ex-Olympus chief questioned payments (via 4/3 Rumors)
Olympus fired CEO and President Michael Woodford today, causing the company’s stock price to take a 17% dive. The 51-year-old Briton was accused by the board of ignoring the management culture that the firm has had in place for 92 years. Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa (who replaces Woodford) says,
We hoped that he could do things that would be difficult for a Japanese executive to do, but he was not able to understand that we needed to reflect the management style we have built up since the company was established 92 years ago, as well as Japanese culture.
The “difficult things” included ambitious cost-cutting plans, which proved to be successful in the company’s European division. Woodford had a habit of ignoring the management structure of the company by giving direct orders to employees rather than the leadership of the different units. While Olympus is known in the consumer electronics industry for its digital cameras, it’s medical equipment that keeps the company afloat — the Olympus camera division lost 15 billion yen (~$195 million) in the year to March 2011.
Olympus fires British CEO, a self-confessed loud-mouth [Reuters]
The AP has sacked photographer Miguel Tovar for “deliberate and misleading photo manipulation” after Tovar cloned out his own shadow from a feature photograph. The Photoshopping came to light after an alert photo editor spotted a strange looking dust pattern in a photo of Argentinian children playing soccer.
Freelance photographer Marc Feldman lost his job when Getty Images discovered that he had sent in an altered golf photo for distribution. But Feldman says that it was all an innocent mistake.
Feldman says he was in the press tent after the event, reviewing some photos. The golfer in the image, Matt Bettencourt, and his caddie came by to look at photos as well. The caddie had suggested that the photo would look better without him in it, and Feldman demonstrated how easily he could be removed.
The photographer said he thought he saved the altered image on his desktop, but somehow accidentally transmitted the image along with his final images to Getty.”I certainly did not mean to send both of them to Getty,” he told Guy Reynolds, the Dallas News photo editor who originally blew the whistle on him. Read more…
It’s a tough job market in New York, and even Spider-Man has difficulty finding job security these days.
In this month’s issues #623 and #624 of Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man comic, Peter Parker loses his job as the photographer for the mayor — former Daily Bugle EIC J. Jonah Jameson.
According to Marvel, Petey has to make a troubling decision between freedom of press or withholding certain information from the media in order to protect a friend, but his decision costs him his job.
Peter Parker has always been a bit of an everyman, often beset with real problems in a real city, on top of the occasional super villain encounter. Parker has had to deal with marital problems, finding freelance gigs, and dealing with the deaths of loved ones.
And now he faces every photog’s worst fear: having a smeared reputation. On top of being able to afford to web-sling through the city, let alone keep an apartment, he now has the daunting task of trying to find a job. Yikes.
This guy just can’t catch a break!
Image credit: Image by Marvel Entertainment and used with permission