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.
Here’s a fascinating video in which Italian photographer Ruben Salvadori demonstrates how dishonest many conflict photographs are. Salvadori spent a significant amount of time in East Jerusalem, studying the role photojournalists play in what the world sees. By turning his camera on the photographers themselves, he shows how photojournalists often influence the events they’re supposed to document objectively, and how photographers are often pushed to seek and create drama even in situations that lack it.
You might start looking at conflict photos in the news a lot differently after watching this.
At times erratic and unpredictable, Sangat TV is still captivating. Its most jaw-dropping moment was on Tuesday night, while it filmed from a car a police pursuit of young rioters down a Birmingham backstreet. With police lagging far behind, Sangat presenter Upinder Randhawa shouted to the officers: “Do you need a lift? We’ll give you a lift. Get in the car.”
Twenty seconds later the rioters were arrested. “Another live Sangat TV exclusive”, Randhawa told his audience.
Talk about Gonzo journalism… Their unique footage has been rebroadcast by CNN, the BCC, and news outlets in India.
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. Read more…
Emphas.is is a newly launched Kickstarter-esque website that brings the latest Internet craze of crowd funding to photojournalism. If you have an awesome photojournalism project that you’d like to do, you can submit the idea to the site to raise funds. If there are any projects that you’d like to see happen, you can help make it happen with a donation between $10 and $3K.
By agreeing to back a story, for a minimum contribution of $10, you are making sure that the issues that you care about receive the in-depth coverage they deserve.
In return you are invited along on the journey. Photojournalists on Emphas.is agree to enter into a direct dialogue with their backers, sharing their experiences and insights as the creative process unfolds.
It’s a pretty neat idea that will hopefully spark some really interesting photojournalistic work.
There’s a photography joke that goes, “If you saw a man drowning and you could either save him or photograph the event… what kind of film would you use?”. While this might be a lighthearted jab at photo-lovers, it also reminds us of a very real dilemma photojournalists are often confronted with — the struggle between doing their job by documenting reality and getting involved in the reality they need to document. The short film above, titled “Moment of Truth – Photographer”, provides a powerful glimpse into the mental and emotional toll wartime photojournalists undoubtedly pay quite often.
If you think photographers’ rights in the US or UK are bad, get a load of this: Kuwait is now banning the use of DSLR cameras in public places for everyone except accredited journalists. Three ministries (information, social affairs, and finance) issued the joint ban last week, but strangely ignored the use of other cameras and forms of photography, meaning that citizens can still shoot publicly with compact cameras and camera-equipped phones. Read more…
This audio slideshow interview by BagNewsSalon features New York Times contract photographer Michael Kamber, who discusses the issue of military censorship of photographs shot during the Iraq war and how his ability to document the war became more and more limited as time went on. An interesting point he makes is that uncensored photography should be allowed even if it can’t be published immediately, because it can provide posterity with an accurate view into the past.
Making pictures and getting them published have their own set of rules dictated by government, military, publishers and editors. The images made by the photojournalists who covered the war can reveal a gruesome reality beyond what the American media has shown us. “I think that we need to publish those photos for history even if we can’t get them in the newspaper today,” said Kamber.
A warning: the slideshow includes some pretty intense images of war.