Magnum’s Three-Year Turnaround Plan

We reported at the beginning of last month that photography co-op Magnum had sold nearly 200,000 prints to billionaire Michael Dell’s MSD Capital. Now, new details are emerging as to exactly what they plan to do with the money and with their future direction.

Magnum managing director Mark Lubell recently told that he developed a three year turnaround business plan to move the co-op away from traditional revenue streams – a plan that was approved with a unanimous vote by Magnum’s members and estates. The plan involved not only embracing new media, but returning to their photojournalistic roots:

Although he declined to go in to detail about how the company plans to use the proceeds from the sale of its archive, Lubell says that some money will go toward a Web initiative that will give photographers a platform to distribute content. Funds will also be devoted to helping photographers reach field destinations for stories and see them through long-term — the kind of journalism that was once Magnum’s bread and butter. For instance, photographers will be sent to Haiti over the next 12 to 18 months to document the nation’s effort to rebuild. After the initial tragedy subsides, “everyone leaves,” Lubell says, and because the aftermath isn’t headline news, coverage of continuing crises typically aren’t “funded in traditional media circles.”

In an age where everyone is suddenly a “photographer”, it’ll be nice to see Magnum going places and documenting things that amateurs and traditional media neglect.