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When Photojournalists Get Fired



(I’m not saying this is how the conversation went down at the Chicago Sun-Times last week, but I’m saying it could have.)

Good morning, everyone.

Is the entire photography staff here? …26, 27, 28…yes, it looks like everyone is present and accounted for, so let’s begin.

We don’t need you.

Okay, okay, quiet down. Let me rephrase that: we need images for our paper, we just don’t need actual photojournalists to take them. I’m not sure if you were paying attention to Yahoo’s recent press event, but professional photography is dead. I mean, who doesn’t have a camera today, right?

Oh come on, don’t look at me like that.


I have really appreciated all you’ve done for the paper over the years. You’ve been at the right place at the right time; you’ve camped out with those crazy long lenses in all kinds of weather to get that front page shot. You somehow managed, in spite of everything, to bring back to the paper pretty incredible photographs. You knew what I wanted and you went the distance to get it, and I’ve always been very proud of your photographs.

But now? Well, I gotta be honest — I just got an iPhone and let me tell you all, it does one damn fine job. I stood there in the Apple Store thinking, “Why the hell am I paying photographers on my staff when I could just outfit all the reporters with iPhones?”

In between interviews and reporting on events, they can just snap a few shots. It’s a brilliant plan. You don’t even really need to know anything about photography — you just push the little circle that has the picture of the camera. I’m even getting imprinted cases for them with the Chicago Sun-Times logo and the words, “iPhoto-journalist.” See what I did there? I thought it was catchy.


Excuse me? What did you say? More goes into great pictures than just clicking a button? Oh please…don’t act like you’re a Pulitzer prize winning photographer.

Oh…wait…you actually ARE. Well, if it makes you feel better, I’ve carved out $50 from the budget for a whole line of professional photography iPhone apps. Think about that before you accuse me of sacrificing quality.

Now, before you go storming out of here feeling like I slighted you and your profession, let me fill you in on some other changes we’ll be making:

We plan on phasing out reporters completely, too. Why am I paying writers when I get the same thing off Twitter for FREE? I’ve got my son and his two high school buddies set up in the basement to monitor Tweets while they play Halo, and we’ll just post those. It won’t happen right away, of course. One cut back at a time.


Well, I guess that’s about all. I know you all are highly skilled photographers and should have no problem getting work. You’ll be fine, just fine. My sister actually has a thing going photographing newborns in her garage, so you might want to think about that as an option, too.

So, good luck and farwell. Oh, and on your way out will you send in the staff videographers? I need to talk to them, ’cause those iPhones have really amazing video, too.

Image credit: Sun Times Building by Mike Miley, Screenshot from House, Eric at Penn Station Tongue Out By Charlie by akeg, Futuresonic 09 Twitter screen by gill wildman