The New York Daily News slashed its editorial staff in half this week, and among the casualties of the layoffs was the entire team of photographers. The paper, which called itself “New York’s Picture Newspaper” for over 70 years, now has zero staff photographers.
The photographers who lost their jobs were Anthony DelMundo, Debbie Egan-Chin, James Keivom, Todd Maisel, Ken Murray, Andrew Savulich, Howard Simmons, Susan Watts, Marcus Santos and Jefferson Siegel.
“I want to say that I understand,” Maisel tells NPPA. “But I’m not sure the people who are running things understand anything.”
.@NYDailyNews bloodbath slashes editorial staff in half “It was a massacre,” said Todd Maisel, an 18-year veteran photographer, about the photo department, which has but two editors remaining after all 12 staff photographers were pink-slipped https://t.co/eQx9gE9yfE via @nypost
— Mickey Osterreicher (@nppalawyer) July 24, 2018
“We thought it was going to be another layoff,” Santos tells NPPA. “We were the only department making money for them.”
The massive layoffs come a little over half a year after the Daily News was acquired by Tronc, which paid $1 for the newspaper while taking over its “operational and pension liabilities” (which were presumably great).
Eliminating its entire staff of photographers was an unexpected move for the paper due to its rich history of photojournalism. Its slogan was “New York’s Picture Newspaper” from the years 1920 to 1991, and it placed a heavy emphasis on photography.
In fact, the New York Daily News‘ logo has featured a camera since it was founded as Illustrated Daily News, 99 years ago in 1919.
Unfortunately for photojournalists, the Daily News‘ photo layoffs are only the latest in a series of layoffs at major publications. In just the past several years, publications that have eliminated many or all of its photojournalists include the Chicago Sun-Times, CNN, and Sports Illustrated.
“There has been a general acceptance, even in the public, of mediocrity, of photos that are less-than-good,” Maisel tells Fstoppers, saying that decision-makers at news organizations often have a great deal of experience in journalism but a poor understanding of photography.
Without staff photographers, news outlets rely entirely on things like wire images, licensing images directly, requesting free photos from people on social media, and sending out reporters with smartphones.
And as we’ve already seen, eliminating your entire photography staff can have disastrous effects on the quality of your visual reporting.