Chicago Sun-Times Eliminates Photography Staff

Posted on 6/7/2013 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

In another example of how the news photography business is changing, the Chicago Sun-Times has eliminated all of its 28 staff photography positions. The paper intends to get images in the future from freelance photographers and reporters taking pictures with their smart phones.

Increasingly, newspapers are looking for employees who can do everything. Reporters will need to be able to write copy that needs little or no editing, take still pictures, shoot video, provide voice over reports for the video stories that appear on the Internet, create graphics for multimedia presentations and do it all on a tight deadline. The idea that individuals would specialize in one of these activities seems to be dead.

In a statement, the Sun-Times said, “The Sun-Times business is changing rapidly and our audiences are consistently seeking more video content with their news. We have made great progress in meeting this demand and are focused on bolstering our reporting capabilities with video and other multimedia elements. The Chicago Sun-Times continues to evolve with our digitally savvy customers, and as a result, we have had to restructure the way we manage multimedia, including photography, across the network.”

Industry Trends

The biggest newspapers are adding digital readers at a double-digital clip, but not fast enough to keep the industry as a whole from losing circulation. According to the latest semi-annual report from the Alliance for Audited Media total daily circulation — including both print and digital — for 593 reporting titles shrank 0.7% in the six months ending March 31, 2013, versus the year-earlier period. The Sunday editions that are typically the most lucrative declined 1.4%.

The Washington Post lost 8.3% of its daily print circulation and added only about 2,000 digital readers. The New York Post lost more than a quarter of its daily print readers, gained more than 50,000 digital readers, and still ended up down nearly 10% year-over-year. For the New York Daily News print sales fell by 10% and there was no offsetting rise in digital. Riding the subways more and more people are getting their information from cell phones and tablet computers, not newspapers anymore.

Copyright © 2013 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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