WHO KILLED THE PHOTOGRAPHER?
There is no doubt that the world is changing faster than anybody could have anticipated, well that is apart from the fact we still don´t have hover boards (Back to the Future) or Eagle Transporters (Space 1999), amongst other things, but those aside, technology is fast taking over.
As a “hunter-gatherer”, in a news sense, not dead animals, I use the latest technology all the time. I always have my iPhone with me, wherever I go, often leaving a camera behind, sometimes even leaving a notebook, just making notes on an app on my phone. I can upload pictures from a news event immediately and can even write articles and have them on the web in seconds.
But thinking back to the days of classic films, or movies, whichever you prefer, with the members of the press in Trilby hats, little cards sticking from their wraparound ribbon, proudly displaying the word “press”, we already know that doesn´t happen anymore. Which is a shame as I´d quite like a hat!
Anyway, back to my point. The iPhone itself, wonderful though it is, is also responsible for job losses and unemployment. Not the people manufacturing them, but of those who may have been more traditional in the collation of the news, or journalists, if you like.
Earlier this month, the Chicago Sun-Times decided to get rid of their entire compliment of news photographers. Albeit it was only 28 people, which seems a little insignificant when you think that they have a certified, paid distribution of over a quarter of a million copies. But 28 jobs are still 28 people, 28 specialists who might struggle to find work in any other field.
So the obvious question is how do they get their pictures now, and why am I saying that it´s the poor iPhone´s fault? Well, because it is! On the 30th of May, the Managing Editor, Craig Newman, sent a memo to all Sun-Times editorial staff, saying, “In the coming days and weeks, we’ll be working with all editorial employees to train and outfit you as much as possible to produce the content we need”.
Great, training is important, and it was also not optional, “These sessions will be mandatory and will concentrate on several areas”.
Top of that list of the training agenda was, “iPhone photography basics”, as well as viseo editing and how to send the pictures to Twitter and Facebook, although the latter had a much more glamorous title of, “Transmission and social media”, obviously covering more that the sites I mentioned.
I have already said that´s what I do all the time, so I can´t really be complaining, and I´m not. The point was as I lead into this piece, the world is changing and we need to change with it. If we don´t we are relics of a past age, and the one person still wearing the hat has already been left behind, as news is becoming faster, shorter and more easily forgettable, as we move on to the next enthralling episode of 24/7 real-time journalism.