Chicago Sun-Times Lays Off Entire Photo Staff
Out of Chicago, we see yet another example of the contraction of the newspaper business:
The Chicago Sun-Times has laid off its entire photography staff, and plans to use freelance photographers going forward, the newspaper said.
About 20 full-times staffers received the news Thursday morning, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Here’s the paper’s statement:
“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.”
The head of Chicago’s newspaper guild is saying that the union is looking into their options, but they likely don’t have many here. It’s entirely possible, of course, that many of the freelancers that the Sun-Times uses will end up being former members of the photography staff, but they’ll be paying at a much lower rate most likely and the former staffers will be competing against other freelancers in the process. Additionally, one item at Jim Romenesko’s blog says that the paper plans to have reporters gather photos using their phones going forward.
It’s a pretty shocking development, but given what’s been going on in the industry for years now, it’s hardly surprising.