It’s a sad day for photographers at the Chicago Sun-Times and journalism in general as a sign of the times.
As per The Huffington Post, sources told Chicago Tribune media reporter Robert Channick about 20 full-time staffers received their pink slips. He tweeted, “Chicago Sun-Times lays off its full photography staff; plans to use freelancers going forward.”
The actual number of employees impacted could be closer to 30, as per Crain’s Chicago Business. The Sun-Times includes publications such as The Chicago Reader.
As for the reason? An increased demand for video and “other multimedia.” Jim Romenesko posted a statement on his site which was issued by the newspaper:
“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.”
Apparently the 10th largest circulating newspaper in the country plans to rely on freelancers and reporters using their smart phones.
As pointed out by Forbes, the Sun-Times won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. The story entailed a package about the continuous level of violence. John J. Kim, staff photographer, was among the winners.