RIP Photojournalism

By Ryan Derousseau Comment

Has photojournalism died? According to former photojournalist Neil Burgess, the profession officially passed away at 7:12 ET Sunday evening or morning (he doesn’t really specify).

It’s an interesting thought though. Has the profession that used to tell in-depth stories via the photograph officially ended?
Burgess writes:

“Magazines and newspapers are no longer putting any money into photojournalism. They will commission a portrait or two. They might send a photographer off with a writer to illustrate the writer’s story, but they no longer fund photojournalism. They no longer fund photo-reportage. They only fund photo illustration.”

But it’s a little far-fetched to say an entire profession is officially ended, isn’t it? Well Burgess, who runs a picture agency, goes to the numbers.

“We have now reached the stage where magazine supplements offer me less for a story which might be used over a cover and eight pages than their associated papers pay me for a single picture of a celebrity.”

It’s not that Burgess is happy about this development in fact he hates it. He blames managing editors for the loss of an entire form of journalism, and thinks writers are the next to go. “So we’ll end up with a couple of sub-editors re-phrasing press-releases and dropping in supplied photos. Hell, that’s happening already!”

He doesn’t sound like a fan of the online business model, either. He has a point, in my time working in magazines I never once came across a photojournalist in the hallway. But what do you think? Has photojournalism officially gone the way of the typewriter, becoming just another casualty of the digital world?

Photo by: Shermeee