Picture This – Cellphones are the New Photojournalists

by Heather Keroes

In the age of citizen journalism, shrinking news rooms have placed one-stop shop hats on their reporters – who don’t just report, but now blog, tweet and everything in between.  The story “Chicago Sun-Times Lays Off Full Photo Staff” caught my eye on Mashable today for the obvious reasons, but there’s more to this story.

Not surprisingly, the newspaper is planning to hire freelance photographers in lieu of full-time staffers.  But after the announcement, a Chicago-based freelance writer tweeted that the Sun-Times reporters will be using their own cellphones to capture photos for their stories.  Whether this statement is truth or humor, it didn’t seem like a far stretch to me.  Media already use photos from the public, encouraging readers or viewers to share their photos and videos.  Why not reporters?

I definitely believe there’s value in “off-the-cuff” photography from the public.  They are capable of capturing moments that a professional photographer cannot.  But when I open the paper or a magazine, and see a truly great shot taken by a photographer, I know I’d miss it if it went away.

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