Orlando Sentinel also fires its photographers. Management of the newspaper puts video in front of photography from now on. Photographers can choose if they want to shoot video or look for a job elsewhere instead.
NPPA published at the end of February that photographers of the Florida based paper face an ultimatum. Management of Orlando Sentinel announced all photographer positions cease to exist. Maybe they learned something from the unpopularity of the decision of Chicago-Sun Times, they don’t immediately fire the photographers but offered them to reapply for other, more video-centric positions. The professional organisation writes this was the first time the newspaper’s design, graphics and multimedia editor, Todd Stewart me the photography staff for the first time to inform them about the changes. Applications for the new positions will be compiled by 10th March and then photographers will be told which job – if any – they have been given.
An anonymous journalist of the paper told NPPA “There are two new positions defined as ‘mobile photojournalists’ who will be shooting video in the field on iPhones or iPads, not using DSLR cameras, and posting video to the Web. And there will be two video editing positions, two video coordinator positions, and two manager’s positions.” There are already two existing full-time video positions in the photography department.
Photographers were told the changes serve to increase the quantity and viewers on the website of the newspaper. The publisher didn’t answer any of the questions of the professional organisations.
Poynter’s senior faculty for visual journalism and diversity, Kenneth Irby told “to have photographers reapply for jobs is a continued devaluing of quality photographic reporting in American newsrooms. […] It is worth noting that this is not the first example of such and seems to be a current trend within Tribune company and there is no instance, to my knowledge, where an upside of having photojournalist reapply for their jobs has been reported […] Rather than create a momentum for innovation, he said the requirement to shoot video in addition to still photos created a leadership void for visual storytelling division, unrealistic workload expectations for individual on the new teams and mediocre, uninspired photographic reporting of any kind […] For all of those that justify such actions and necessary cost cutting measures, I simply reply that you get what you pay for.”
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