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Chicago Sun-Times Starting Reporters On iPhone Photography Basics

After a horrible decision to fire an entire photo staff on Thursday, the Chicago Sun-Times media writer Robert Feder, released a Facebook statement from a memo sent out by managing editor Craig Newman. It seems that in the next couple of days, editorial employees will be starting "iPhone Photography Basics."

To think that reporters are going to walk away from assignments with solid imagery (I assume they will be shooting videos as well) is ridiculous or better put, "good enough." It is one thing to try and do more with less, but training a reporter with a mobile phone camera is only going to water down an already image saturated field. Makes me wonder if the decision makers thought about training photographers to write instead of teaching writers to be photographers? Obviously not...



Sun-Times reporters begin mandatory training today on "iPhone photography basics" following elimination of the paper's entire photography staff. "In the coming days and weeks, we'll be working with all editorial employees to train and outfit you as much as possible to produce the content we need," managing editor Craig Newman tells staffers in a memo.

Via Poynter

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Rob Durston's picture

I hope they start getting two paycheck as well (writer and photographer).

Daniel S's picture

In some cases they do get paid extra for producing both images and written word. I've done it for years, but on complex assignments or "big" stories it is really hard to do both well and do the topic justice.
iPhone photography is seriously handicapped with what photojournalists document regularly. The slow AF, lack of zoom, lack of image-stabilization, piss-poor low-light performance, and just looking overall unprofessional and obtrusive sticking a goddamn phone in someone's face shouldn't make this serious option.

You simply cannot do it all at once and do a quality job.

It's like texting while driving and listening to the radio. You'll have to [partially] ignore one or more of them to do something well.

Mr. Midnite's picture

They will not, typically it is considered being "Flexible within the ever changing demands of media." Next they will phase out any veteran higher paid writers who do not fall in line and can then hire newer staff at half the salary with more duties. The contracted staff will still be employed and get bonuses.

Lee Whitman's picture

This is just disgusting. I hope they FAIL and FAIL HARD.

Niall Hastie's picture

That's really quite terrible! It would be funny if it wasn't so sad!!

Richard Grant's picture

Well ... I guess the first step would be to gift the staff with a couple of go-to apps, starting with PureShot from No filtering, straightforward interface, and files are saved in TIFF format so an art director or somebody (if there still is one) can make them look decent in post-processing.

Andrew Williams's picture

Thats a really big IF.

Bob Hewitt's picture

Since the feel photography requires no training will they also be hiring 8th graders as sports reporters?

btezra's picture

sad sign of the times...corporations cut wages, eliminate benefits, cut hours and/or trim staffs and make existing staff work longer hours, lessen product quality, ship jobs overseas, sit on trillions in cash and don't reinvest into innovation and expansion, hide profits etc etc etc etc all in the name of an already artificially over-inflated bottom line so they can increase shareholder day & I kind of hope it arrives sooner than later, there will be no more room to pad the bottom line and the bubble will burst

Elliot McGucken's picture

it's sad to see this happening, but i feel that a lot of photographers could augment their value by shooting quality stills and video at the same time, like we do on every shoot: . it could save a lot of jobs and provide many new opportunities. :)

Nick C's picture

I was sure that this was a joke. I can't believe it, has the 1st of April come back already?

unalaskabai's picture


Osvaldo Rivera Vazquez's picture

So? If this works what's the problem? Seems innovative, just because they don't hire Von wong photographers who studied hundreds of thousands of years in Paris doesn't mean this is wrong. It's real life people, get use to it, evolve or die!

Andrew Williams's picture

yeah I bet your tune would change if it were your job.

Timothy's picture

this newspaper is not evolving its dying and on its last breath just like the rest of them. They are trying to save whatever they have...oh wait they don't have much!

FamilyFriendlyRI's picture

So you are a photographer by trade and agree with this? Very strange. So then I bet you shoot all your photos with an Iphone, right?

ennuipoet's picture

I just stopped vomiting from the original excuse I have to go back and vomit some more.

Mbutu Namubu's picture

The profession of photography is gone and it's never coming back. Get used to it.

Timothy's picture


Sara Wilson's picture

Hopefully you won't lose your spell check... that would be "ridicules"

Richard Haick's picture

Who's winning in the race to the bottom?

pvbella's picture

The Sun Times has no good reporters anyway. Their photographers were great. Here is the new training video for their kindergarten kid reporters-
Now if they could only teach them to spell, write complete sentences, and fact check.

Tenshi Lau's picture

Whats next? Photoshop training with iphones?

Ralph Hightower's picture

Chicago Sun-Times has jumped the shark.

I've seen some wedding photography done with iPhones because someone said "Hey let's shoot a wedding using only iPhones".

I don't own an iPhone, but I assume it has the same quirks as Android phones or Point & Shoot cameras, shutter lag.

Smartphones and P&S cameras are just not a versatile as SLRs are.

Robb Montgomery's picture

Some of the amazing Sun-Times news photos and a film interview with John H. White:

Milton's picture

I've replaced my P&S with my iPhone simply out of convienience. I miss the freatures on the P&S whenever I want to use something like "fill flash" or "change the settings". It's handy and convenient and unfortunately thanks to all the duck face and mirror pictures in the world is now considered the new standard...

...unless of course, those same people who rave about their "great shot" are judging someone else's work - in which case they feel they can outshoot that pro with the dslr with their iPhone - which is what we see happening here...

...I'm going to step down from my soapbox now before this gets worse...

JohnVPhotography's picture

This is completely shameful. How dare the Times do this, as a second slap in the face to their long time photographers.

JohnVPhotography's picture

I hope they rehire some of their ex staff photographers instead of this despicable crap.

Morgan Moller's picture

After this, they're going to ask the writers to print out 1 page each day at home to reduce printing costs Then they're going to ask the writers/photographers to start recording video as well, they'll have a day-long training using vine. Then everyone is going to chip in for the webhosting. Then they'll take turns managing the webcontent. Then they'll give the keys to the building to a different person each day to show up early and open up for everybody (because a night guard is expensive!)

Where does it end? :)

Oscar Todd's picture

I do not buy the Chicago Sun Times..this action makes me wonder how many would do in order to keep an order now a train with an i-phone..guess you can do the same with some major post...all new gwc...sad....sad...

Billo's picture

Craig Newman will receive his multi-million dollar bonus this year - that is all that matters.............................TO HIM !!!!!!!!!!!