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The Demise of the Staff Photographer: Daily News Cuts Entire Department

 

It is still as if we are in a nightmare as the New York Daily News, founded by Joseph Medill Patterson in 1919, fired its entire photography department and half of its newsroom staffing It is a shocking turn on a growing trend.


Yes, newspapers are struggling, but photojournalism requires more than a smartphone. News outlets are increasingly relying on the public – requesting free photos from people on social media and sending out reporters with smartphones. Today, journalism and a free press matter more than ever.



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A picture is worth a thousand words, right? In 2016 one of these papers cut their photographers from the payroll Can you tell which paper’s cover photo was shot by a professional? Sports photography is a skill – capturing the best moment of the action takes years of practice and a trained eye.

 

 


An article published by the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), obviously blasted the decision.


“The move by parent company Tronc comes less than a year after it bought the Daily News . . . The newspaper was losing money and reports had been circulating that Tronc would cut staff. Late Monday, after the Daily News layoffs, a Tronc memo said that they are planning additional layoffs at other newspapers in the group. Tronc owns the Chicago Tribune [see above] and newspapers in Baltimore, Hartford, Virginia, and Florida.  At least two of the papers in the chain have already eliminated photo management and operate with a handful of photographers.”

 

“I want to say that I understand,” said Todd Maisel, now a former Daily News staffer who had been there 18 years. He added that he knows a publicly-traded company needs to make money, “But I’m not sure the people who are running things understand anything.”

 

Marcus Santos joined the photography team at the Daily News five years ago. While worried about finding his next job, the photojournalist is also “concerned about how the Daily News will cover New York City without photographers being the first witnesses on the streets,” reported the NPPA.

 

“We’re the front lines . . . we tell them what is going on and they send a reporter,” Santos said.

 

“I grew up under the dictators in Brazil,” Santos said. “You know when the press is not doing a good job. That’s when the corruption grows.”