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Chicago Sun Times Swaps iPhone Training For Staff Photographers

timothy posted about a year ago | from the cross-training-nervous-reporters dept.

The Media 316

frdmfghtr notes (via Cult of Mac) that "the reporters of the Chicago Sun-Times are being given training in iPhone photography, to make up for the firing of the photography staff. From the CoM story: 'The move is part of a growing trend towards publications using the iPhone as a replacement for fancy, expensive DSLRs. It's a also a sign of how traditional journalism is being changed by technology like the iPhone and the advent of digital publishing.'"

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316 comments

Grammer perhaps? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888633)

Maybe they should train them to use spell and grammer checkers since many articles and even headlines have errors that seem to be due to cut n' paste operations which result in incorrect tenses.

Re:Grammer perhaps? (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#43888675)

auto-correct will take care of that

Re:Grammer perhaps? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888727)

auto-correct will take care of that

Obviously not, or have you not read online news recently?
Just yesterday fox news posted "Giant asteroid to sails past Earth" , but then corrected it hours later.
I'm surprised they didn't spell it "sales".

Re:Grammer perhaps? (2, Insightful)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year ago | (#43889067)

One of my favorite quotes is from Chief Wiggins' son on The Simpsons, "Me not know English, that's unpossible!"

So sad it's fitting for the print media. They can have their reporters take photos but they are losing a lot in terms of composition and quality. Anyone can take photos, but not everyone can take good photos.

Re:Grammer perhaps? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889115)

I'm sorry, sir, but I am afraid I must revoke your geek card. It's "me fail English? That's unpossible!"

Re:Grammer perhaps? (3, Interesting)

hedleyroos (817147) | about a year ago | (#43888753)

"Grammer". You're one to complain.

Re:Grammer perhaps? (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#43888829)

Oh, if only you'd of said "your one to complain".

Re:Grammer perhaps? (2, Interesting)

Ignacio (1465) | about a year ago | (#43888899)

"Have", not "of".

Re:Grammer perhaps? (0)

zidium (2550286) | about a year ago | (#43888979)

In Texas, at least, "you'd of" is 100% acceptable as part of our English lexicon. It is a double contraction of "you would have".

Our other lexicon additions include the contraction "Y'all" ("you all") and "ogravy" for "Oh my gravy!", albeit I only hear the last one said by the ol' timers.

Re:Grammer perhaps? (1)

julesh (229690) | about a year ago | (#43889041)

Perhaps that's how you pronounce it. It's spelled "you'd've", however.

(And it isn't confined to Texas... I've heard it used quite frequently in the UK.)

Why the iPhone of all thing? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888671)

It takes horrible pictures.
At least use the Samsung Galaxy Camera GC100 or something similar.

Re: Why the iPhone of all thing? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888713)

Why an iPhone? Why any phone? Why you remove progressional photographers from the equation you'll get amateur quality photography. Next they'll be teaching them how to use photoshop to fix their crap pictures (or even assemble them from stock photos so they don't need to be bothered going out at all).

Re: Why the iPhone of all thing? (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43888803)

When you remove professional photographers from the equation you'll get amateur quality photography.

When you remove subscription paying readers from the equation, you get less money to pay professional photographers.

Re: Why the iPhone of all thing? (5, Interesting)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#43889017)

And then you lose one more reason for people to subscribe. I think that is the definition of a death spiral.

Re: Why the iPhone of all thing? (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | about a year ago | (#43889347)

Either that or the gigantic push for immediacy has been hurting the newspaper industry for some time, and relying in a professional photographer fighting through crowds with an SLR, only to then pull the memory card, put it in a laptop, find the right pictures and then upload them along to the office for processing, cropping and adding to an article takes far longer than "click, and it's already waiting on your computer" that you get from both iOS and Android anymore.

Print journalism is turning into a blog.

Re: Why the iPhone of all thing? (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#43889105)

"Why an iPhone? Why any phone? Why you remove progressional photographers from the equation you'll get amate"

The remaining Chicago Sun Time readers are all over 70, they won't notice the lack of any progressive photographs.

Re: Why the iPhone of all thing? (-1, Redundant)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43889141)

That's an elitist view.
There is no need for any sort of special professional to press a button on a handled camera device, DSLR or not.

The photographs involved needn't be art, it's for a disposable newspaper.

it's not about the tools.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888845)

"The food tastes terrible. The chef should've used Mauviel pots instead of KitchenAid."

It doesn't matter what tool is used, but *who* is using it.

I predict the photos will look terrible. But then again, I bet most people won't notice. Most people are happy to eat at McDonald's.
Having a taste for art is an expensive hobby. But for a newspaper, having an artistic flair is an added bonus; a window dressing around facts.
I think firing the photographers is a mistake, but it won't negatively impact their business financially - only their reputation. Unfortunately, it's hard to quantify reputation and translate it to dollars.

Re:it's not about the tools.... (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#43888875)

Except the camera isn't just a tool. It's more like one of the ingredients. Suddenly your haute chef is using canned ingredients and rotten produce.

Some shots just aren't going to be possible with a phone period.

The best camera is the one you have with you (0)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#43888937)

No, it takes fantastic pictures...for a phone you always have with you anyway. It was one of the absolute standout features of the iPhone 4, and (with the purple flare issue fixed on the iPhone 5) is still top notch for a phone. It's no substitute for a professional level DSLR (or even an amateur, for that matter), but it can be operated to a very basic level of competence by a minimally trained person. You'll get much better shots from an iPhone than you will if you hand over a D4 or a MkIII to a non-photographer. I suspect everything they are teaching would apply to any phone camera.

One question worth asking is whether a large in-house photo staff is necessary for a publication which will never publish anything larger than 8x10 in 75-100dpi quality print, or will only be seen on a web page with 1000 pixel or less resolution in God-knows-what colorspace. I'm not saying that pros with pro gear can't get better pictures, with better composition, lighting, detail, and artistic style - I'm saying that the paper may have made a financial decision that $3M/yr is not the level of photo they need. Do you need a $20,000 photo shoot for a wedding? For some people the answer is yes, for most it's no - good enough is what they seek for their budget. Can you imagine how many typesetters and press operators lost their jobs when newspapers went to modern press printing? The quality is poorer, the resolution is poorer, and layout is less refined.

Yes, it totally sucks rocks for the people losing their jobs. Yes, we are less likely to have stunning photography of breaking news. Yes, there will still be a market for freelancers to cover the high profile events. Yes, there will ultimately be fewer jobs for professional photographers. That sucks if you're a photographer.

Re:The best camera is the one you have with you (5, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#43889059)

"You'll get much better shots from an iPhone than you will if you hand over a D4 or a MkIII to a non-photographer."

No, actually, you won't. DSLRs still have "green square mode" which puts the things in automatic. You won't get the results you'd get from the same camera with a decent photographer behind it, but you'll get better results than a camera phone provides.

Re:The best camera is the one you have with you (2)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | about a year ago | (#43889345)

The green square helps but it can't make artistic decisions. The photograph will be properly exposed by certain measures but it can't fix composition or subject matter.

Re: The best camera is the one you have with you (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43889133)

Dslr's take photos in raw mode which you can photochop easily

iPhone is in jpeg which you can do some basic editing but the original photo needs to be under optimal conditions

Re:Why the iPhone of all thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889129)

It takes horrible pictures.
At least use the Samsung Galaxy Camera GC100 or something similar.

That's akin to shifting the argument to asking which is the best-smelling pile of shit you can hold in your hand, instead of the more correct response, which is to tell the Chicago Sun Times to use real cameras instead. Sure, the iPhone's pictures might be horrible, but that's not the point.

Of course, given the limitations of newsprint (re: grainy paper) and the low-quality printing methods employed to keep costs down, there's always the possibility nobody will notice. No, not just because nobody's reading print media anymore, but also because high-quality cameras are a waste when you're going to paper like that.

iPhone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888673)

Aparently you can only use an iPhone for photography....Apple invented it....but seriously, an iPhone for professional photography? At least use something with a good lens, sensor and software....Nokia PureView for example, or for that matter anything but an iPhone....geeez

Re:iPhone? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888695)

Keep in mind that the photographs will wind up on the web or on newsprint. You don't need artist quality cameras for that.

Re:iPhone? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888741)

you don't but a fast autofocus with low-light sensitivity will be necessary. Also, when photographing sports, cropping from a 12mp camera phone still isn't good enough quality. A 70-200/ 2.8 will provide a decent quality (dependent on the photog's skill) but it's still hard. But on the other hand, you force the reporter to record video of the sporting event (usually high school)., he/she will still spend a considerable amount of time scrubbing the video to find a good still frame; or worse, edit the video for their online content.

Re:iPhone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888923)

Yes because they make a 300 F4 and 500 f5.6 for the iphone. So as long as the reporter can get REALLY close all will be just fine. :-/ Basically they will end up buying from AP they just aren't saying that.

Re:iPhone? (2)

nukenerd (172703) | about a year ago | (#43889077)

It is not just about the quality and other tech aspects of the camera. There is a world of difference in the ability of a specialist photographer to anticipate and shoot at the decisive moment, with good framing, and that of someone just hauled in to do the job. People like Don McCullin [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_McCullin] would probably still have got cracking photos even with a Box Brownie, while a typical hack writer would probably produce laughably amateurish pics even with a top-of-the-range Nikon.

Re:iPhone? (1)

MrHanky (141717) | about a year ago | (#43888879)

The last two iterations of the iPhone have had fairly good cameras. For smartphones, that is. The only one that's much better is the Nokia 808 (not the WP8 phones with the PureView moniker).

must be a joke (4, Funny)

csumpi (2258986) | about a year ago | (#43888681)

clues:

- training in iPhone photography
- firing of the photography staff
- iPhone as a replacement for fancy, expensive DSLRs

Re:must be a joke (5, Informative)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about a year ago | (#43888729)

They replaced their pool of photographers with freelancers (sports, feature stories, breaking news, etc...). In addition, reporters will now carry iPhones in part to capture low resolution video for their website. It's not really the DSLR v iPhone the headline claims.

Re:must be a joke (1)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about a year ago | (#43888751)

Apologies for replying to myself... This may be a sign the newspaper is going to a digital-only format in the not-too-distant future.

Re:must be a joke (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888821)

This may be a sign the newspaper is going out of business in the not-too-distant future.

No one wants to watch video news. It's not keyword searchable and is thus difficult to use as a source for evidence to win arbitrary arguments on the internet.

Re:must be a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889331)

They replaced their pool of photographers with freelancers (sports, feature stories, breaking news, etc...).

Hey, Yahoo! Put me in charge of Flickr, and I will make it profitable. Really. I won't even ask to work from home. Or make comparisons of executives with their former counterparts at HP.

Re:must be a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888747)

Not sure about points 1 and 3, but the firing of the photography staff isn't a joke. That actually happened. I'm hoping the rest of it is a joke...hoping.

The paper is a joke now, but alas the story is not (4, Insightful)

FreeUser (11483) | about a year ago | (#43888767)

clues:

- training in iPhone photography
- firing of the photography staff
- iPhone as a replacement for fancy, expensive DSLRs

It's real, there was quite a bit of time dedicated to this story on Chicago Tonight a few days ago. The big joke is the Chicago Sun Times itself...once a respectable newspaper, now transforming itself into little more than an amateur blog. And using iPhones with their subpar optics...in the hands of people who know nothing about photography...the paper will be carrying Facebook quality pictures, or as another mentioned, the same pic as every other outlet via AP/UPI.

Whatever bozo made this decision should be fired...his/her 6-figure salary will probably pay for 2 or 3 decent photographers, and they'll get a whole lot more value out of those photographers than they will the moron who made this decision. But then, I don't think the Chicago Sun Times is long for this world anyway (an end hastened by such collasal mismanagement).

What we're watching is the final deathrows of a dying paper, in an industry on life support.

Re:The paper is a joke now, but alas the story is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888919)

What we're watching is the final deathrows of a dying paper ...

Since you are only sem-literate, it shouldn't bother you.

The correct word is "throes".

As in : "death throes".

Re:must be a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888867)

Actually, this is an ongoing trend. This isn't the first... this is just the first Slashdot has noticed.

Re:must be a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888941)

Actually, this is an ongoing trend. This isn't the first... this is just the first Slashdot has been paid to post.

Fixed. This has "shlashvertisement" written all over it; "iPhone" manages to sneak into every sentence, including the headline, and it comes down on the prevailing technology like it's some kind of niche.

Re:must be a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888917)

i liked this bit in tfa..

It's a great camera thatâ(TM)s always with you

some iphones features features may, in fact, be great.. the camera -- NOT one of them. it's ordinary at best, and shitty compared to a _real_ camera.

fine in a pinch, such as a reporter on the scene ahead of a photographer, and they *have* to get a shot before the opportunity is gone.... but it's not a tool that should be the sole source of original photographs for a newspaper or magazine.

The equipment isn't the story (4, Insightful)

MadCow42 (243108) | about a year ago | (#43888687)

Who cares what equipment they're using... A piece of crap camera in a skilled photog's hands can still get a great photo.

The real story (and tragedy) is they think that non-pro photographers (writers and amateurs) can do the job. Watch the results - photo quality (content wise, maybe not just technical wise) will plummet. Maybe they think that doesn't matter, who knows. And for things like sports, they'll have to use wire service photos now for sure. You can get great photos from AP/Reuters, but they'll be the same photos as other news outlets.

Sad sad, and short-sighted decision IMHO

Madcow

Re:The equipment isn't the story (3, Insightful)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | about a year ago | (#43888813)

The real story (and tragedy) is they think that non-pro photographers (writers and amateurs) can do the job.

I don't think they think this. I think they can't justify the cost of creating "real" photos shot by on-staff pro photographers (which come with health care, benefits, taxes, etc.) using DSLRs when "crappy" pics shot by non-pros will do 95% of the time. They can always hire pros as contractors for the 5% of the time they actually need "real" shots -- or license the shots they need from some syndicated source.

Re:The equipment isn't the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889131)

The real story (and tragedy) is they think that non-pro photographers (writers and amateurs) can do the job.

I don't think they think this. I think they can't justify the cost of creating "real" photos shot by on-staff pro photographers (which come with health care, benefits, taxes, etc.) using DSLRs when "crappy" pics shot by non-pros will do 95% of the time. They can always hire pros as contractors for the 5% of the time they actually need "real" shots -- or license the shots they need from some syndicated source.

Newspapers rarely use pro-photos created by their own people or freelancers, and haven't for a number of years. Almost everything they uses is from an image bank where they subscribe for X pics at $Y/usage or a flat fee per year.

Re:The equipment isn't the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888825)

When you print the picture on newsprint the quality suffers due to the medium your are printing on, i.e. it does not really matter. All they need to do is get the picture centered and show the real reason for the image and worry less about the "quality" of the image.

The future of journalism is the content of the story and some images to go along with it. Think of a one person journal-blog with training. News sites will be a collection of these people.

Besides, have you seen the articles in the Sun Times. They are not heavy with the pictures in the first place. Nor maps of where this happened, etc.

Re:The equipment isn't the story (2)

ultranova (717540) | about a year ago | (#43888847)

Sad sad, and short-sighted decision IMHO

It's the same thing everywhere. Austerity is fashionable, so everyone is trying to compete by cutting costs, which means they're cutting quality, which means there's less and less reason why anyone would want their shit for any price.

It's hit newspaper industry especially hard, since they're directly competing with the Internet, but the entire world economy seems to be in a similar death spiral of austerity over investment.

Re:The equipment isn't the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888851)

The real story (and tragedy) is they think that non-pro photographers (writers and amateurs) can do the job.

They can do the job.

We're talking about documentation for most likely electronic media - like websites and mobile consumption - and not about "art" photography. This is take the photo or video and get the story done. They're not hanging out for the right light or the best composition; get the shot to support the story.

Re:The equipment isn't the story (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#43888907)

It doesn't matter if your a pro or an amatuer. There are just some shots you're not going to be able to get with a phone or a cheap consumer camera. When you are out in the world, you often don't get to dictate the circumstances of a shot.

It's "art photography" where you can control conditions.

Journalism requires something capable of handling the world as you encounter it.

Re:The equipment isn't the story (3, Informative)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#43888955)

I used to bump into a Sun-Times staff photographer at the local Starbucks once in a while. He had approximately $15,000 in LENSES hanging around his neck.

Magic money tree? (3, Insightful)

Phoeniyx (2751919) | about a year ago | (#43889123)

Do you have a subscription for the Sun or a similar newspaper? If you do, good for you. But, there are millions who stopped paying for their news. Without this revenue, how exactly are the news outlets supposed to have all these professionals on staff? Magic money tree? The more people get their news from the "internet", the less money will be spent on gathering the news. This is just a natural outcome of the digital age. If it reduces the quality, well.. That's just part of the game.

Re:The equipment isn't the story (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about a year ago | (#43889143)

This is what happens when you can't sell papers, can't have a paywall, and ad revenues decline. What you don't realize that soon this will not be just the death of newspapers, but the death of what little true, professional, journalism is left. Soon, it will be all be bloggers, opinion panderers, and spin artists. If a person can't make money at a profession, that profession dies. Because everyone expects on-line news to be free and don't read newspapers anymore, print media are finding it harder and harder to make money, thus print journalists are finding it harder to make money.

Re:The equipment isn't the story (2)

Alex Belits (437) | about a year ago | (#43889195)

Who cares what equipment they're using... A piece of crap camera in a skilled photog's hands can still get a great photo.

Yes, it can. Occasionally and given the conditions that won't cause the picture to turn into a total crap due to simple laws of physics. The point of photo journalism is not to make "great photos", it's to make acceptably good photos OF THINGS THEY ARE REPORTING ABOUT.

What is often in conditions like this [smugmug.com] , this [smugmug.com] , this [smugmug.com] , this [smugmug.com] or this [smugmug.com] .

And then amateur (such as myself) is ok, but he still has to use a camera that can handle the lighting conditions, movement, distance and required depth of field, and have minimal clue about taking photos in those conditions. Neither a great photographer with iPhone, nor a reporter with minimal training and DSLR (because really, they have to be delusional to combine a beginner photographer and a camera that only works in perfect conditions) would be able to take them. I admit, I have chosen subjects such as Valencia Street hipster in his natural environment for the heck of it, but journalists don't get such a choice.

Seriously? (2)

cronostitan (573676) | about a year ago | (#43888699)

That's like teaching a jockey to ride a broom stick instead of a real horse because the staff needed to feed the horse has been too costly.
Now, where is the difference between a normal human being taking a pic of currrent happenings or the reporter?
There is none, anymore. Anyone can ride a broom stick, except the jockey might do it with a bit more skip-walking, but not really gaining an advantage.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888721)

Indeed. People's taste in journalism in the past decade has been declining - everyone wants to consume the broom stick journalism.
Personally, I'd rather read articles and see the photos online because videos take too long and requires audio - something I have a hard time doing at work durin my "mini-breaks." I can only watch videos when I'm home. Even then, I'd rather watch lolzcat videos than news when I'm home. But that's just me.

Spot the trend (2)

petes_PoV (912422) | about a year ago | (#43888799)

Now, where is the difference between a normal human being taking a pic of currrent happenings or the reporter?

Just so long as the reporters getting this training realise that they are next for the chop - just as soon as reader-submitted "news" becomes more plentiful.

Re:Seriously? (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43889197)

It doesn't matter who takes a picture of the event, what matters is that you have a picture to attach to your article.
I don't really understand what's your point.

There is no difference whether it's the reporter or anyone else, and I don't see why there should be.

Accordingly (4, Insightful)

evil_aaronm (671521) | about a year ago | (#43888715)

I propose that the editor be replaced by my second-grade grand-daughter - I mean, she can edit just as well, right? - and the "fancy, expensive" computer that the editor currently uses be replaced by an Etch-A-Sketch. Or Crayons.

Re:Accordingly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889213)

It's difficult to justify any professional staff when the business isn't making money.

I think this is good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888731)

I mean what is the resolution of a black and white picture printed in a grease smudged newspaper. It is surely less than the resolution / pic quality of an Iphone.

I would also suggest the following cost saving measures to Chicago sun times. Fire all your writers / editorial staff. The news can be handled just a competantly by crowdsourced bloggers, and with a lot more objectivity. Finally fire all your managerial staff. With bloggers prividing content and photography, there really is no need to keep these expensive managers on staff. With these cost saving measures, I predict that your stock prices will rise expoentially. This is a win win scenario.

WoW! I have just done the job of an expensive Harvard educated business analysists/ consultants, and I never even finished community college. Maybe we could fire those guys too. Then we could get back to making the USA a profitable entity.

oh yes, totally a replacement for a DSLR (0)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43888733)

that 3.85 mm f/2.8 lens totally can replace anything the lens collection of my SLR, I'm flinging it into the trash.

    (for angle of view and "fastness" it's basically like a 30mm (wide angle) f/22 lens on a 35mm camera)

Da (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888743)

Americunts are getting stupider every day!

Re:Da (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888793)

Dude what do you have against Bolvians? You do realize that Bolivia is part of America. You have just denigrated two continents with you smear targeted at the USA. If you are going to keep up your prejudices about the superiority of Eurpeans / the rest of the world, you at least owe it toward yourself to figure out where the USA is, and stop calling it America.

The USA is not America!!!! Amercia is two frickin continents.

As a proud USian, I do not appreciate being lumped in with those good looking polite scoundrals from Canada 8-). I hate those guys.

Re:Da (0)

Holi (250190) | about a year ago | (#43888855)

No it's not moron.
You have 2 Continents North America and South America. There is no continent named America. When some one refers to America they are always referring to the USA.

USian is not a correct term and not one used by Americans.

What was lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888797)

Peek into the private collection of historic Sun-Times news photos. http://j.mp/sun-times-photos

The camera isn't the issue (5, Insightful)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year ago | (#43888831)

The move is part of a growing trend towards publications using the iPhone as a replacement for fancy, expensive DSLRs.

No, the move is a trend towards replacing trained skilled professionals (in this case, photojournalists) with cheap, unskilled labor (reporters who might be fine reporters, but don't know shit about photography and photojournalism; or even "user submissions" from Joe Random's cellphone). The cost of a DSLR is nothing compared to wages for a professional. Unfortunately, the *results* from dumping the photojournalists are also nothing compared to using the professional --- and it's not a matter of camera quality. A professional photojournalist with an iPhone would produce better photojournalism than non-experts with a DSLR. The Chicago Sun Times isn't throwing away "pixel quality" so much as "journalism quality" --- no wonder newspapers are dying.

Re:The camera isn't the issue (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#43888935)

> A professional photojournalist with an iPhone would produce better photojournalism than non-experts with a DSLR.

Nope. The iPhone simply isn't up to the task. It doesn't matter how much expertise you throw at it.

Re:The camera isn't the issue (2)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year ago | (#43889033)

Depends a lot on the task. An iPhone won't be much good for the sports page, but not all news stories are about dim, fast-moving, and distant subjects. For daylight and decently-lit interior shots, an iPhone is perfectly sufficient for web-sized and terrible-quality-print (newspaper) images. Double-page glossy color magazine spreads won't look so great. When not working at the margins of technical capability, a professional who knows how to frame an image to "tell a story" will consistently produce *far* better (not in sharpness/color, but in composition/content) images even with crippled technology.
Anyway, my point is not to say iPhones should replace "real" cameras --- a far more capable camera isn't particularly expensive, and people should be using "the right tools for the job." But, for a wide variety of common photojournalism situations, an iPhone is already "good enough" (and there are even some highly respectable, prizewinning professional photojournalists who have used cellphone cameras for their own work).

Re:The camera isn't the issue (4, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#43889025)

This makes sense - if the point of journalism is to deliver high-quality photography of the kind that other photographers will appreciate. So much of old-fashioned journalism is a gigantic circle-jerk. It has been repeatedly proven that nobody needs this sort of hugely expensive photography in order to tell a story. A couple of snapshots are enough. "But how will anyone win the Pulitzer Prize?!?!" Yeah, the local newspaper won't win that anyway. It's more of a political award than an acknowledgement of talent.

Frankly, the people who will be providing said snapshots are ordinary folk posting on social media. Who cares what the f-stop was, or if someone took a shot facing into the sun? It's a freaking photo, it will be gone in 24 hours, why spend any money on it?

Professional photographers are, predictably, butthurt about the whole thing as it directly attacks their livelihood. When I became an adult I was just shocked at how horridly expensive photography is. And how stupidly overpowered this photography was for my needs. Nobody wants to pay $1500 for a photo of some ducks at a lake. I'm just illustrating an article, thanks. And yet until now this sort of market has existed. Insane, and it is quite gratifying to see this sort of elitist nonsense finally obsoleted.

Oh, don't believe me? One need only spend time on pro photographer forums to find out just how prevalent the snobbery is. Let's not even get into Nikon vs. Canon.

Re:The camera isn't the issue (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year ago | (#43889113)

One need only spend time on pro photographer forums to find out just how prevalent the snobbery is. Let's not even get into Nikon vs. Canon.

Been there, do that. The general dynamic that I've observed is that the amateur noobs can be insufferable gear snobs --- immensely arrogant that their new prosumer DSLR is the pinnacle of photographic awesomeness. The working professionals, who carry around $30k of camera gear in their bags, disdain gear/brand-snobbery with a passion, and contribute spectacular photos to the cellphone picture threads.

Re:The camera isn't the issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889265)

Sorry, but good photography is a skilled art that requires training and years of practice. Most people (myself included) have no idea how to frame a shot well, take lighting into account, etc. Once in a while Joe Average will get happen to get lucky and snap a decent shot with whatever they have available, but this is an exception.

A true master of the craft will utilize the best tool for the job at hand available to them, but will never regard the one true tool as the end-all-be-all. Are you certain you're reading forums for real professionals and not wannabe gear enthusiasts who just want to brag about how much money they spent on a camera?

Slashdot Editors: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888835)

Dear Slashdot Editors,

I love you guys so much that I've kept coming here since 1999. Part of the alternative-reality game that is Slashdot has always been nit-picking your work. With that in mind:

The Slashdot headline says that the newspaper is swapping iPhone training for dedicated photographers.

But that's not what's happening. In order for Slashdot's headline to be true, it would have to be the case that the Chicago Sun-Times had, through its 65-year history, been taking photos using reporters' iPhones, and that just now did somebody realize that hiring dedicated photographers would bring about stronger journalism.

Instead, the story here is that a prominent newspaper has fired its entire full-time photography staff, and has filled their void by training the remaining reporters in photojournalism. (And, yes, there's "tech" angle in that the iPhone takes good enough pictures to be used for photojournalism.)

But for now, my dear Slashdot editors, let's focus on one thing:

When you "swap X for Y", as the Slashdot headline says, you're taking thing X, which you already have, getting rid of it, and obtaining thing Y in its place. Your headline should have been, "Chicago Sun-Times Swaps Staff Photographers for iPhone Training".

But look, you've got a lot on your plate. Just focus on the definition of "swap", Slashdot Editors, and we'll overlook the missing hyphen from "Sun-Times", and we'll save for another day the debate on the contribution of technology to the death of traditional print journalism, and how editors who don't know how to write headlines using the word "swap" can slowly put out of business a whole class of photojournalists. :)

Re:Slashdot Editors: (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#43888967)

> And, yes, there's "tech" angle in that the iPhone takes good enough pictures to be used for photojournalism

Yes there's certainly a tech angle in the CLAIM that you can replace a real camera with a phone. That is a claim that is very likely to be in dispute as there are quite a lot of people that have done photography with these devices.

A useless grey blur is unlikely to be useful for photojournalism and that's a likely result you're going to get from an inferior device in a lot of situations.

It does not take a lot of photography experience to realize this but it does take some.

Thom Hogan has a very critical write up on this (4, Insightful)

jools33 (252092) | about a year ago | (#43888861)

Thom Hogan (Nikon expert) has a very critical take on this here [bythom.com] , one which I happen to agree with fully, to quote Thom:
" If you're in the content business, there's one simple rule you have to remember: create the best content for your chosen media. First, you can sell great content to customers (circulation revenue). Second, you can sell your access to a great set of customers to others (advertising revenue). Corollary: if you don't invest in the content, you'll die. First, because you don't attract a large enough audience and can't hold them. Second, because the declining audience will scare advertisers away. Finally, if you just run from your chosen medium to try to dominate another one, you're playing moose to someone else's elephant. Prepare to get stepped on."

Re:Thom Hogan has a very critical write up on this (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | about a year ago | (#43888981)

Don't know about dead tree editions, but a lot of online "newspapers" don't publish hi-res images on the website. Instead I often see low-res images with no option to enlarge.

That's not taking advantage of the web. Some of these guys are dinosaurs and don't know what to make of online media. I'm not speaking of Chicago Sun Times specifically, but other newspapers suck when it comes to images on their online presence.

Re:Thom Hogan has a very critical write up on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889173)

This is because the lower the resolution used, the cheaper the fee to use someone elses's images. The vast majority of images used in publications are stock photos from massive image banks. Most big players are now owned by Bill Gates, almost every time you see an image on a news site, paper or magazine, Gates is getting paid.

Lost jobs...George Bush's Fault (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888873)

Must be George Bush's fault that the photographers lost their jobs due to the evolving technology.

TV will do this next (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year ago | (#43888895)

Then we'll see "self pix" like remote TV reporting. No need for a camera person to tag along and no need for a remote van with that tall transmitter tower that can get mixed up with the electrical wires overhead.

Hopefully the death of the Newspapers (0)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43888905)

Ignoring the fact that this is an Apple advertisement, and awesomely stupid; If the idea is to get good photos...then choose the phone with the best camera. Personally I love the fact that suddenly journalists who I never liked, over reporters who I do, can no longer spew whatever propaganda they have been paid for that I am forced to digest...they are suddenly no more relevant than a blogger(or whatever term is popular today), who are on mass decidedly more honest. Now if only TV news was as easy to end.

Personally though I love the idea of spiderman on the dole queue and superman taking iPhone lessons because holy mother of mary I could not sit though another reboot of lets face it a raped caricature of their former self, and maybe....just maybe I can have a squeal to Dredd 3D.

Re:Hopefully the death of the Newspapers (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43889165)

If the idea is to get good photos...then choose the phone with the best camera.

Or, y'know, just get the best camera. Even a mediocre camera would probably be better than any phone camera. It won't be long until one their iJournos is cursing the lack of optical zoom.

Yeah, right (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about a year ago | (#43889015)

Because an iPhone or any similar crapozoid cameraphone can take pictures of any distant subject. Suppose you have to take pictures of anything from beyond a police cordon, what are you going to do? Even an inexpensive compact camera with good lenses and a nice zoom is going to be better. Lame. Close Chicago Sun-Times down, melt down the presses, throw the board of directors into the molten metal and set fire to the building.

death blow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889021)

well, this should eliminate any remaining subscribers who thing that it makes sense to pay the Chicago Sun Time for their content. If they get all their news (and now photos) from the web, why pay them? so sad.

Less content, less news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889029)

A picture can be worth a thousand words. A picture can tell an entire story. A picture can evoke real emotion.

Or a picture can be too dim, taken too late, or just not framed in the right context and do none of those things.

I don't see removing content being a winning strategy in the news business. The net effect is the same as arbitrarily reducing the number of words in the articles.

This is a similar decision to firing all the reporters and assigning the stories to interns. After all, they can write stories too.

Cave Paintings (1)

Aaron B Lingwood (1288412) | about a year ago | (#43889039)

This is a dark day in the recording of human history. The people now responsible for capturing the most important events of the human age are neither masters of their craft nor using the best available tools. I almost couldn't think of a more ridiculous scenario.

Re:Cave Paintings (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43889343)

The people now responsible for capturing the most important events...

...aren't working for the Chicago Sun-Times anyway.

It Begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889075)

Get ready for news reports shot in vertical.

Goes the other way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889163)

I would much rather see a story written by a photographer with their quality photos than a piece written by a reporter and their crappy shots.

This is about video for free (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889339)

I'm a tech writer who started off as a journalist. I can see what they are trying. The idea is that they want video rather than pictures and even better, they want videos uploaded by the public -- for free! -- or reporters.

Newspapers need a new business model and this will be a part of it, definitely. This is someone who has a $3000 DLSR saying this. However, photographers need to be aware that 'You'll miss us when we're gone' is not a business model for them. New equipment has allowed amateurs to use AF and AE to get acceptable shots and even good shots. They can't tell you how they did it, do it a second time, or make minute adjustments but if you've got 1,000 users posting pictures to Instagram or Flickr, and you just need something good enough that's free, well, there you are. Even if 98 per cent of these are crap, the two per cent of them that are acceptable (assuming you can find them) are basically free.

From a bean counting perspective, this makes sense.

Operationally, it's idiotic.

The idea that since the reporter is holding up a phone as a recorder anyway, he might as well capture video may sound great on paper but operationally, this only works in great light, short distances and you need a plug in microphone. If you've ever been at a press conference, the cameramen are standing back, with the cameras up high and using zooms dedicated mics at the podium. In free for alls, the reporter is using a dedicated mic and the camera operator is angling for a functional shot.

Video as news rather than the single image is a technological advance.

We used to use engravings in newspapers, then photos and videos are next. Why? You cannot show video on paper but now that we have tablets, this is not longer an issue. However, it's hard enough to get a great single frame image, never mind a great moving image. Of course, editing video is actually a skill and is often a slow process because you can only proceed linearly. Which is easier? Final Cut Pro or SnagIt? The people approving this have never tried using video.

Getting back to the capture, great images can come down to down to light shaping and lens choice. You need to learn these things and it's a skill and, yep, a $1,500 lens that you can shoot camera raw in, often in near darkness will wipe the street with your camera phone. Last week an apparently simple shot of the Queen was published. You wouldn't know that she was standing next to a two meter tall reflector and underneath an off camera light source out in the middle of the Scottish moors, but that's rather the point.

Because taking and making photos is no longer 'special' we have seen the collapse of the wedding photography industry and now photo journalism. Most people have no taste and wouldn't know a good image from a bad one until the 'I'll photograph your wedding for $200 bozo' you got off Craigslist turns in his garbage. Lens and lighting choices matter, and the ability to generate great shots consistently is also a skill. You need an apprenticeship, practice and there's no substitute for gear.

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