Chicago Sun-Times Fires Photo Staff, Will Train Reporters to Use iPhones For Photos

iphone-camera-iconA day after the Chicago Sun-Times fired the entirety of its 28-person photo staff, Chicago media critic Robert Feder (via Cult of Mac) is reporting that the newspaper is training its reporters in iPhone photography to produce the photo content the paper requires.
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.
Chicago Tribune photojournalist Alex Garcia criticized the move, calling it "idiotic" because reporters are not prepared to create both visual and written content. He also criticized using iPhones for photojournalism because the smartphone lacks options like different lenses and manual controls, which DSLR's have.
An iPhone is just an iPhone. It doesn’t have a telephoto to see way past police lines or across a field, ballroom or four-lane highway. It doesn’t have a lot of manual controls to deal with the countless situations that automatic exposure will fail to capture. How many situations are 18% gray, anyway?
Apple's various iPhones have become some of the most popular cameras on Flickr, outranking more advanced DSLR cameras like the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Apple has made efforts to greatly improve the iPhone's camera over its past few iterations and in late April, the company even released an ad focusing on the popularity of the iPhone's camera.

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Posted: 17 months ago
Sounds like a headline straight from The Onion.
Rating: 78 Votes
Posted: 17 months ago
I agree. No way is phone photograph no more than casual photography. Serious photography will always be with SLR. Stupid decision
Rating: 35 Votes
Posted: 17 months ago

Photographers are pissed! lol

Gotta embrace the tech fellas. Reminds me of how audio engineers hated the move from analog to digital and then talked down about mp3's.

It's a new world we live in. Roll with it or get rolled over.


Photographers have often stayed current with technology - they shoot with digital cameras of the latest variety. I'm not sure you have a valid argument here.

There's a difference between shooting with an iPhone and shooting with a DSLR. There's a difference between amateur reporting and photography and professional.

If one doesn't know the difference or thinks it doesn't matter "much" - perhaps those people shouldn't be discussing it.
Rating: 31 Votes
Posted: 17 months ago
Desperate moves to reduce costs? If they were in trouble prior to this idiotic move, then they have just gotten themselves into even more trouble.

I wonder if others will follow the same move.

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Photographers are pissed! lol

Gotta embrace the tech fellas. Reminds me of how audio engineers hated the move from analog to digital and then talked down about mp3's.

It's a new world we live in. Roll with it or get rolled over.


Your ignorance amuses me.
Rating: 24 Votes
Posted: 17 months ago
They probably should have fired all the reporters and taught the photographers to write instead; it would be easier. (oh no he didn't!!)
Rating: 21 Votes
Posted: 17 months ago

Sounds like a headline straight from The Onion.


I honestly did a double take, this is an awful idea.

That and asking reporters to do the job of a photographer too, without the proper training that a photographer would learn (this is not the same as "iphone photography training").

This story is sad.
Rating: 20 Votes
Posted: 17 months ago
While I agree that it's not good for journalism, it's another part of the pay to play world we live in. How many of you opposed to this would buy a subscription/pay more to a news service to have an incrementally better picture? People aren't hardly willing to pay anything as it is so I'm not surprised when I see companies make moves like this. Do I like it? No. Do I understand it? Yup.
Rating: 20 Votes
Posted: 17 months ago
Idiotic move is idiotic.

Photojournalism can sometimes be handled by someone inexperienced. But it's also an artform. And great pictures can be taken with any camera. But sometimes you have to have the right equipment. And the iPhone is not the right equipment to capture everything and anything.

Maybe the CST should stop printing a NEWSPAPER and just become an online collection of blogs. Hey - they can partner with Yahoo/Tumblr :rolleyes:
Rating: 12 Votes
Posted: 17 months ago

Photographers are pissed! lol

Gotta embrace the tech fellas. Reminds me of how audio engineers hated the move from analog to digital and then talked down about mp3's.

It's a new world we live in. Roll with it or get rolled over.


You clearly haven't experienced high quality audio. It's one of life's greatest pleasures. Trust me: there's a HUGE difference; to your senses it's like the difference between eating crappy fast food and fine high cuisine. And just as high quality audio, high photography also makes a huge difference. Have you heard that a picture is worth a thousand words? Why wouldn't you want professionals taking them? Not only for aesthetics or artistic reasons, but also for informational ones. A fair amount of times, the picture becomes the story itself.

It seems the new world we want to live in, is willing to settle for crap when it comes to everything. It favors crappy audio, crappy food, crappy music, crappy news with crappy photography, just to save a few bucks and get better profits to hedge-fund stockholders and wall-street speculators.

I agree - it's an idiotic decision. I hope it doesn't become a standard.
Rating: 11 Votes
Posted: 17 months ago

Also, there are TONS of camera lens accessories for the iPhone and they produce DSLR (if not BETTER than DSLR) quality.


Wow. Stunning misinformation.

That's like telling me that adding good spark plugs to a Honda Civic will give it better towing capability than a Ford F150.

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I'm always amazed at how many people think good photography is based on the quality of the equipment rather than the skill and eye of the photographer.


A good photographer with an iPhone can undoubtedly take a much better photo than some Joe with a thousand dollar DSLR.

But if the good photographer is being paid to take photos, that person would be wise to take a good camera along.
Rating: 10 Votes

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