A chain of local based UK newspapers have decided to get rid of their entire staff of photographers. Guardian writer Roy Greenslade posted a controversial blog essentially likening photographers to early weavers who were eventually replaced by machinery. He feels that the transition to citizens armed with smartphones is logical for the papers both economically and because well, apparently he feels nothing of great importance happens in small communities. He states, “No event occurs – fires, fetes, road accidents, cats up trees, whatever – without someone being on hand to snap a picture. In the real sense of the word, newspaper photographers are therefore redundant.” Ouch.
The blog post angered quite a few people. Some of the comments are quite scathing. One comment by reader “Terakoplan” says,
“One of the less thought out articles; relatively speaking, of course. Firstly, many more people write than take photographs, so by your frankly idiotic reasoning, newspapers should certainly get rid of all writers as the public could just write what they want.
Secondly, a photograph is the only unaltered truth from a story. Putting aside the importance of photographs that communicate the story well, you also need to think through that press photographers are journalists who check the content of the image and make sure it’s accurate to the story. Proper press photographers are also non biased. For accuracy of pictures, any paper, even a local (and again, an idiotic stance to say only cats on trees and fetes are all that happens, as all news happens in a locality!), a properly trained and experienced photographer is essential. Let me remind you of the Boston Marathon where the Police were chasing the wrong suspects for two entire days because they were led astray by pictures from a member of the public. Even the less than qualified man in charge of the Chicago Sun Times has begun hiring photographers again after the idiotic move of closing down the entire photographic department. Lastly, how many people remember “great” articles that they read? Almost all though remember a great photograph that moved them and made them think. If The Guardian wants to keep it’s standards, it certainly should stop publishing rubbish like this article.”
You can read the entire article here on PetaPixel. It has links to all of Mr. Greenslade’s original posts where you can also see reader comments.