In yet another sign of the effect the internet has had on physical newspapers, the Chicago Sun-Times this week announced that it has laid off all of its staff photographers.
The newspaper released a statement on the move, saying that its audience is “seeking more video content with their news.” The statement, in full:
The Sun-Times business is changing rapidly and our audiences are consistently seeking more video content with their news. We have made great progress in meeting this demand and are focused on bolstering our reporting capabilities with video and other multimedia elements. The Chicago Sun-Times continues to evolve with our digitally savvy customers, and as a result, we have had to restructure the way we manage multimedia, including photography, across the network.
According to a Chicago Tribune report, the Sun-Times’ financial situation also heavily contributed to the layoffs. The Tribune cited an unnamed “knowledgeable source” as saying the Sun-Times is not currently profitable due to several recent failed initiatives, such as the short-lived online video segment The Marin Report.
The Chicago Newspaper Guild, the union that represents many of the laid-off photographers, has stated that it will fight the layoffs. Guild President David Pollard called the move “shocking and disheartning.”
“The photojournalists that have contributed to this company over the years have been invaluable and it is appalling that the Sun-Times has made such a move that will impact the quality of photojournalism the newspaper produces,” said Pollard.