Sun-Times will rehire 4 photographers

Robert Feder

The Chicago Sun-Times plans to rehire four of the photographers it let go last year, Robert Feder reports:

Rich Chapman, Brian Jackson, Al Podgorski and a fourth photographer whose name was not confirmed are expected to be rehired under terms of a contract settlement reached in November between Sun-Times Media and the Chicago Newspaper Guild.

More layoffs are coming to the Sun-Times and affiliated papers, Feder writes, though reporters’ “employment appears to be secure for the moment,” he writes. The paper and the Chicago Newspaper Guild agreed last year to bring back the four photo slots. “It is our position that Sun-Times Media is acting is good faith,” Guild spokesperson Beth Kramer told Poynter in an email. She expects the hires to be completed today.

The Sun-Times laid off around 30 full-time photographers last May and said it planned to train people left on iPhone photography basics, a prospect Stephen Colbert had some fun with.

John White, who won a Pulitzer Prize while at the Sun-Times, told Poynter’s Kenny Irby “It was as if they pushed a button and deleted a whole culture of photojournalism.” White is not returning, Feder reports — “He is teaching at Columbia College Chicago.”

One former staffer, Brian Powers, took portraits of his erstwhile coworkers for CNN. Another, Scott Stewart, returned to firefighting. In an interview with Poynter’s Kristen Hare published Monday, former Sun-Times photographer Andrew Nelles said “I couldn’t see a reason to go back there. … Four photographers doing the work that 28 did previously seems like a warning sign already.”

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