Sports Illustrated cuts entire photojournalism staff


Sports Illustrated has fired its entire photojournalism staff, according to a report from the National Press Photographers Association.

Six photographers at the sports magazine were let go in a company-wide move to "restructure various departments," according to a statement to NPPA from Sports Illustrated director of photography Brad Smith:

It's true," Smith said. "There was a decision made through the company to restructure various departments, including at Sports Illustrated. Unfortunately economic circumstances are such that it has cut the six staff photographers.

Sports Illustrated is owned by Time Inc.

In addition to the photojournalism staff, two writers for Sports Illustrated were also laid off, said Anthony Napoli, a local representative for the Newspaper Guild of New York. Capital New York's Nicole Levy reports that the layoffs also include two editors.

The company plans to provide visual coverage of events including the Olympics and the NCAA basketball championship, Smith tells NPPA.

Our commitment to photography hasn't changed," he said. "We're still going to cover games, we're going to shoot portraits, we're going to cover Olympics, we'll be at the Final Four, we will be at championships, we'll be there.

Sports Illustrated's decision is not unprecedented. In 2013, the Chicago Sun-Times fired its entire photo staff and replaced them with freelancers.

Many of the photojournalists, which came to be known as the "Sun-Times 28," found jobs within a year of being fired.

Sports Illustrated will now rely increasingly on submissions from contributing photographers, said Scott Novak, a spokesperson for the magazine.

Sports Illustrated is committed to delivering world-class photography across all of its platforms and nothing has changed from that mission. We've made the strategic decision to reimagine our approach, which will ultimately see more contributions to our products from the global photography community than ever.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Sports Illustrated is owned by Time Warner. In fact, it is owned by Time Inc.

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    Benjamin Mullin

    Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism innovation, business practices and ethics.


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