Pulitzer-winning photojournalist resigns rather than lay off staff

August 31, 2011
Category: Uncategorized

Dayton Business Journal
Dayton Daily News photo editor Larry Price resigned earlier this week after being asked to lay off half his photo staff, reports Ginger Christ. In his note to the photo staff, Price wrote:

I do not believe the layoffs are fair to you as individuals or that they are in the best interest of the Dayton Daily news and our readers. If these cuts are enacted, it will be impossible to meet the Cox initiatives for covering breaking news, sharing content with our media partners and growing our online presence.”

The 35-year veteran — whose photos won Pulitzers in 1981 and 1985 — told Christ he’s seen “massive changes in the company’s attitude toward photography.”

The seminal moment for him occurred earlier this year after he shot a photograph of a girl with tears in her eyes at a candlelight vigil in west Dayton. The photo, he was told, was too emotional.

“The new prerogative, as it was explained to me, was to dumb down the photo report, to pull back and show crowd photographs,” Price said.

At that point, Price said he realized there was a mandate to stop producing sophisticated visual content.

And, for a photojournalist who won a Pulitzer first for his coverage of the 1980 coup in Liberia and then for a body of work documenting civil wars in Angola and El Salvador, “that was the turning point.”

Related comment from Pat Curry: “It’s happening all over. My husband, John Curry, a 34-year veteran photojournalist and three-time Pulitzer nominee, was laid off from his job last month as visuals director at the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle. Rather than take a position from one of his staff (which he was offered), he took the layoff himself.” | Related tweet from Chris Lopez, executive editor of El Paso Times and ElPasoTimes.com, says he’s “done a similar thing in past.”


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