February 27, 2014


The National Press Photographers Association reported Thursday that photographers at the Orlando Sentinel have been told they’ll have to reapply for their jobs, which will largely be “videocentric.”

Todd Stewart, the newspaper’s design, graphics and multimedia editor who is the senior manager responsible for supervising the photography department, told the shooters during a meeting on Monday that the new job definitions will center on video. The gathering was Stewart’s very first meeting with the photography staff.

Kenneth Irby, Poynter senior faculty for visual journalism and diversity, said by email that the move to have photographers reapply for jobs is a “continued devaluing of quality photographic reporting in American newsrooms.”

“It is worth noting that this is not the first example of such and seems to be a current trend within Tribune company and there is no instance, to my knowledge, where an upside of having photojournalist reapply for their jobs has been reported,” he said.
Rather than create a momentum for innovation, he said the requirement to shoot video in addition to still photos created “a leadership void for visual storytelling division, unrealistic workload expectations for individual on the new teams and mediocre, uninspired photographic reporting of any kind” at outlets like Newsday, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Tampa Tribune and The Chicago Sun Times.

“For all of those that justify such actions and necessary cost cutting measures, I simply reply that you get what you pay for,” Irby said.

Photographers will find out March 10 if they still have jobs. The Sentinel hasn’t returned a request for comment.

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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