Southern Community Newspapers, Inc. ("SCNI"), a five-daily, two-weekly newspaper chain, has eliminated its photography department, Poynter.org reports.
Following the ignoble lead of the Chicago Sun-Times (see "TUOL" post 5/30/13), which recently dumped its entire staff of 28 photographers, SCNI boss Michael Gebhart decreed: "Journalists need to write, shoot video, post on the Internet and edit." Three photographers were pink-slipped by SCNI and a fourth was shifted to a company videographer position.
With the entire newspaper industry reeling in the face of shrinking circulation and declining advertising, a depressing trend is developing (something darkroom photogs are no longer doing) that does a disservice to news consumers. Short-sighted newspaper executives are paying short shrift to the storytelling skills photojournalists bring to the table, and it won't be long before the ripple effects are felt in other news media and in journalism schools.