Crain’s Chicago Business reports that the Chicago Sun-Times and its sister suburban papers have eliminated their entire photography staff. As many as 30 employees will be affected. In an indicator of the increasing vulnerability of the print industry, as of last year — 2012 — the Sun-Times was the nation’s 10th largest newspaper in terms of circulation.
The newspaper reportedly plans to use freelancers going forward.
The Sun-Times cited an increasing demand for video and “other multimedia” as a reason behind the cuts. Media reporter Jim Romenesko used his blog to share the statement issued by the Sun-Times, which read:
“The Sun-Times business is changing rapidly and our audiences are consistently seeking more video content with their news. We have made great progress in meeting this demand and are focused on bolstering our reporting capabilities with video and other multimedia elements. The Chicago Sun-Times continues to evolve with our digitally savvy customers, and as a result, we have had to restructure the way we manage multimedia, including photography, across the network.”
Newspaper flat-lining is bad enough. Steep declines are harbingers of the end. Check out the charts and graphs at Newspapers: By the Numbers for 2012. Over the past 20 years, dailies have shown a steady slide in paid circulation. Daily circulation, which stood at 62.3 million in 1990, plummeted to 43.4 million in 2010, a decline of 30%.
This type of reporting, as seen on the front page of the agenda-driven Arizona Republic could be the reason. In an article about a federal judge’s ruling prompting changes at the Maricopa County Sheriff ‘s Office, the words “the ramifications of last week’s landmark federal court decision,” rang out.
Since District Judge Murray Snow’s decision affects Arizona, and is appealable — as well as non-binding in other jurisdictions — the word “landmark” is an outrageous overreach. To put the description in perspective, here are some actual “landmark” cases.