Chicago Sun-Times fires photo staff, now training reporters in iPhoneography

By , Jun 1, 2013

iPhone 5 promo video (back, black, camera closeup 001)

You’ve probably noticed that we have been talking a lot about iPhoneography here on iDB lately. It’s a popular topic with a lot of folks. It seems like the better the iPhone’s camera gets, the more people are willing to ditch their standalone shooters.

And perhaps there’s no better example of that than what’s going on right now over at the Chicago Sun-Times. Just a day after it fired its entire photo staff, the newspaper has reportedly begun training its reporters in the basics of iPhone photography…

Chicago media critic Robert Feder (via Cult of Mac) reports:

“Sun-Times reporters begin mandatory training today on “iPhone photography basics” following elimination of the paper’s entire photography staff. “In the coming days and weeks, we’ll be working with all editorial employees to train and outfit you as much as possible to produce the content we need,” managing editor Craig Newman tells staffers in a memo.”

In a blog post criticizing the move, Chicago photojournalist Alex Garcia called it idiotic, saying reporters are “ill equipped” to create both visual and written content. He also believes iPhones are too limited in capabilities to handle photojournalism.

“An iPhone is just an iPhone. It doesn’t have a telephoto to see way past police lines or across a field, ballroom or four-lane highway. It doesn’t have a lot of manual controls to deal with the countless situations that automatic exposure will fail to capture. How many situations are 18% gray, anyway?”

The smartphone has slowly been phasing out cameras for a lot of people. As the company touts on its iPhone page, the handset accounts for the top 3 most popular cameras on photo-sharing site Flickr. And it makes up more than half of Instagram’s user base.

Apple seems aware of its popularity too. Not only has it worked the iPhone’s camera into its recent marketing push, but rumor has it that its next-generation handset, believed to be the iPhone 5S, will feature a much improved camera system and a dual LED flash.

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  • Lordthree

    This will save them millions of dollars

  • http://www.dominic-martin.com/ Dominic Martin

    This is ridiculous. As a photographer this enrages and baffles me. This will most likely be reversed when they realise that most of the journalists can’t take good photos on a PHONE (great camera, but it still doesn’t compete with proper equipment) or when the journalists get pissed off having to do two jobs.

    • SirPsycho

      I am not a photographer but need to take pictures for work and finally had to shell out for a real camera because the iPhone camera just doesn’t cut it when it counts. It is good for snap shots of puppies though, or so I hear.

    • Erik Ballew

      At the end of the day these photos will be nothing more that large dots in a news paper.

  • wonderboydave

    really. wow.

    we should fire tech support because google is the only answer.

    • http://twitter.com/aidanharris1 ✪ aidan harris ✪

      Why not fire teachers too since I can learn anything I need to know from Wikipedia…

      /Sarcasm

  • Falk M.

    They will crash and burn horribly…

    As passionate photographer this amuses me now already haha

    *grabs popcorn*

    • http://www.dominic-martin.com/ Dominic Martin

      I mean, can you imagine! Someone will have just told the owner “oh yeah iphone cameras are great these days anyone can have one” And then the owner slams his fist on the table and says “ITS SETTLED THEN”
      God when compared to other newspapers it’s just going to be embarrassing and will ruin the image (ha) of the newspaper.

  • KewlDewd

    Here’s an idea. Let’s get rid of all firefighters, then train the police departments to fight fires with garden hoses.

  • Sandy Cook

    The iPhone’s camera delivers mediocre at best performance, can’t see how this is a bright idea at all

  • Dixon

    I love to take pictures with my iphone and i dont need a digi cam sice u can do such great photos with the phone but this is just stupid … A professional camera is about 1500 eur here in gernamy .. And there is a reasob for this .. Im really an iphone fan but iphone CANT do such great pics as a real professional cam !!! The chip in the iphone is not good enough and we dont even have great camera lenses …. And the flashlight also sux … Its like u say an xbox has the same grafik power as an high end gaming pc

  • maverickmax

    phones are allowed in places where cameras are not allowed…cool move..