Chicago Sun-Times Eliminates Entire Photography Department

Reporters will take iPhone photos after mandatory training

A week after the Chicago Sun-Times laid off all 28 of its photographers, the newspaper is training its remaining staff to take photos with iPhones, The Verge reported.

"Sun-Times reporters begin mandatory training today on 'iPhone photography basics,'" media blogger and former Sun-Times staffer Robert Feder posted on his Facebook page on Friday, citing an internal memo from Sun-Times managing editor Craig Newman. "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," Newman reportedly wrote.

The memo went on to say that staffers will also be trained on how to shoot and edit video on iOS and upload it to social media sites.

Last week, the Sun-Times unexpectedly laid off its entire staff of photojournalists, including Pulitzer Prize winner John H. White, and announced it would now rely entirely on freelance photographers. The layoffs are part of a series of cutbacks as its parent company, the Sun-Times Media Group, tries to become profitable again.

In March, the company laid off several editors after reports surfaced that the company was struggling to make payments on an annual $70 million distribution deal with the Chicago Tribune. The Sun-Times claimed the layoffs were part of a larger shift to more online video.

"The Sun-Times business is changing rapidly and our audiences are consistently seeking more video content with their news," the company said. "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 Newspaper Guild, which represents eight of the 28 now unemployed photographers, has filed a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board and has plans to sue.

Publish date: June 4, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT