Does the audience even need journalists … or photojournalists?


As a journalist, I tend to think the audience, Society, a democracy and even apple pie needs journalists and journalism. Call it an overly self-important view if you want.

“But our role and relevance are arguably even more imperiled by politicians’ ability, in this newly wired world of ours, to go around us and present themselves in packages that we can’t simultaneously unwrap. To get a message out, they don’t have to beseech a network’s indulgence. They don’t have to rely on a newspaper’s attention. The Bachmann, Weiner and Clinton videos are especially vivid examples of that, reflections and harbingers of an era in which YouTube is the public square, and the fourth estate is a borderline obsolescent one.”

That’s Frank Bruni writing in the New York Times (H/T: Danny McCall).

The Chicago Sun-Times believes it doesn’t need staff photojournalists. It laid off its entire photo staff and will use freelancers, contributed photos or photos shot by writers with cellphones (they are planning some training).

This one is a bit hard to figure considering Digital is a visual medium. Yeah, everybody takes pictures, I get that. The number that take good pictures is pretty big, too. The number that take really great photos,, well, that’s no so big at all.

There’s a vast difference between between a profesisonal photojournalist and someone who takes pictures. Sometimes it matters; sometimes it doesn’t.

Being there will always trump pro skills. Being there with pro skills, however, trumps being there with rudimentary photo skills. Or as Steve Buttry wrote: “Quality stands out more than ever.”

Jeff Jarvis said media organizations may reach a limit in multi-tasking journalists into “eight-armed monsters.” And media organizations are using more source provided art such as the one that accompanies this blog post, a different issue from photo submitted by “the people formally known as the  audience.”

And as addition to my last post “Does journalism even need articles?” and Cica, see Hamish McKenzie’s piece in PandoDaily.

Photo: News photographers and reporters cover the Finance Ministers from Africa as they hold a briefing for the news media on April 20, 2013 during the 2013 IMF World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C. (IMF Photo/Cliff Owen) Used under Creative Commons License.