Friday, May 31, 2013

Every Picture Tells A Story

Don't It?


At the Sun-Times, "Story" is out.

"Content" is King,

Athenae at First Draft has the story:
Shutterbugs shut out at Sun-Times 
The guy whose office is next to mine is the head of our visual sequence, a former news photographer and a pretty laid-back guy. During one particularly tumultuous term, however, he ended up in my office with the door closed, looking like he wanted to stab someone to death.

He had just come from a meeting with our chair, in which he attempted to convince the man that visuals needed a bigger place in our curriculum. The conversation turned from patronizing to dismissive, with the denouement being delivered when the chair whipped out his cell phone and said something to the effect of, “Look, I can take pictures with my phone. It’s not a big deal.”

We both thought it was a ridiculous statement. Apparently, the Chicago Sun-Times heard it and thought it was inspired.

The brain trust at the Sun-Times laid off its entire photography staff on Thursday. The paper issued a statement that was clearly written by someone who got his PR degree out of a Cracker Jack box. The Sun-Times blamed the audience that is “seeking more video content” and noted that “business is changing rapidly.” By the time I got to their need to “evolve with our digitally savvy customers,” I stopped reading because I had officially won my game of “buzzword bullshit bingo.”

The paper, of course, is not giving up on visuals, nor is it going back to the days of paying artists to do etchings. Instead, they’ll let reporters with phone cameras do most of the easy work and they’ll hire freelancers to pick up the slack. Where might these professional freelancers come from? Oh, wait… The Sun-Times just created 28 of them by FIRING THE WHOLE PHOTO STAFF.
Having heard this same gabba-gabba dressed up in a hundred different suits since the 1980s, it still surprised me that anyone is still surprised to discover (A) when management becomes enamored of the theory that everyone except people like them are fungible meat bags (funbags!) that (B) everything quickly turns to a puddle of cold sick, which is (C) usually when the same management that converted a once-viable enterprise into a puddle of cold sick decides to spend an enormous pile of cash to hire a clown-car of consultants just like them to tell them that even more underlings will need to be "rightsized" onto the scrap heap.

And they called it the birth of the blues.


bluicebank said...

It's just this sort of horseshit move by management that forces me to reach for an Biblical lamentation of this sorry state of affairs ... until I realized that what were once known as the Horde of Yuppies deserve no words costing more than a nickel a pop.

It would've made more sense to shitcan management and tell the photogs to suck it up and spend wasted hours in meetings when they weren't winning Pulitzer prizes.

Anonymous said...

How I would love a newspaper (news, printed on paper) without photographs. Management made the right choice here for the wrong reasons. Even the best photography is, eh, whatever. Of course, the owner schmoes are dildos for imagining that your average Joe Blow can produce pictorial copy that somehow transcends real perfessional pitcher takers. Photographs are flat, contentless garbage. Deal with it, "visual learners."

Suzan said...

Gee, D&BG,

I thought it'd be more like "This could be the start of something . . ." (fill in your choice of vulgar noun)

Once you are outside looking in it's almost fun to watch the downsizings continue until they all disappear.

But not much time is left for smirking. We've got to start building a new country pronto. Things have gone downhill so rapidly that most of us haven't paid attention to how much money/value they've already extracted. And the pace is quickening.


Love ya,


JHB said...

Yep. They say the want to "evolve with (their) digitally-savvy customers", so naturally they ditch the people who understand visuals.

Management consultants: the corporate equivalent of the fellows pitching "I made a million bucks in (fill in the blank), and YOU CAN TOO!"

Also proof that possession of an MBA should only be taken as proof of expertise in OBTAINING an MBA.

Mikailus Max said...

My god, the prophesy has rung true!