The content previously offered here has been removed following the overwhelmingly negative response to this page after it was featured in an article published Sept. 17 in Sizing up the South. In the article, I was interviewed about a repository of free resources that I had created and collected for fellow journalists in North Carolina.
The offerings included dozens of file art-style photographs that I had made, and wanted to make freely available to other reporters. I received multiple emails from displaced photojournalists who felt my idea of offering free file art contributed to the undervaluing of their profession.
They are right.
News organizations need photojournalists, but some media conglomerates don’t see it that way. Photojournalists, web editors and in-house paginators have been eliminated from many small newsrooms in my home state, creating new responsibilities for the handful of unskilled practitioners that remain.
I previously worked at a conglomerate-owned daily that couldn’t afford cameras, let alone photographers. I maxed out a credit card to buy my own camera and tried to learn the fundamentals of photojournalistic composition. Two retired photojournalists were generous enough to give me pointers.
They were driven to help, in part, by their passion for the craft. They were tired of seeing poorly composed iPhone snapshots on the front page.
I am part of the generation of journalists that entered the workforce in the aftermath of the Great Recession. We were forced to become multimedia reporters by companies with little reverence for journalism. They wanted content.
I am insanely lucky to now work for a newspaper that values journalism. We have a dazzlingly skilled photojournalist on staff. When we work together on stories, I feel added pressure to produce copy that matches the quality of his work.
That’s the way it should be. Impactful coverage requires collaboration between reporters, photojournalists, designers and editors. Machinists who care enough to make sure the colors don’t blur on the page. Carriers who make sure the paper gets placed on the right doorstep. Publishers who go to bat for their newsrooms. Ad reps who suffer the ire of businesses affected by unflattering news.
We’re all in this together.
I thought my idea was well-intentioned. I wanted to help overburdened reporters in emaciated newsrooms like the ones I started out in. All of the photographs posted here were file art-style images that would never replace the necessary work of trained photojournalists covering news assignments.
But after reading your emails, I realize that it’s far more important to stand in solidarity. Communities need journalism. Newspapers need photojournalists.
We’re all in this together.