Al Jazeera explores the question whether photojournalism is dying. How real is the digitally-driven crisis in photojournalism? Newsrooms across the globe are shrinking and budgets slashed. Hardest hit are photojournalists. But… imagine stories without images.
One would think that good news photography serves as an entry point to a story by providing a visual reference and drawing the reader into a story. But with imagery becoming more easily available and “amateurs” increasingly matching the output of “pros” the old market balance is turned upside down. Theoretically camera phones, in a digital Internet era, mean that anyone can become a photojournalist.
In the U.S. alone, ovver the past decade or so the ranks of photographers and videographers have been almost cut in half. Al Jazeera:
Doomsayers are predicting the death of a profession; they are calling photojournalists a dying breed, soon to be replaced with newer, cheaper, omnipresent citizen journalists equipped with smart phones and a broadband connection. Citizen-generated images are a better fit under current shoestring news budgets, but they can — in some cases — leave the news consumer looking at an inferior product. But with this plethora of imagery professional photography has been reduced in value. Especially since big news organisations are looking for ways to cut their costs.
The key for photojournalists is to find a way to harness the power of the Internet instead of losing material and in some cases their jobs to it. If they manage to do that, then it is not the end of photojournalism, just the beginning of a new era.