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At a time when the journalism industry is struggling to stay in business, photojournalists have been hit especially hard. Earlier this year, the Chicago Sun-Times laid-off its entire staff in favor of giving reporters iPhones.
The French newspaper Libération showed its support for photographers by publishing its November 14th issue with all the images removed.
The issue maintains its usual design, but stories are flowed around spaces where photographs would normally be. The series of empty frames creates a stark, noticeable hole of information.
On the front page, the newspaper explains its decision:
'Libération vows an eternal gratitude to photography, whether produced by photojournalists, fashion photographers, portraitists, or conceptual artists. Our passion for photography has never been questioned - not because it's used to beautify, shock or illustrate, but because photography takes the pulse of our world ...
With newspapers laying off photographers and picture editors, and the rise of 'citizen journalism', can traditional photojournalism survive? Nonprofit news organization Mother Jones has published an interesting interview with photographer Fred Richin, whose new book 'Bending the Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary and the Citizen' aims to explore the current state of the profession, and answer some of the questions about its future.
Fred Richin is a Pulitzer prize nominated photographer, writer, and publisher, and former photo editor of the New York Times magazine. Mother Jones describes his new book as 'a vigorous wake-up call to photojournalists to innovate or die'.
In the interview, Richin describes what the recent Chicago Sun-Times layoffs mean for photographers: 'Given today's budgets for journalism, my guess is that quite a few photographers will be fired in the near future. But I certainly hope that many visual journalists will be hired or funded along the way as well - we urgently need their perspectives.'
According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times has laid off its entire photography staff, and plans to use freelance reporters and photographers in future to save costs. The layoffs, which are believed to take effect immediately, were announced to the 28-strong photo staff on Thursday morning. In a statement issued by the paper, it suggested that the move was in response to a demand for 'more video content' from its audience.