Are newspaper photography self-destructing?

Discussion in 'Journalism and Documentary' started by rolleiman, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    Since I retired early from news photography some time ago, the few people I still know who are active in the profession, tell me things are really dire, and they can't wait to get out. The obsession with "celebrity" that afflicts the media seems to have resulted in younger photographers who are invariably "paparazzi
    orientated"......running around like panicky headless chickens squirting off ten frames a second on their digis.

    The thoughtful, discreet kind of photographer is no longer wanted...it's all "up in yer face" flash on camera rubbish.

    If newspaper editors think this is what people want, then how come newspaper circulation continues its steady decline into almost certain eventual oblivion?

    And since the "digital revolution"....so many punters are sending in pictures to magazines etc., for free, that some don't even want to pay for professional pictures anymore.

    Is this happening in other countries apart from the UK too?...I suspect it is in some form or other.
     
  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I think newspapers (in the paper form) have already fully self-destructed. They simply can't keep up with the other transmission mediums in terms of speed, etc. I still read them but mostly to skim the advertisments and read in-depth articles.
     
  3. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    Apologies for my poor grammar in title...should read... IS newspaper photography self-destructing?
     
  4. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    I think there is a place for the printed media, particularly for the "in depth" articles you mention.....TV and The Web seem to represent the "instant fix" side of news, newspapers should offer more analysis in depth, both in words and pictures...but where are the "great" writers of today, with imagination and insight? They seem few and far between. Even the tabloids of yesteryear had at least one or two really great feature writers.

    Are people generally concerned with such reading today?.....Or are they fixated by lurid tales of "celebrities" who are simply famous for being famous.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2011
  5. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    A couple of days ago I watched a programme about Newsreel film companies (mainly British Pathé) as shown in cinemas. This showed that by the 1970s, no one was interested in going to the cinema for their news as this was now supplied by TV.

    I am quite surprised that newspapers are still going strong. I would have thought that they would have gone the same way as the newsreels for the same reasons.


    Steve.
     
  6. billbretz

    billbretz Member

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    As a newspaper photographer in the US I can say, to answer the question in the heading: No.

    To answer "how come newspaper circulation continues its steady decline?": the answers are many, but none because of photography.

    There are lots of outside forces acting on newspapers, it is not (entirely) a self-inflicted wounding. Lots of people blame newspapers for failing to react nimbly enough to the once-oncoming digital tide. True enough, but also I say it is a lot of people basically saying : "You failed to become Google." Which is not particularly fair to the newspaper industry as a whole.
     
  7. couldabin

    couldabin Member

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    Newspapers are becoming a relic for two primary reasons -- the changing economics of marketing, and changes in cultural values. On the marketing front: traditionally daily newspapers collected only 25-30% of their revenue from subscriptions; the rest was from advertising. Thus, readers had to directly pay only a relatively small share of the actual costs. Radio, and then TV, cut into that, but not like the internet. Here's a factoid to ponder: Google's advertising revenue exceeds the aggregate advertising revenue of every single newspaper in the United States. Almost as significant is the fact that the internet has democratized marketing -- retailer websites essentially make newspaper websites irrelevant from an advertising standpoint. On the cultural front, humans are giving in to their ADHD tendencies, thanks in no small part to technology. Short attention spans help all animals escape the threat-of-the-moment, but it wreaks havoc on long-term planning. Just about everything in our lives has been souped up and accelerated by new technologies. And, it is worth noting, it has accelerated more than our lives; it has laid the groundwork for the demise of civilization as we know it.

    Take lots of pictures.
    :smile:
     
  8. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    True, and more true.
     
  9. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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  10. snaggs

    snaggs Member

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    They web is over, its not the future. The web only covers topics started in the last 5 years. APUG doesn't even show up in google unless you specifically search for it by name. Neither do any of the traditional camera stores in Australia. Its very strange, but in the past year, lots of sites (like APUG and afore mentioned camera shops) are no longer appearing. Things that I *KNOW* are there are being made to "vanish".

    Time for a return to news groups and magazines. The central control of google is scary.

    Daniel.
     
  11. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    I don't know where you worked, but in cost-accounting parlance a "profit centre" is a centre the performance of which is measured in terms of the profit they produce. A "cost centre" is a centre which is analysed in terms of costs because there is no direct way to assign a profit to it. The Editorial Department doesn't have a direct attribution of "profit" so accountants only "measure" costs.

    Seing it in another way, a "profit centre" is a unit which could be analysed somehow as a "business", while a "cost centre" is a unit which cannot be analysed as a "business". There is no derogative meaning whatsoever.
     
  12. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    almost every time I search for something related to film, I get first-page hits from google for APUG
     
  13. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I think that GWCs pm the internet are killing all freelance photography. [Guy/Girl With Camera]
     
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  15. pentaxpete

    pentaxpete Subscriber

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    Just found this thread -- YES the Freelance Photographer is being squeezed out by FREE submissions especially here in Essex, England. I have been in Freelance work since 1970 and so many local newspapers have gone broke and have stopped paying any fees -- the last 'Ordered' job I got was first week of JANUARY - I submitted two picture jobs in APRIL and they were used but NOTHING in February and March and so far nothing in May . I have my Government Pension luckily but need some 'Top-up' as I have to keep digging into my savings now to top-up bank to pay the Gas and Electric bills £ 110-00 a month, gone UP from £75-00 a month!
     
  16. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    I sincerely hope that the newspaper doesn't completely disappear, as I absolutely *hate* reading them online! I used to buy Newsweek to kill time on my flights, catch up on something interesting or the like (1-2 issues/month), but since they went completely internet based, I haven't even bothered - now I buy Time magazine more regularly than before.

    Yes, reading stuff online is all well and good - but I like to be able to read it whenever and wherever without needing to login, turn on or find a decent Wi-Fi connection, and newspapers weigh a hell of a lot less too!! (Not to mention, I won't go nuts, if I leave Starbucks and realise I forgot to pick it up. . . . . ) :wink:
     
  17. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Just like the movies did not kill the novel industry, the TV did not kill the movies, the radio did not kill the record industry, photography did not kill painting etc I think that all that exists is going to survive albeit in a redesigned or resized form.
    Just like radio is still a very present part of our lives, even if it certainly doesn't have the importance it had in the 1930s, so I think newspapers and magazines will survive, adapting to their niche, some of them betting on content quality, some other on printing quality (you cannot beat a well printed photography magazine with an e-book) some other on specialist nature of content.

    Newspapers of the past were a very inefficient way to distribute information. You pay the entire newspaper, but it is a well-known fact that many people only bought them for the classifieds, or the sport, or the weather, or the gossip page etc. Newspapers would sell because they gave a different product to different audiences. They would throw in the crosswords, the comics or the horoscope because anything can help selling.

    Here in Italy most newspapers, even the most serious ones (imagine the horoscope in the Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal), had the horoscope because it was obvious that if you had no horoscope you would loose clients because some wives would insist with their husbands (in any social class) that they buy a newspaper with the horoscope.

    Internet gave people a cheap and practical way to know about cinemas, weather, local sport events, local news, horoscope, classifieds and all those "ancillary" information that were actually a big part in the sales of the newspapers. That said, I don't think printed matter will ever disappear. Not even books albeit menaced by e-books.
     
  18. hdeyong

    hdeyong Member

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    I quit reading newspapers about 15 years ago, because I was tired of the constant political slants. In Canada, many newspapers, particularly the Toronto Star, have an obvious political stance, and it's tiresome.
    Everything they report on is done so in a way to make one political party look good, and the others bad. Unfortunately, a number of years ago, they crossed the boundary of accuracy, and it became necessary to bend facts to the point of breaking.
    I find most newspapers, Canadian, American, and the ones in France to be much the same. It's a risky business, because different people like different politics, and you're going to annoy a portion of the population, but they can't seem to resist it.
    If there were a newspaper that just gave me the facts, unbiased, and left me to interpret it in my own way, instead of colouring everything THEIR way, I'd buy it. But they don't seem to exist.
    I don't need or want to be, (by their standards), educated, I just want to be informed, and they don't do that anymore.
    I didn't stop reading papers because of the internet, I stopped because most of them aren't any good.
     
  19. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    +1
     
  20. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    This reminds me of something I heard recently. The speaker suggested they really appreciated CNN "for their desire to cover all aspects of a story in hopes that one of them would be true." :smile:
     
  21. OzJohn

    OzJohn Member

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  22. okto

    okto Member

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    As a millennial, I think newspapers are going to become like analog photography or vinyl records: a niche but strong market for the true enthusiasts. We're in the digital transition period for news, where people who read the newspaper because it was the only option are abandoning the medium, leaving the core who truly enjoy the medium for its own sake. Newspapers will have to become smaller as their markets shrink, but if they are clever, they will scale to their audience (and tailor their content to their audience). Here in Houston, there is a local newspaper/current events mag called Free Press which is wildly successful and has almost 100% readership among the hip young things. It's free to pick up, which is a difference, but it, like the old grey ladies, is supported mainly by ads.

    I think there's an opportunity for the quality of journalism to INCREASE, but only if the newspapers are spun off from the giant lobby-funding conglomerates they're currently owned by, and taken up by people who care about actual journalism and who appreciate the hedonic value of reading an honest-to-god newspaper. There will obviously still have to be a web presence, but the two can be done as a value-added proposition, the way modern indie record companies give you a code for a free digital download when you buy the vinyl album.

    Subscribe to the physical paper, get free online access with the iPhone app.
     
  23. viridari

    viridari Member

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    Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 7.45.14 PM.png
     
  24. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Newspapers are in decline, but it is not all solely to do with the quality of photography. It has to do with traditional print advertising falling and which will continue to fall, affecting revenue and thus the future of newspapers as we know it.

    In our house we do not read newspapers in their print form, but on the web, in the electronic form. As circulation drops away, it will at some point in the future not be economical or sensible to continue print production and everything will shift to the web. Makes sense: less consumables, less ink, less waste of print chemicals into the environment.

    Might be a UK-centric thing; photographs in papers in Australia can still rouse the spirit and many of the photographers have been in the game a long, long time. It's the amateurs with their flash-in-the-pan digitals submitting what they think to be "today's best catch" that often defiles the quality of well established (in terms of image quality) benchmarks for traditional newspapers. Fortunately editors know a fail when they see it.
     
  25. sharperstill

    sharperstill Member

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    For free right? That's the problem in a nutshell.
    I'm an Australian press photographer of 20 years, although recently left the game.

    Jon
     
  26. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Yes. And guess who is promoting that free reading? Why, the newspapers themselves. It does strike me as silly but it seems this is going to be the way of the future. I suspect at some point reading the online "papers" will be by subscription only, as per the Melbourne Herald-Sun (though not all content is subscriber only).

    There are a few serving and retired photographers around here from the local and State rags. A couple have found their niche in landscape work.