Sad story, but that tired photo essay was even sadder, driven as it was by the current philosophy of "photograph everything and say nothing." Without the words you would have absolutely no reason to look at those photographs.
I have no problem with the photographs. They were meant to illustrate the story. They showed looks of resignation, dismantled equipment, a key in a lock... they brought out the sadness, I thought.
I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.