The Now/ledge

A Guide to the 'Now' Revolution in News / by Alan Soon

Has the time come to take photojournalism off life-support?


After 25 years in the industry, Neil Burgess (whose picture agency represents Sebastião Salgado) says photojournalism is over. He explains that given the cuts in funding for photo projects, it’s time we all admit the worst has arrived, and that photojournalism is dead.

“Magazines and newspapers are no longer putting any money into photojournalism. They will commission a portrait or two. They might send a photographer off with a writer to illustrate the writer’s story, but they no longer fund photojournalism. They no longer fund photo-reportage. They only fund photo illustration.”

In his view, photojournalists are the first to go, and it’s the writers next.

“The photojournalists were the first to go, but once the destruction of the printed media business model is complete and still no-one has come up with a new one, then the writers will have to go as well. So we’ll end up with a couple of sub-editors re-phrasing press-releases and dropping in supplied photos. Hell, that’s happening already!”

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