Maybe one or the other of you recalls when the Chicago Sun-Time released all its photographers and decided to fully rely on reader reporters and freelance photographers? Now there’s news. As things look like, it doesn’t work without real pro-photographers. The Sun-Time and the trade union yesterday agreed upon rehiring four of the twenty-eight dismissed photographers and to pay off all the remaining photographers a severance package of $2000 each.
As expected, not everything’s rosy, there’s a catch to it. The hired photographers and the remaining ones receiving the severance package had to abandon their lawsuit on unfair employment practices. Furthermore, the Sun-Times won’t guarantee that the four photographers receive their original position within the newspaper. We are talking about a 3-year short-term contract of employment with the parent company, the Sum-Time Media. Which is to say that they’ll probably (or exclusively?) have to shoot videos and will be released again after a period of three years.
All in all, this news leaves a sour taste. As pro-photographer or photo journalist, it’s still hard to survive in a society that doesn’t know how to appreciate immaterial goods. If you want to know more about the bad state of professional photo journalists, I warmly recommend this article on PetaPixel.