The Chicago Sun-Times decision to fire its entire staff of photographers and instead have reporters take [bad] photos on their smartphones smells like a mistake. Many media outlets betting their futures on the web are doing more with photos, not less. The Los Angeles Times gets a good bit of its web hits on its photos — not all of them are staff photographs, of course, but many of the most memorable are. The Times photo staff also operates a blog, Framework, that I suspect does pretty well on the traffic counters, though maybe not enough to keep the metric-driven bean-counters happy.
Then there is KPCC. The NPR station has been sending staff photographers out to illustrate stories for the website and cover news for awhile now. There are now three staffers dedicated to shooting pictures: Grant Slater, Mae Ryan and Maya Sugarman. This month KPCC also launched AudioVision, a photo blog sub-titled "Public radio for the eyes."
"We bring you the best in visual journalism and culture from Southern California, the global capital of eye candy," the blog says by way of introduction. "We help you stay informed about the world around you through the eyes of your fellow community members. We ask you to show us your view of the world."
It's an interesting trend, so I asked VP of content Russ Stanton about it. "We’re devoting more resources to visuals as we continue to grow our digital audience (we just passed NBC LA and moved into 4th place among news websites in LA, according to Comscore) and we’re preparing to roll out an iPad app this fall," he said.