Online News Association: Has Social Media Killed Photojournalism?

February 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Online News Association: Has Social Media Killed Photojournalism? – stevem wilson

Turi Munthe
Modern photojournalism has been democratized with the development of technology and cheaper costs of equipment. Many more ‘voices’ are now available which is great, but the competition is fiercer than ever before. Demotix are there to help the ‘cream rise to the surface’ aka the best citizen photographs are found.

Edmond Terkopian
The increase in competition has pushed people from photojournalism into news photography to make a living. Photojournalism is a not a part-time hobby, it’s the pursuit of the truth. Many photojournalists support their work by news photography but they are not the same. It’s all about quality.

There were some good issues raise in the debate. What exactly is ‘Quality’ in a world of abundance? When 60 photographers turn up to one event, are the photographs really all that different? Who places the value on a piece of work, the photographer, the publisher or the public?

The Larry Towell Crisis In Afganistan project was held up as a good example of how photojournalists are reaching out to social networks to fund their passions. It’s a very strong collaborative approach – visitors are asked to contribute in exchange for the experience that the artist is about to undertake.

I loved this project and it’s a business model that can be applied across the whole creative industry. Electronic music artists Underworld have used this approach in launching their albums. You purchase the album, but you’re signing up for the tour experience that unfolds in the months ahead. The fan feels closer to the artist. 

Final Thoughts
I wonder if the creative industries need to do a better job at demonstrating their value in a world where everyone can have access to the same tools? Is beauty truly in the eye of the beholder? Do publishers need to make more of their photographic resources? We’re all so used to seeing images every second that their value has become transient. Could publishers benefit by highlighting the individual behind the work? Could this be an area where tablet publishers (Murdoch/Branson) could really make a difference?

Do publishers need to make more of their photographic resources? i think this is a really good question and from what I’ve read and researched so far i think that the answer is yes, i read about CNN news reporting that they let so many of their professional photojournalists go because they were receiving so many imput from their social media generated network, but i think that it’s important to try to use photojournalist more than just reply of social media imput, the whole of the internet has access to social media, news organisations do need to get that reportage out there it’s a free source to everyone, but professional photojournalists images are not freely out there already and it’s up to the news organisations to make the most of what they have to offer.

I think also by professional photo journalists now having websites and social media accounts to promo themselves that it could also mean more competion between photo journalists and hopefully with competition bring the profession back into it’s own, photojournalists now have more of an input and a voice.


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