Photojournalism on decline? Not so fast…

Dan Gillmor says professional photojournalism is on decline.

I think he’s missing the forest for the tree that’s getting cut down.

I know a photographer who is making $2,000 per month from advertising on his blog. That “job” didn’t exist a year ago.

I look at Flickr and see that tons of photojournalism is being done — and being done better than most of the “pros” I used to know did it. Some of those “Flickr-fabulous” photographers are building sizeable brands and are going to soon be sponsorable properties all by themselves. My Photowalking series is the most talked about videos on the ScobleShow.

I heard last week that Canon and Nikon are reporting that digital SLR sales are higher than they were expecting.

Speaking of all this. We’re going to have an open Photowalking. December 27th. 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. At Sacramento’s Train Museum.

I’m getting Seagate to give us some prizes and goodies (more on that later) and we’ll have a lot of fun. Thomas Hawk will be there. We’re inviting a few other “Flickr-fabulous” photographers too.

Why do this? Cause neither Thomas nor Heather Champ (one of the co-founders of JPG magazine) had ever been to the train museum, which is the largest in the world (and offers TONS of great photo opportunities).

First tip? Bring a tripod. It’s dark in many places in the museum.

Speaking of JPG magazine. Have you seen it yet? It’s freaking awesome. That’s another thing that didn’t exist for photographers two years ago.

So, yes, Dan Gillmor is right. A tree in the forest is going away. Getting cut down. But, watch for new trees sprouting up thanks to good digital SLRs and a new kind of “pro” photographer who is using photography to build new kinds of photojournalism businesses.

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11 thoughts on “Photojournalism on decline? Not so fast…

  1. The train museum in Sacrament was sooo tempting when I was switching trains this past October on a trip from Seattle to Chicago, but it wasn’t open when I initially walked by and it looked a bit too distracting.I decided I would have to skip it, else miss my train East. I even had my tripod for on-trian photography.

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  2. The train museum in Sacrament was sooo tempting when I was switching trains this past October on a trip from Seattle to Chicago, but it wasn’t open when I initially walked by and it looked a bit too distracting.I decided I would have to skip it, else miss my train East. I even had my tripod for on-trian photography.

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  3. Robert,

    This is the same thing that happened when pagemaker and the laser printer first came out. Everyone in the design world thought the sky was falling. Any Tom, Dick or Harry could now create fancy newsletters, brochures and business cards. Sure some of the low end business was lost, but people soon realized that tools do not replace talent.

    I see the same thing happening here. YouTube and Flickr are great but they don’t replace a professionally produced news stories. No doubt people’s level of what is acceptable is lowered and you will see lower quality on TV. This doesn’t replace the good stuff it just supplements it.

    This is especially the case for small market local news. In my small market they send interns out to get the some of the photos. I am sure many amateurs can meet or exceed that level of professionalism.

    I am sure many amateurs miss the chance to become pros by having a bad job interview or small portfolio. Or maybe they posted porn on flickr ;-). Now is their chance to cover the stories that would other wise go unnoticed. Granted many stories will still never be seen but a few will make it out and the world will be a better or at least more informed place for it.

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  4. Robert,

    This is the same thing that happened when pagemaker and the laser printer first came out. Everyone in the design world thought the sky was falling. Any Tom, Dick or Harry could now create fancy newsletters, brochures and business cards. Sure some of the low end business was lost, but people soon realized that tools do not replace talent.

    I see the same thing happening here. YouTube and Flickr are great but they don’t replace a professionally produced news stories. No doubt people’s level of what is acceptable is lowered and you will see lower quality on TV. This doesn’t replace the good stuff it just supplements it.

    This is especially the case for small market local news. In my small market they send interns out to get the some of the photos. I am sure many amateurs can meet or exceed that level of professionalism.

    I am sure many amateurs miss the chance to become pros by having a bad job interview or small portfolio. Or maybe they posted porn on flickr ;-). Now is their chance to cover the stories that would other wise go unnoticed. Granted many stories will still never be seen but a few will make it out and the world will be a better or at least more informed place for it.

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  5. hmmm…that’s in my neck of the woods. I’ll have to check it out. Been to the museum for a few parties but not as a ‘museum goer’ probably a tad different sans-alcohol : )

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  6. hmmm…that’s in my neck of the woods. I’ll have to check it out. Been to the museum for a few parties but not as a ‘museum goer’ probably a tad different sans-alcohol : )

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  7. Amen, Robert! And we’re so glad you like JPG.

    I was a Photojournalism major in college, and when I got out in 1995 I sent slides (yes, slides!) to newspapers from coast to coast, begging for work. There was none. So if photojournalism is on the decline, I’d say it’s been that way for a long time.

    And, in a way, that’s one reason Heather and I started JPG: To give all those talented nonprofessionals out there the recognition they deserve. I’m a little jealous of my younger counterparts, coming out of school now. There are so many more outlets – so many more ways to see and be seen as a photographer.

    It’s just one of many gifts the internet has given us.

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  8. Amen, Robert! And we’re so glad you like JPG.

    I was a Photojournalism major in college, and when I got out in 1995 I sent slides (yes, slides!) to newspapers from coast to coast, begging for work. There was none. So if photojournalism is on the decline, I’d say it’s been that way for a long time.

    And, in a way, that’s one reason Heather and I started JPG: To give all those talented nonprofessionals out there the recognition they deserve. I’m a little jealous of my younger counterparts, coming out of school now. There are so many more outlets – so many more ways to see and be seen as a photographer.

    It’s just one of many gifts the internet has given us.

    Like

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