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Snappers binned, mobe-armed hacks drafted at Chicago paper

Even Edison Carter got a decent camera

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The Chicago Sun-Times is training its journalists in iPhone camera work to replace its staff photographers, who were all laid off last week.

The training commences on Friday and will include "iPhone photography basics", as well as capturing and editing video on iOS, and uploading it to the appropriate social sites, according to a staff memo leaked by Sun-Times stalwart Robert Feder:

In the coming days and weeks, we'll be working with all editorial employees to train and outfit you as much as possible to produce the content we need.

These sessions will be mandatory and will concentrate on several areas:

  • iPhone photography basics
  • Video and basic editing
  • Transmission and social media

… Suggestions on topics, in particular, are definitely worthwhile.

The paper laid off its entire photographic staff last week, in a meeting where the editor reportedly took just 20 seconds to explain that online video was the future, not expertly-framed exposures, announcing 28 layoffs amongst photographers and editors across the paper and its subsidiaries.

Replacing those professional snappers are iPhone-equipped reporters who'll be attending the mandatory Friday sessions to get them up to speed on everything they need to fill a tabloid paper with pictures.

It's not the first time management have noticed journalists with empty hands, ready for filling with image-gathering tech. Edison Carter's fictional experiences aside, L!ve TV tried it for real back in the nineties, with such great success that the channel lasted four years before descending into soft porn (with, amongst others, the inimitable nightly three-minute segment Topless Darts) and telephone chat lines.

But there were no iPhones back then, and with weekly training sessions we're confident the Sun-Times' journos will learn to take professional-grade video with an Apple handset.

The paper will, apparently, continue to use freelance snappers, so not every image will come via iDevices, but with readership declining (down a hundred thousand to – by US standards – 'just' a quarter of a million, according to the New York Times) the Sun-Times is just as desperate as every other news outlet to cut costs while increasing content. Except El Reg, obviously, because we're awesome just as we are. ®

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