The Chicago Sun-Times laid off its entire full-time photographer staff on Thursday, and a leaked memo says reporters will be soon receiving training in “iPhone photography basics, video and basic editing, and transmission and social media.”
The Sun-Times Media company didn’t immediately comment on how many jobs were affected, but the national Newspaper Guild issued a statement saying 28 employees lost their jobs. The layoffs included photographers and editors at The Sun-Times’s sister publications in the suburbs.
The union that represents many of the affected employees plans to file a bad-faith bargaining charge with the National Labor Relations Board, a union leader said.
“I’m still in shock,” said Steve Buyansky, a laid-off photo editor for three of the group’s suburban newspapers. “I’m not angry right now. Maybe I will be later.”
Buyansky said about 30 photographers and photo editors were called to a mandatory meeting on Thursday, and were addressed by Jim Kirk, editor of the Sun-Times.
Included in the laid-off numbers was Pulitzer Prize-winning Sun-Times photographer John H. White. “It’s sad,” said Mr. Buyansky, “The Sun-Times had an amazing photo staff.”
The Chicago Sun-Times, along with most other major newspapers, has been hit by an increasing trend of their former readers now getting their news via their computers and mobile devices. The Sun-Times ended September 2012 with paid circulation totaling 263,292, contrasting with circulation of about 341,448 at the same time in 2006.