Saturday, 8 September 2007

Do press photographers have a future?

It's a question that has been uppermost in my mind this week, as the NCTJ has asked me to look at their press photography and photojournalism syllabuses.

On the one hand, many editors send reporters out with cameras to snap straightforward pictures to accompany their stories. On the other, many newspapers are hiring video journalists - or training existing reporting staff to do the job.

And that's not to mention the rise of the citizen-snapper, who sends in pictures of dramatic events captured on their mobile phones - everything from terrorist attacks to car crashes, fights and fires.

Clearly, the press photographer needs to evolve if a cash-strapped editor is to choose to hire him or her as opposed to a video journalist or reporter.

I've only just started what will be an industry-wide consultation, but already the responses have been fascinating. I don't want to preempt things, but already it is clear that the answer to the question posed in my heading is a resounding yes - as long as we get the training right, and produce photographers who can offer the editor exactly what they need in an age of video and citizen journalism.

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