“Fresh Fish Sold Here Today” / The Slow Decline & Agonizing Death of the News Business

The Undefended Border

The Chicago Sun-Times has laid-off its entire photography department.

I had to take a moment to digest that idea. Photography has been an essential part of the newspaper business since the New York Daily Graphic ran the first half-tone photo reproduction (of New York’s Steinway Hall) on its front page in 1873. William Randolph Hearst apocryphally sent his photographers and illustrators to Cuba in 1898 with the message “you supply the pictures, and I’ll supply the war.” For more than a century, photography and journalism have been virtually one and the same. This was a shock!

Yet, in another breath, it is not such a shock. The photographers of the 19th century – like Alexander Gardiner and Matthew Brady – and the 20th century – Robert Capa, Weegie and many, many others – were highly-trained craftsmen in the fullest sense of the term. Photography was an enormously…

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