June 25th, 2013

Chicago Sun-Times’ Suburban Papers to Pay $10 Per Photo, Give or Take

The photo editor for a chain of suburban newspapers owned by Sun-Times Media of Chicago told freelance photographers yesterday that news and feature photo assignments will pay $65 each, and that photographers are expected to deliver 5 to 7 photos per assignment.

“Of course more photos is always nice for choices and file art if the story is revisited,” Pioneer Press Newspapers photo editor Geoff Scheerer wrote in a memo to freelancers. The memo was obtained and published today on the Jim Romenesko media blog.

The rate for sports photo assignments is $90, according to the memo.

In May, Sun-Times Media fired its staff photographers at the Chicago Sun-Times and its suburban papers. STM executives explained that they were diverting resources from photo to video because readers wanted more video. They said the papers would rely on reporters and freelancers for photo coverage.

Scheerer told freelancers for the suburban papers in his memo that he was clarifying rates “now that I’ve been given a hardcore budget.” For more details about the rates and Scheerer’s expectations of photographers, see the original memo.

Related: Chicago Sun-Times Eliminates Photo Staff

May 30th, 2013

Chicago Sun-Times Eliminates Photo Staff

The Chicago Sun-Times has laid off its entire photography staff, and will instead rely on reporters and freelancers for pictures, according to a Chicago Tribune report. The lay-offs affect about 20 full-time staff.

In announcing the layoffs, the Sun-Times issued a statement saying its “business is changing rapidly and our audiences are consistently seeking more video content with their news. We …are focused on bolstering our reporting capabilities with video and other multimedia elements….[A]s a result, we have had to restructure the way we manage multimedia, including photography, across the network.”

The Chicago Newspaper Guild says it will take actions against the cuts, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. “We will be looking into all of our options, legal and non-legal,” guild executive director Craig Rosenbaum told Crain’s.

Over the past decade, newspapers around the country have drastically reduced staff, including photographers. Few papers rely entirely on freelancers for their photography, however.