Written journalism isn't the only form being radically transformed by technology. Sure, the Internet may have eliminated the monopoly that the Gotham Morning News enjoyed, and any web page could be one link away from the attention of millions. But photojournalism is also having both its distribution model and its production model changed. The old client news organizations aren't paying any more (at least not as much). The price of quality cameras has dropped so much that a skill-less amateur can, almost by accident, create a great shot. And a good photo gets spread around the Internet so quickly that maintaining ownership — and the money that comes with it — can be almost impossible.
Those issues are some of the ones that the current issue of Nieman Reports wrestles with. Where is photojournalism headed? Is it into a headlong embrace of new technologies? Toward a business model that can sustain professional work? Or toward a model in which an army of cameraphones are good enough? As Nieman Reports editor Melissa Ludtke puts it in her intro to the issue:
Photojournalism's destination and audience, once pre-ordained by the news organizations that paid the cost of doing business, are now in flux. Digital possibilities are limitless, but what is now required of photojournalists are an entrepreneurial mindset and a facility with digital tools. On the Web, photographs now act as gateways to information and context, to stories told by participants and conversations held by viewers.
Fresh Approaches and New Business Strategies for the Multimedia Age
Photojournalism is changing, propelled by newsroom budget cuts, multimedia possibilities, and the ubiquity of digital images. In Visual Journalism, photojournalists write about emerging digital business strategies and their efforts to expand the reach of their photographs online and on gallery walls. They also share ideas about how to fund projects of personal passion and societal value. Their words tell vital stories about how they do their work; slideshows of their photographs—exclusive to our Web site—and multimedia presentations convey their visual stories. Read and watch as the future of photojournalism unfolds. – Melissa Ludtke, Editor
- Visual Journalism
By Melissa Ludtke, Editor
- Envisioning Digital
- Failing to Harness the Web's Visual Promise (1 comment)
Today, too many news organizations still don't take advantage of digital media's capacity to give readers contextual information and to engage them in finding out more about the story the pictures tell.
By Fred Ritchin
- Meditating on the Conventions and Meaning of Photography (1 comment)
By Jan Gardner
- Journey to a New Beginning (2 comments)
As the doors of established media slam shut, a photojournalist knocks on new ones to find the promise of more authenticity in his storytelling and greater control over his work.
By Ed Kashi
- Multimedia Adds New Dimensions to the Art of Storytelling
By Ed Kashi
- A Different Approach to Storytelling (3 comments)
'… photographs require context to tell a more complete narrative. The best thing for photojournalists to do is to slow down, become a little more engaged, and spend a little more time on their projects in a much more intimate way.'
Conversation with Brian Storm
- Looking Beneath the Surface of Stories in Iraq, Iowa and Rwanda
- Photojournalism in the New Media Economy
Success will depend on 'seeing oneself as a publisher of content and a participant in a distributed story, the form of which helps reshape the content of the story.'
By David Campbell
- A Story Rooted in a Community Gives Voice to Its People
By David Campbell
- From Film to Digital: What's Lost? What's Gained? (1 comment)
'Today, it seems that speed trumps all else, becoming the way success is measured. It might be better if other factors—such as content, reliability and value—were to trump speed when it comes to evaluating visual journalism.'
By David Burnett
- 44 Days and the Portrayal of History in Tehran
Words and Photographs by David Burnett
- Steps Learned Along the Way: Redefining Photojournalism's Power
'Even in the best of times, even when highly recognized within the field itself, our images are only tools, not an end in themselves.'
By Wendy Watriss
- Agent Orange: Pressing the Government to Take Responsibility
Words and Photographs by Wendy Watriss
- New Pathways
- In Pursuing a Personal Project, Global Dimensions Emerge
'As photojournalists casting about for creative and meaningful direction in the face of … an industry shifting beneath our feet, we may be best served by following the threads of our own experience and then going deeper.'
By Kael Alford
- Finding Common Themes in Louisiana and Iraq
Words and Photographs by Kael Alford
- Newspaper Employee to Nonprofit Director: A Photojournalist's Journey (1 comment)
The idea behind Wéyo 'was to capitalize on our collective years of journalism experience and turn our narrative storytelling abilities toward work with nonprofits.'
By Christopher Tyree
- 'Lost Boys' Return to Sudan as Doctors
Words by Christopher Tyree
Photographs by Stephen Katz and Christopher Tyree
- The Impact of Images: First, They Must Be Seen (1 comment)
Through photographs transformed into comic images and other creative collaborations, the work of a photojournalist is connecting with new audiences in creative ways.
Words and Photographs by Marcus Bleasdale
- Photojournalists Reach Viewers in Different Ways (1 comment)
Using emerging funding strategies and finding fresh venues to display their work, photographers bring foreign news reporting to new audiences.
By Iason Athanasiadis
- Pakistan: A Freelancer as Photographer
Words and Photographs by Iason Athanasiadis
- Pushing Past Technology to Reach Enduring Issues (1 comment)
'I want my students to be engaged not just about making a product … they'll submit to the College Photographer of the Year contest—but in thinking critically about the process and aesthetic choices.'
By Donna De Cesare
- 'Destiny's Children': A Legacy of War and Gangs
By Donna De Cesare
- Taking Time to Rethink, Adjust and Move Forward (6 comments)
'Today, how we divide our time and do our work and get paid for it has virtually no connection to how things worked for those who started out a decade or two before us.'
By Justin Mott
- A Personal Project: Third-Generation Victims of Agent Orange
Words and Photographs by Justin Mott
- Carving New Pathways With Photojournalism Students (1 comment)
'I ask myself what I should be teaching my students. How can I prepare them so they can find good jobs? Figuring this out is my daily challenge.'
By Josh Meltzer
- The Untold Story of Mexican Migration (1 comment)
Words and Photographs by Josh Meltzer
- Preparing the Next Generation of Photojournalists
Exposure, a photojournalism, documentary studies, and human rights program, 'prepares students for immersive experiences and guides them in their efforts to document through photography what they observe.'
By Sherman Teichman
- Taking Stock of the 'Area Boys' in Lagos, Nigeria (1 comment)
Photographs by Samuel James
- Nieman Notes
- Reaching Out With Appreciation to Brave Colleagues in Afghanistan
Through the Lyons award and a teleconference with journalists in Kabul, the Niemans pay tribute to the work of Afghan reporters and hear about the difficulties they face.
By James Reynolds
- Slain Sri Lankan Journalist Honored for His Commitment to a Free Press
- A Nieman Fellow Joins Jimmy Breslin's Other Friends in Celebrating His Common Touch (1 comment)
'It was a cross between "This Is Your Life" and an Irish wake, the important difference being, of course, that the corpse was still warm and still pretty ornery.'
By Kevin Cullen
- Shifting Strategies
- Partnership of Photojournalist and Writer
'With our close collaboration, I felt for the first time as a photographer that I was working with a writer who really wanted to hear what I thought about the story.'
By Melissa Lyttle
- Finding an Extraordinary Moment During an Ordinary Ride
Words and Photographs by Melissa Lyttle
- Our Emotional Journey—Traveled Together
'Journalism, at its best, is collaboration. No single reporter can ask every question. No photographer can capture every scene.'
By Lane DeGregory
- The Camera—It's Only the Starting Point to Change
'So how does a global news organization such as The Associated Press get this technology working for us? In short, how do we train our photojournalists to use it?'
By Santiago Lyon
- Crossing the Line: From Still to Video—to Both at the Same Time
Words and Photographs by Julie Jacobson
- Gift of Training + Shift in Newsroom Thinking = Multimedia Storytelling
Words and Photographs by Evan Vucci
- Being a Photojournalist Doesn't Equal Job Security
After taking a buyout, a longtime newspaper photographer thinks about her future direction in an industry where multimedia now rules and technological know-how is essential.
By Nuri Vallbona
- Recognizing the Special Value of Still Photos in a Video World
By Nuri Vallbona
- Visual Literacy
- The Still Photograph: Embedding Images in Our Mind
With his large-scale images, Edward Burtynsky seeks to 'bring viewers to that point where they begin to grapple with their own consciousness about being in that space.'
Words and Photographs by Edward Burtynsky
- A New Focus: Adjusting to Viewers' Increasing Sophistication About Images
In an age when visual literacy is common, photojournalists may need to bring fresh sensibilities to their work.
By Jörg M. Colberg
- The Fluidity of the Frame and Caption (3 comments)
When keywords become invisible captions and cameras increasingly do what darkrooms once did, how photojournalists approach their job changes.
By Venkat Srinivasan
- What Crisis? (2 comments)
'It's not about finding new ways to do old things, but time to radically rethink our business models by redefining our products, our partners, and our clients.'
By Stephen Mayes
- Too Many Similar Images, Too Much Left Unexplored (1 comment)
Excerpts From an Address by Stephen Mayes
- Music Lessons Inform Photojournalism's Future
'The record business died as the digital music business was born. Photojournalism finds itself at a similar juncture now.'
By Ian Ginsberg
- Demotix: Inventing a New Marketplace
Photographers—amateur and professional—send their images to this Web site and split the fee if they are sold for publication.
By Turi Munthe
- Documentary Photography (1 comment)
The impact that photographs can have is illuminated in a look back at iconic images.
Excerpts from a presentation by Glenn Ruga
- Documentary Photographers Have Their Say in Words and Pictures
By Glenn Ruga
- Words & Reflections
- What Changed Journalism—Forever—Were Engineers
'Like the other engineer that has succeeded in killing journalism's economic model—Craigslist's Craig Newmark—Google's founders have nothing against journalists, newspapers or our search for truth, justice and the American way.'
By Joel Kaplan
- A Journalist Joins the Nigerian Government—If Only for A While
'I wanted my freedom back—the freedom to be able to tell truth to power.'
By Sunday Dare
- When Journalists Were Targets
- Digital Stories Are Being Chosen and Consumed à la Dim Sum
In the absence of a front page—or even a home page, will readers confront a crisis of context? Or will convenience and a self-confidence in judgment triumph?
By Michele Weldon
- It's Not the Assignment: It's the Lessons That Come From It (1 comment)
By Michele Weldon
- Connecting What Happened Then With What Happens Now (1 comment)
'To focus on Don Hollenbeck's death is to miss the lessons of his life.'
By Stuart Watson
- Are Newspapers Dying? The View of an Aspiring Journalist (2 comments)
'In The Republican's newsroom I experienced something of a disconnect between the old vanguard of journalists who filled the paper's top posts and younger staffers who were frustrated by the few opportunities they had for using multimedia.'
By Sam Butterfield
- Moving Across the Border: Teaching Journalism in Hong Kong
'As a student from Shenzhen, an industrial city just across the border, said: "Once I've discovered all the resources out there, I don't want them taken away from me."?'
By Michael J. Jordan
- Curator's Corner
- Global Health Reporting: Expertise Matters
For three years global health fellows have been a part of each Nieman class, and the great value rendered by their study and subsequent reporting is measurable.
By Bob Giles