When Reuters Fires Its Best… Photojournalism Isn’t Dead. It’s Just Changing.

In the world of news everything gets cheaper. The price of information hits new bottom after bottom. Hey everything’s available on the Net, why pay professionals. Same goes for photography. In the latest irrational, self-inflicted wound that has led to the slow demise of the news business, Reuters fires Gary Hershorn, the global sports pictures editor. Hershorn says the company told him that due to “changes in coverage” his position has been eliminated. His last day with Reuters will be April 1.

Hershornn is one of the world’s leading sports photojournalists. He has covered 16 Olympics, more than 10 MLB World’s Series championships, 24 Masters Golf tournaments in Augusta, 23 Academy Awards ceremonies, every Super Bowl since 1990 and recently returned from Russia where he coordinated Reuters’ coverage of the Sochi Games.

Being one of the best isn't any guarantee these days for job security -- Reuters fires one of its top photojournalists Gary Hershorn. | telegraph.co.uk
Being one of the best isn’t any guarantee these days for job security — Reuters fires one of its top photojournalists Gary Hershorn. | telegraph.co.uk
After Sochi, Hershorn had turned his full attention to the next major sports project for Reuters, and that was building the master plan for World Cup Soccer coverage in Brazil with the opening match in just a few weeks.

But well, last August Reuters dumped all of their North American freelance sports photographers and replaced them with shooters provided by USA Today Sports Images. Since then the photographs shot by USA Today Sports Images freelancers have replaced Reuters staff.

When Reuters inked this deal with USA Today Sports Images, the agreement included the fact that Reuters staff photographers in North America cannot cover sporting events — which took away Hershorn’s ability to shoot there.

Says Hershorn:

That had a huge impact on my job. I think the simple fact that Reuters is covering less sports in the States created less of a need to have a sports picture editor. There’s no doubt in my mind that the two are tied together (…) I would like to do something in the future that allows me to take more pictures, something that allows me to use a camera again.

Not that Hershorn’s depressed and frustrated. On the contrary, he sees a lot of potential in new approaches to photography:

I’m really open minded about the future. I love print journalism but I also love the whole new world of streaming photography. For the near future I’ll probably do some freelancing, but I’m open to any new opportunity. I have an enormous desire to work in the tech media field, to do something like Teru Kuwayama is doing with photography at Facebook. I’m fascinated with Instagram and Google and Flipboard. Steve Fine (the former director of photography at Sports Illustrated) is at Flipboard now. I think it’s an amazing news App. I’m interested in the future with these kinds of opportunities.

It’s not that photography’s dead. It’s just changing.

(via Nate Thayer and NPPA)