CHICAGO (CBS) — Sun-Times photojournalists who were fired last week staged a protest rally – along with some of their family members, former colleagues and other supporters – outside the newspaper’s offices in the River North neighborhood on Thursday.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports the fired photographers chanted “they say cutbacks, we say fight back!” as they walked the picket line with Sun-Times reporters and other staffers, the photographers’ families, and other journalists from Chicago.
They also were joined by members of other unions, including Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis.
“It makes no sense to take context out of pictures, and the people that know the city also have a story to tell. It’s about a Pulitzer Prize winner like John White. I mean, this is amazing that you would even think you need to get rid of people like this,” she said.
White, who worked for the Sun-Times for 35 years and won the 1982 Pulitzer for photojournalism, had his ever-present camera slung around his neck as he protested outside the office where he once worked at 350 N. Orleans St.
He said he was appreciative for all the support he and his colleagues have received since the Sun-Times eliminated its entire photography staff last week.
“The kindness and love and the support gives wings to our dreams. We have broken wings, wounded spirits, but happy hearts,” he said. “I’m hurt, I’m disappointed, but I’m not going to curse the darkness. I’m going to light candles. … I like to think I have a heart of kindness. I respect human beings. I respect people.”
The Sun-Times has said it is focusing on bolstering its video and multimedia elements, and had to restructure the way it handles multimedia across its network of newspapers.
In a statement released on Thursday, the company said: “The Sun-Times is committed to transforming its business to meet the needs of a new, digital audience. The increasing demand for more video as part of the way we cover the news, combined with our ability to tap into Chicago’s robust network of professional local photographers, has created the right environment for the company to aggressively move forward with a new multimedia strategy. We are committed to making the necessary changes to position our company for growth and to ensure a place in the future for the Chicago Sun-Times.”
The paper has begun training its reporters to use their iPhones to take photos, and also will rely on freelance photographers to shoot photos and video.
That news prompted Phil Rosenthal, himself a former Sun-Timesman, to start a “Great iPhone News Photos In History” #iphonenewspics parody.