Newsrooms across the globe are shrinking, budgets are being slashed, jobs have grown scarce, and the hardest hit group in the industry, according to the Pew Research Center, are photojournalists.

Photography should really be seen as the entry point to a story. It provides a visual reference, it draws the reader into that story, and it can provide fantastic context to illustrate the story as a whole.

Fabrice Rousselot, editor, Liberation

The Washington-based think-tank conducted a study, concluding that in the US, the ranks of photographers and videographers have been almost cut in half over the last decade or so, from slightly more than 6,000 in 2000 to fewer than 3,500 last year.

Doomsayers are predicting the death of a profession; they are calling photojournalists a dying breed, soon to be replaced with newer, cheaper, omnipresent citizen journalists equipped with smart phones and a broadband connection.

Citizen-generated images are a better fit under current shoestring news budgets, but they can - in some cases - leave the news consumer looking at an inferior product.

Analysts say that there have been more photographs taken in the last two years than have ever existed in human history.

But with this plethora of imagery professional photography has been reduced in value. Especially since big news organisations are looking for ways to cut their costs.

Theoretically camera phones, in a digital Internet era mean that anyone can become a photojournalist.

But how does the theory work in practice?

The key for photojournalists is to find a way to harness the power of the internet instead of losing material and in some cases their jobs to it. If they manage to do that, then it is not the end of photojournalism, just the beginning of a new era.

The Listening Post’s Nic Muirhead reports on the digitally-driven crisis in photojournalism.

 
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Source: Al Jazeera