Photojournalism in the Digital Age
One astute group keeping tabs on such things is the Neiman Journalism Lab, a project of the Nieman foundation established in 1938 at Harvard. The Lab publishes the quarterly magazine Nieman Reports, the nation’s oldest magazine devoted to a critical examination of the practice of journalism. Today their mission is helping journalism practitioners plot their course in our Internet age.
You can read the Lab’s work online at www.niemanlab.org and I encourage everyone to take a look at the Spring 2010 edition of Nieman Reports dedicated to photography. As the Editors point out, the changes in photojournalism we are witnessing today were not just instigated by innovations in technology and how information is disseminated, but by newsroom budget cuts, multimedia possibilities and the ubiquity of digital images; in short, by a dramatic evolution in both the distribution model and the production model of journalism.
As writer Joshua Benton points out, “A good photo gets spread around the Internet so quickly that maintaining ownership—and the money that comes with it¬—can be almost impossible.”
So what does the future of photojournalism portend? Is the rapidly changing technology a blessing or a curse? Will the nature of the Internet and “eReporters” muddy the careers of professional reporters and photographers? How about the shifting roles of stock photo agencies? What about a world populated by an army of camera phones?
Take a look at the insightful work of the Neiman Journalism lab and you just might find the answers to these and other probing questions. In addition to reading the reports online, you can also subscribe to their work and receive one email each afternoon detailing all their new content from the previous 24 hours.