PJ and the Internet

This month’s Digital Journalist features an article by contributing columnist Bill Pierce. Pierce asks the question: Is it possible that photojournalism is not a good profession for young people to enter?

The article focuses mainly on the numerous downsides facing those who wish to enter the field of photojournalism:

Today, most photographers sell all rights, losing not only all future income from the use of the images but, sometimes, even the ability to use the images in personal portfolios, exhibits, promotion pieces, personal Web sites, etc. They are, in essence, camera operators taking somebody else’s pictures for them.

However, it does end somewhat optimistically, citing the Internet as a source for hope.

The mass media is not so mass anymore. A lot of conventional news sources, newspapers, network television are diminishing in reader and viewership. But some very interesting news sources are showing up in increasing numbers on the Web. Many spring from the newspaper and TV news sources. Some, like Slate, are Web originals. There are specialty sites like The Digital Journalist. And, of course, there are a lot of sites that are the new, modern version of yellow journalism.

Pierce also directs readers to the New York Times Multimedia page, calling the audio slide shows featured there “the equivalent of stories in the old Life and Look magazines.”

The Internet has altered photojournalism in many more ways than the slide shows that Mr. Pierce refers to. One can find just a few of these ways by reading Professor Dennis Dunleavy’s blog. Professor Dunleavy has blogged about how the Internet is changing the way that photojournalists interact and operate. In his post on APAD, Professor Dunleavy writes:

Aphotoaday is more than a blog, listserve, website or anything e-info. Apad is a community and is a wonderful example of the power of the Internet.

Aphotoaday gives photojournalists a place to come together to share work, critique, and build a community. Professor Dunleavy also blogs about how the Internet has allowed for the creation of online Stock Photo markets:

I believe photojournalism is changing in the digital age because of the development of virtual stock spaces like the Digital Railroad. The Digital Railroad is like a shopping mall for images on the Internet. Photojournalists rent space in the mall and can now maintain more creative control over content.

Once in the digital mall editors can select images from photographers from around the world who rent what amount to a cyber retail shop within the mall to show off their work. It’s like going to the mall and instead of shopping at the GAP we go to VII or any number of terrific sites to get the right image for publication.

The Internet is indeed changing not only photojournalism, but media as a whole. As such, students must be aware of all of the resources and technological developments available in order to be the most prepared when entering the job market.

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