Dan Gillmor, the former well-known columnist for the San Jose Mercury News and author of the manifesto We the Media, published on Monday on the Center of Citizen Media´s blog his article announcing "The Demise of the Professional Photojournalist".
At first sight, in the context of his entire blog post some of his conclusions ("The photojournalist’s job may be history before long, but photojournalism has never been more important, or more widespread") and remarks ("some of the professional paparazzi are submitting photos this way [as citizen journalists for Bild, "the trashy German tabloid"], because they can make more money than through traditional dealings with the newspaper") seem to be quite brilliant.
No question that the conditions have changed for the majority of photojournalists and no question that his article, as far as it refers to the phenomenon and the importance of the citizen amateur camera witness, is excellent.
But at second sight, Gillmor is confusing the issue. Being only an eyewitness with a 3 or 5 MP camera phone in the hands, under literally no circumstances, is not comparable to the full coverage of an event through a professional photojournalist.
Gillmor admits later in a comment to his own blog post that "I was talking about spot news for the most part".
But if he is talking mostly about spot news, he should have written "camera phones have never been more widespread" and Gillmor should not have written such a noisy and misleading headline like "The Demise of the Professional Photojournalist".
- Have Camera Phone? Yahoo and Reuters Want You to Work for Their News Service (Dec. 04, 2006)
- The Future of Photojournalism (Dennis Dunleavy, July 14, 2006)
- Forbes in "The Future Of Photojournalism" on the citizen journalist photo agencies Scoopt, SpyMedia and Cell Journalist, quoted here earlier (Oct. 02, 2005)
- Scoopt - A New Picture Agency For Citizen Reporters (July 05, 2005)