By Donald R. Winslow
NEW YORK, NY (March 26, 2014) – Gary Hershorn, the global sports picture editor for Reuters News Pictures, has announced his departure from the picture service. Hershorn says the company told him that due to "changes in coverage" his position has been eliminated. His last day with Reuters will be April 1.
Reuters has changed the way they cover sports, especially in North America. Last August it was learned that Reuters planned to dump all of their North American freelance sports photographers and replace them with shooters provided by USA Today Sports Images. The coverage change took effect September 15, and since then the photographs shot by USA Today Sports Images freelancers have replaced Reuters staff and contract pictures on the wire.
"That had a huge impact on my job," Hershorn said. "I think the simple fact that Reuters is covering less sports in the States created less of a need to have a sports picture editor. There's no doubt in my mind that the two are tied together." When Reuters inked a deal with USA Today Sports Images, the agreement included the fact that Reuters staff photographers in North America cannot cover sporting events – which took away Hershorn's ability to shoot here.
"I would like to do something in the future that allows me to take more pictures," Hershorn said, "something that allows me to use a camera again. I'm really open minded about the future. I love print journalism but I also love the whole new world of streaming photography, and I have skills that cross both media. For the near future I'll probably do some freelancing, but I'm open to any new opportunity. I have an enormous desire to work in the tech media field, to do something like Teru Kuwayama is doing with photography at Facebook. I'm fascinated with Instagram and Google and Flipboard. Steve Fine [the former director of photography at Sports Illustrated] is at Flipboard now. I think it's an amazing news App. I'm interested in the future with these kinds of opportunities."
Hershorn, who recently returned from Russia where he coordinated Reuters' coverage of the Sochi Games, is without question one of the world's leading sports photojournalists. He has covered 16 Olympics, more than 10 MLB World's Series championships, 24 Masters Golf tournaments in Augusta, 23 Academy Awards ceremonies, and every Super Bowl since 1990.
After Sochi, Hershorn had turned his full attention to the next major sports project for Reuters, and that was building the master plan for World Cup Soccer coverage in Brazil. World Cup begins with an opening match in just 79 days.
Before Reuters, Hershorn worked for United Press Canada from 1979 to 1985. He started with UPC when he was 21. When Reuters took over United Press International's foreign picture service in 1985, the Toronto native became a staff photographer at Reuters News Pictures back when UPI veterans Robert Schnitzlein and Mitch Koppelman ran the Reuters picture operation in Washington, DC.