Photo Upheaval At Orlando Sentinel

Feb 27, 2014
Today's front page of the Orlando Sentinel, where staff photographers have been told that their old jobs are gone and they were urged to apply for new, redefined "videocentric" positions.
Today's front page of the Orlando Sentinel, where staff photographers have been told that their old jobs are gone and they were urged to apply for new, redefined "videocentric" positions.

ORLANDO, FL (February 27, 2014) – Staff photographers at the Orlando Sentinel have been told that their old jobs are gone and that they have until tomorrow – Friday – to apply for new jobs that are now available, which will be more "videocentric" with an emphasis on getting more video published on the newspaper's Web site.

On March 10 the photographers will be told which job – if any – they have been given. And the photography staff changes will be implemented by March 17, a member of the Sentinel's staff told NPPA's News Photographer magazine today.

Todd Stewart, the newspaper's design, graphics and multimedia editor who is the senior manager responsible for supervising the photography department, told the shooters during a meeting on Monday that the new job definitions will center on video. The gathering was Stewart's very first meeting with the photography staff. 

The restructuring impacts 13 jobs, including the photography director's position, and the staff photographers were told that the new jobs are open only to internal applications. No one outside the Sentinel can apply for the slots, although people in other Sentinel departments are free to apply. 

"Where the real squeeze will happen is that they currently have nine staff photographers who shoot stills, and in the new job definitions there will only be five positions where that's what the person does primarily," a Sentinel journalist said today. 

"There are two new positions defined as 'mobile photojournalists' who will be shooting video in the field on iPhones or iPads, not using DSLR cameras, and posting video to the Web. And there will be two video editing positions, two video coordinator positions, and two manager's positions." There are already two existing full-time video positions in the photography department.

The goal of the upheaval, the shooters were told, is to increase the quantity of video on the newspaper's Web site and to increase their viewers.

The Orlando Sentinel was founded in 1876 and serves central Florida. Since 1965 it has been owned by the Tribune Company.