The last staff photographer at a leading regional daily is to be made compulsorily redundant.
Mark Waugh is to embark on a career as a freelance after losing his job at the Manchester Evening News where he has been the only staff photographer for the past three years.
The award-winning snapper is one of the final victims of the cutbacks announced earlier this year which put 39 editorial posts on the paper at risk of redundancy.
Mark, who was named regional photographer of the year at the 2007 Picture Editor Awards, leaves on 2 October along with a number of other staff who have been made redundant.
Most of those redundancies have been achieved voluntarily, but it is understood that there have been a small number of compulsory redundancies of which Mark is one.
When Mark first joined the MEN in 1996, there were ten staff photographers.
Three years ago there were still seven, but then six were made redundant leaving Mark as the only remaining staffer.
Said Mark: “I have been with the MEN since 1996 and enjoyed the time spent. I feel I have made my mark on the paper over the years, but am excited about my future.
“I’m sure I will be the last ever staff photographer at the paper,” he added.
Mark has launched his own website as a showcase for his photography which can be found at markwaugh.net
MEN Media has been approached for a comment on the forthcoming departures but has so far declined to respond.
regionalhack (16/09/2009 09:32:06)
Newspaper management increasingly think that the only thing required to produce newspapers is management.
Good luck to Mark on his new freelance career.
Good luck to the MEN trying to be a newspaper with a handful of staff.
Onlooker (16/09/2009 09:48:19)
MEN – Management’s Editorial Nadir.
SebastianFaults (16/09/2009 09:52:47)
Half a story. Half a story. How does the MEN now acquire its photographic content?
busyboy (16/09/2009 10:25:05)
Good luck Mark. The best I’ve worked with. A real pro.
lensgirl (16/09/2009 10:35:16)
answer to sebastian: haven’t you noticed the crappy sent-in pix that hundreds of skeleton-staffed local papers use whether they are in focus too grainy badly composed or just plan rubbish.
The mugs who send them in don’t even get paid- a bonus for greedy managers and encouragement not to employ proper pros for the job.
On many local papers you can’t get a snapper at weekends or evening any more. How’s that for a service to readers folks?
Good luck Mark. You are well out of it.
Realist (16/09/2009 10:41:22)
Spot on lensgirl. Some of the stuff local papers uses make me cringe with shame at the industry. Is there any profesional pride left in local papers any more or have staff cuts and greed wiped it out?
Don’t answer that! I know the answer.
loco (16/09/2009 10:46:47)
sorry guys. money talks even louder in a recession. That’s how it is. If you can get a pic for nothing even if its rubbish the bosses counting the pennies are going to take it.
That life on your local in 2009.
Unhappysnapper (16/09/2009 12:35:51)
It’s happening right across the country. I’m a senior photographer on a regional daily in the Midlands and there used to be five staff snappers. One left and wasn’t replaced because management said we could cope with four. Then another left, wasn’t replaced and again we were told “Three is enough.” Management are happy because two full-time salaries are now in the profit kitty but do the remaining snappers see any of that money? Do we get anything extra for taking on all the extra work and extra hours? Do we hell! It’s obvious that the MEN would rather use “citizen snappers” for free than pay real photographers to do the job because as long as they can save as much money as possible, they don’t care about the standard of the pictures on their pages. Good luck to Mark but if ever the MEN come back to you wanting your services… Tell them where to stick it! I know I would!
JP Shambles (16/09/2009 13:04:51)
I think we’re heading towards the day when they’ll be more middle managers (reclining in comfy seats in spacious officers) than there are journalist staff (scurrying around as a reporter-come-untrained-photographer-amateur-broadcaster-editorial assistant-sub all rolled into one for a pittance).
All Subbed Out (16/09/2009 13:24:26)
It’s also partly about certain levels of management having an obsession with technology, interaction and ‘platforms’ to the detriment of actual content. Just because the world and his wife now have cameras to hand more of the time, thanks in particular to mobile phones, it doesn’t mean they can actually take photos worth publishing. Yet just because readers have the technology by mobile, email, WAP, Blackberry or whatever to bombard local papers with any old dross, the bean-counters think that’s all that’s needed to fill space. It makes me weep.
Cake (16/09/2009 15:11:12)
Lensgirl clearly doesn’t read the MEN very often. It still uses freelance professional photographers to take its pictures. It is not stuffed full of “crappy sent in pix” as she suggests is the norm elsewhere. The fact is this industry is changing. People don’t need a newspaper to publish their picture or story to get it out to a wider public. They can publish it on a blog, on Facebook and so on instantly. Papers don’t have a god-given right to exist, nor do photographers (or any journalists) have a god-given right to be paid to work on a paper. Newspapers live or die by providing their communities what they want. If being part of the community involves publishing pictures people have taken at events, then so be it. As journalists we’re often too consumed with what makes a good picture, or what makes a good story to our peers, and that’s partly why we’re so out of touch with our readers.
j (17/09/2009 10:06:21)
what he said ^
lensgirl (17/09/2009 10:57:59)
I do take yr point re MEN. Regionals are generally better than weeklies where standards have dived and reporters are more often than not told to go out and take a snap.
A journo pal told me only last week he tried to book a snapper for an important evening job and was told to take a camera out himself. That’s real profesionalism for you.
As for Facebook and blogs they may be here to stay but they are the refuge of exhibitionists.
Pete Jenkins (18/09/2009 09:48:08)
It seems that the whole of the GNM group has a downer on photographers. The group cited cost of cameras equipment as the reason for switching to freelances, yet listening to those on the ground suggests that the MEN rarely get all their freelance slots filled as the remuneration they offer the freelances is way below that paid to the former staffers!!
The Guardian and Observer have also anniounced they are cutting the pay made to photograahers, in that they now expect to use any images submitted on commission to be used for the actual commission and then free for ever and a day on any other projects that GNM come up with, including (but by no means excluusive) web use, news feeds, books etc.. Overall Picture Editior Roger Tooth has been making it easier for photogrpahers by saying that they will only be taking a loss of 20% – Reassuring for all those photographers who have given such devoted and high quality service to the publisher for so long…
Derek Meakin (18/09/2009 11:09:39)
Reading the reaction to this sad story makes me realise how wide the gulf is between the way newspapers are staffed today what was the norm more than half a century ago.
I joined the MEN as a reporter in 1949 when it had a proud and enviable reputation as the top selling regional
evening in Britain. Our circulation topped 350,000. Now it is down to 72,000, if you discount the giveaway copies.
To fill the pages we had just 12 reporters and three photographers – and the photographers were the real stars. They were the only ones to be given staff cars because there had to be no delay in getting their pictures back to the office.
Reporters were lucky if they could hitch a lift. To go on a job we had to catch a bus. We were not allowed to take a taxi, and of course none of us could afford a car.
But it was a great, exciting life. We were all proud of our paper, spurred to write better stories than our deadly back-stabbing rivals on the Evening Chronicle, determined to do all we could to give readers throughout Greater Manchester the best possible coverage of news and pictures and play our own part in building up the circulation to even greater heights.
Judging by the bitter comments from today’s generation, it’s apparent there’s a much different attitude. How did it all go so wrong?
snappersal (05/10/2009 14:26:22)
I worked for a local paper as a snapper and loved the day to day variety of jobs.Cutbacks lost me my job too.I used to see mark on some of the same jobs and he is a true pro!Hes well out of it and am saddened to say that its an end of an era for papers across the country.