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Up to 30 photographic jobs at risk in regional publisher’s restructure

Matt-Kelly-e1400584060744Up to 30 photographic jobs are at risk after a regional publisher announced a restructure which will see reporters take pictures “as a matter of routine.”

Archant has announced the changes to its operation, which will see some specialist photographers retained along with newly-created picture curator roles.

The company says it wants to make it clear that all editorial staff should be able to take “publishable quality photographs and video” together with a “renewed focus” on images shared by readers.

HTFP understands 30 members of Archant’s photography departments are currently under consultation. However, not all those affected will lose their jobs as a result.

Photographic staff were told of the proposals yesterday, with editorial colleagues informed this morning.

It is understood reporters will be issued with iPhones to take photos while out on jobs as a result of the restructure.

An announcement by Archant chief content officer Matt Kelly, which has been seen by HTFP, reads: “Digital technology has done so much to change visual journalism in the past decade, both in how photos and video are created and how that content is consumed and shared by our readers.

“We believe it’s essential that our business responds to those changes of behaviour if we are to be as relevant as possible in our communities. If these proposals go ahead, it will result in a restructure and reorganization of the photography departments across our newspaper locations.

“As an industry in a profound state of flux, we face many difficult challenges. How we take advantage of the opportunities to engage with audiences in new ways, without jeopardising the quality of our journalism, is perhaps the most difficult challenge facing any content team today.

“I believe the proposals we have laid out give us an opportunity to retain the skills of specialist photographers when we need them, while at the same time making it clear that all our editorial staff should be able to take publishable quality photographs and video as a matter of routine.”

Matt added that through the adoption of the new photo curator roles there would be a “renewed focus” on engaging with readers who have quality photos and videos they want to share.

It is understood the curators will be responsible for creating photo galleries and collating images from across newspapers’ patches, from social media and readers, and sharing them among other Archant titles. They will also pay freelance photographers to cover events.

He continued: “I realise these changes are difficult on many levels and that many of you will have very valid questions about our longer term strategy. I want to assure you that these proposals form part of a coherent and positive content strategy focussed on building large, loyal and local audiences.

“One this process is complete, I will be able to give you much more clarity on how we intend to achieve that and will arrange for a series of “ask me anything” sessions in our places of work. In the meantime, do not hesitate to email me directly with concerns and observations.”

The announcement comes days after the company revealed it would be closing its London news website London24, with five jobs at risk as a result.

A spokeswoman for Archant said: “Archant confirms that as part of a review of its newspaper photography departments, it has started a consultation process with affected staff.”

78 comments

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  • June 7, 2016 at 2:16 pm
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    It’s interesting that magazines haven’t gone down this route. Who needs professional shots of footballers and cars when what you really want is the shot of the back of someone’s head taken by someone with no training, no skills and no eye for a picture (I’m talking about myself here just as much as anyone else, I was frequently embarrassed by my photo efforts).

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  • June 7, 2016 at 2:32 pm
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    So…Union solidarity…copyright law..soccer matches…sports events…..snatch pictures….sounds good

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  • June 7, 2016 at 2:33 pm
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    And are they going to be paying fees to those readers whose photos they use? It’s the elephant in the room for UGC.

    “These proposals form part of a coherent and positive content strategy focus[s]ed on building large, loyal and local audiences.” Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain…

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  • June 7, 2016 at 2:59 pm
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    There are certain subjects, such as those that move against high contrast backgrounds at high speed that need a professional. Or those where you need to take depth of field into consideration or light casts.
    Or those where it might be an idea to actually get the subject sharply focused.
    But don’t worry if you can’t cope reporters, your paper will use any old crap you provide, as long as it does not cost! Pictures in my local JP weekly rag are shameful, especially but not exclusively on the sports pages. But it is obvious that there is an “anything will do attitude.” Not just JP either. They are in a newspaper near you!

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  • June 7, 2016 at 3:02 pm
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    “I realise many of you will have very valid questions about our longer term strategy (sic). I want to assure you that these proposals form part of a coherent and positive content strategy (sic) focused on building large, loyal and local audiences (sic).” Ha, ha, ha, Matt, you old trouper you. I wondered what you’d be up to after that stratospheric time at Local World and now we know. Brilliant. My auntie Glad’s got an old Polaroid if you need any snaps, mate.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 3:04 pm
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    I am a good snapper with some technical ability although my profession is a journalist. I hate being forced to take pictures because I am doing a pro, either staff or freelance, out of a job. Think about it next time you snap away.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 3:07 pm
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    Send a reporter to a football match with a silly phone or cheap camera and ask him or her to get a picture of a player heading a ball on the half way line. Or a close up of a cricketer batting. Should be a cinch. Especially in bad light!

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  • June 7, 2016 at 3:18 pm
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    THIRTY staff photographers???? holy crap!
    they must be the biggest employers of staff photographers in western europe!
    sorry for those affected, but seriously…. the times they are a’ changin’

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  • June 7, 2016 at 3:21 pm
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    >The company says it wants to make it clear that all editorial staff should be able to take “publishable quality photographs and video”

    How often do their reporters get out of the office, I wonder?

    >a “renewed focus” on images shared by readers

    Ie selling readers back their own poor-quality snaps. An unreliable source anyway, that leaves pages where the main image is a stock photo of the outside of court or council buildings.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 3:44 pm
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    Just another piece of the jigsaw being put together by the village idiots in charge of the regional press as they gallop off triumphantly towards complete oblivion.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 3:56 pm
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    Working one night as a late sub, I got a phone call to say “Strip page one – there’s been an accident.” I wasn’t overly chuffed, as I was just about to leave. I was told a reporter was on her way to knock out some copy and get a photo on her way in. What ended up going to press was embarrassing. A long distance mobile phone snap from about 800 yards, with a tiny hint that there might have been a blue light flashing! That’s around the time I got my ass out of this game!

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  • June 7, 2016 at 4:07 pm
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    I imagine Archant’s reporters, bored out of their minds with nothing to do, will be grateful for the small task of doing the work of 2/3rds of the photography team.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 4:43 pm
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    All well and good for certain assignments. As long as your lighting’s okay, you can snap a perfectly publishable (if somewhat mediocre) pose-and-grin shot on a high-end smartphone. I don’t approve of the practice but it’ll just about suffice for shop openings, civic functions, school stories and other such bread-and-butter jobs.

    However, as soon as you introduce moving subjects, poor or strongly contrasting lighting, unpredictable action (e.g. sports matches, an unfolding disaster, a crowded celebrity visit) or something that needs to be snapped from afar with a telephoto lens, you’re up a certain water course without a certain navigational instrument.

    I’m sure the geniuses who devised this plan would argue that they’re retaining enough snappers to cover these kinds of jobs. However, my experience working at a former Local World title (which I’m now out of, thank goodness!) suggests otherwise. We supposedly had photographers to cover the important stuff – but with two or three covering a patch comprising several counties, good luck summoning any of them in a timely fashion.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 4:59 pm
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    The first comment raises a valuable point; you don’t hear of magazines going down this route. Same could be said for local TV news. It’s that high standard that makes you pick up a copy or watch for 30mins. Newspapers are looking daft in this slick digital world. My local JP weekly looks so parochial and twee, full of submited photos. Several years ago it was ace, with pro photos, edgy snaps of turmoil in the community. Pah, all gone now.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 5:05 pm
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    I wonder if readers will now click on the website twice to see photos taken by themselves of their off-spring featured in the local newspaper site – yunno once for them and once for the aunt. It was such a successful model of news that I believe many local newspapers under the current crop of management continue using it until this day for print.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 5:14 pm
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    I’m a victim of the JP cull on photographers, and I’m sad to say there’s no longer a value to a well composed professional news picture,we’ve been swallowed up by the mordern day ‘image’ their ten a penny,any rubbish will now do the job,and more worryingly they get used.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 5:19 pm
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    Its the ideal time leave the dwindling regional press, take the money, run as fast as you can and freelance. You won’t regret it.
    I earn more than I did when I was a staff photographer, and work less than half the hours.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 5:32 pm
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    I suppose this is based on the success of iwitness! This is a move the bottom line figure exercise. They will lose the wage and pension bill, the company car costs, the equipment costs. They will then spend as much on freelance budget but won’t the wage bill bottom line look much better to share holders!

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  • June 7, 2016 at 5:42 pm
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    As well as magazines, you also don’t see the market leaders in online – Sky, the Beeb, the nationals – using UGC; they all have contracts with the big photographic agencies. The regional publishers make a big deal of competing online, but things like this just make them look so low-rent.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 6:09 pm
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    When did Matt stop being a journalist and instead preach from the Bumper Book of Management Justification and Jargon?

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  • June 7, 2016 at 6:34 pm
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    Nothing to do with fixing that hole in revenues then? Nope, not all all, it’s strategy old chap.
    Saying that, each individual journo can now boast 10 personal middle managers and 15 personal finance bean counters to help them do their job. How lucky are we!

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  • June 7, 2016 at 7:37 pm
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    Curious photo, was it reader supplied?

    As for his patronising
    ” meantime, do not hesitate to email me directly with concerns and observations.”
    Take my advice Archant folk and don’t bother, unless you’re in complete agreement with him Kelly doesn’t like what he hears and is likely to issue one of his thinly veiled threats such as the ones he gave to those commenting on HTFP a few weeks ago.

    Good luck to those photographers affected, even bigger luck to those poor souls left there, the culling is set to continue

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  • June 7, 2016 at 7:37 pm
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    Somebody seems to have hijacked my name so I would like to disassociate myself with the views above.

    Archant papers used to use pictures better than most regionals and it was a real virtue. Even in recent years, with photographer numbers cut to the bone, they’ve batted above their average.

    But of course this isn’t about newspapers – it’s about online. And one approach to online is “any crap will do”. This certainly seems to be the course Archant is taking with its endless “10 things you only know if you live in Norwich or any other UK city” and “How many of these Costessey drainpipes can you recognise?” pieces.

    It’s a good job they’ve got strong editorial managers who will fight this and speak up for quality… oh, hang on.

    Thoughts are with the many good, talented people affected by this.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 8:20 pm
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    Professional and highly-trained staff photographers are crucial to newspapers. A good photo enhances a news story and can often be more powerful than words. Sending reporters out with iPhones is fine as some things need to be pictured in the moment e.g a big fire or dramatic rescue etc but for jobs that need a creative edge, an iPhone just won’t do. It also looks and feels very unprofessional if a reporter takes a picture on a phone or small digital camera. Readers often don’t have a clue at what makes a good news picture. News photography is an art and should be cherished and supported.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 8:25 pm
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    This is an absolute newspaper tragedy. A tragedy mainly for the photographers, a tragedy for the quality of the newspapers, a tragedy that already over worked reporters will be even more over worked, a tragedy for press photography and a tragedy for the industry. It’s like the newspaper photography equivalent of the emperor’s new clothes.

    The NUJ needs to encourage a stand and the reporters themselves need to make a stand.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 9:00 pm
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    I had a discussion with my MD many years ago about reporters taking pictures. It was a very short conversation. In a nutshell the second word was ‘off’.

    I’m afraid reporters have brought about this ridiculous state of affairs. They should have refused to take pictures when the proposal was first raised. After all, they wouldn’t have agreed to unblock the toilets should the need arise. Would they?

    And shame on all of these editors who have gone along with this nonsense. The hypocrisy of using fabulous pictures across front pages but condoning reporters taking crap snaps is beyond contempt.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 9:09 pm
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    “..because I am doing a pro, either staff or freelance, out of a job”
    Kelly doesn’t care about that @F32 it’s all about cost cutting and cost savings, there’s probably a nice fat bonus on the back of It too for someone somewhere charged with reducing costs.
    And yes @busybody ‘any old crap’ will indeed do as long as it’s free that’s all that matters,
    However the embarrassing Mustard tv is allowed to carry on lumbering away talking to itself watched by no one yet leaking money day after day unchecked, why?
    It’s lost over £650.000 already in one year alone so if Kelly’s looking to make instant savings he ought to look there first, he’d save a fortune, save further ridicule and no one would notice it had gone, or care

    Shocking how far a company’s standards can fall and in so short a period of time

    Best of luck to all the people affected as a result

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  • June 7, 2016 at 10:30 pm
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    PRs at businesses, academies and organisations across the country are rubbing their hands in glee at the opportunities opening up for them by newspapers going down this route. For the cost of paying for an hour or two of a local photographer’s time (and there will suddenly be lots going freelance) they’ll be able to source 2-3 high quality pix to send in with press releases, with guaranteed coverage for their clients. Less killer, more filler. Easy street.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 11:02 pm
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    The Brighton Argus did this just before Christmas (great timing) and the paper looks appalling now, probably only getting about 8k of daily readers from its hay day of 130k readers a day! Also recently had it knuckles rapped for misleading its advertisers on its creative figure massaging!

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  • June 7, 2016 at 11:33 pm
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    I can’t understand reporters who refuse to take photographs and think it’s not their job. It is and what’s the harm in taking a quick few snaps on your iPhone if you are on a job. I totally agree that sports and high quality photos need a professional but a lot of stuff is run of the mill and anyone can do with minimal training. When I used to work at Archant we’d switch between having too many jobs for the snapper to do to have them sitting around doing nothing all day. I know it’s hard for them at the moment and they’ll have to find new sources of revenue but it makes sense for them to just be employed on a freelance basis. There’s not the money there was in local papers, everyone knows that, and with technology so advanced why would anyone pay for someone they don’t need full time. Talking about iPhones I had pictures I took at the weekend published in the Telegraph, Star and Sun this week so they can’t be that bad!

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  • June 7, 2016 at 11:58 pm
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    This is such a short sighted policy there is no way someone with an iPhone can duplicated the work of these talented professionals with professional equipment. Good visuals are so important they should be raising standards not lowering them to readers snapshots. We all know that at the heart of this is cost cutting, but it will back fire as the lack lustre images will lower the desirability of their publications. Shame on you penny pinching Archant.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 7:43 am
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    “..local TV news. It’s that high standard that makes you watch for 30mins..”
    @jorgeelliot you’ve obviously not seen Mustard tv

    Filmed in a basement by a junior reporter on a company issue iPhone between 15 other jobs against a backdrop that looks like it’s been knocked up in PowerPoint, next they’ll be asking their viewer to send in his holiday snaps.

    But that’s the standard of quality that’s acceptable these days across all mediums

    Last one out turn the light off

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  • June 8, 2016 at 8:35 am
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    The NUJ is partly to blame for this. They didnt fight for photographers. Not so long ago jurnos were banned from taking photos. Quality seems to be a thing of the past with newspapers these days. Yet they still charge for their low quality products which in some cases are little better than facebook. But facebook is free! Any wonder print is declining when quality is falling dramatically. Readers arent stupid and wont be ripped off. As for reporters taking photos…I have a pair of scissors but it dosent make me a hairdresser!!

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  • June 8, 2016 at 8:48 am
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    In the heyday of newspapers half the photographer’s job was in developing his pictures in the darkroom, and then printing orders from readers. The bigger regional papers had a separate staff doing all this so that the photographers could concentrate on taking photos.
    All this has gone with digital cameras..
    Many pictures in those days were simply group shots of people, but the news pages were often enlivened by shots of factory fires, train crashes, ship strandings etc etc. Health and Safety has largely put a stop to all this kind of hard news so nowadays you get so many Art School compositions in what’s left of newspapers.
    I know some of the old school reporters still around who would have loved to have had a digital to record what they saw in their day.
    One picture is worth a thousand words…for those with eyes to see (which seems to rule out most of today’s young reporters).

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  • June 8, 2016 at 9:06 am
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    You only have to look at their desperate ” got a story” pleas constantly run in paper and on social media along the lines of ” hi its xyz here from archant,mind if we use your photo in the EDP? we will give you a name check”

    This is just another step aliong the way of dumbing down the business as much as it can to save money with quality being of no importance yet with Mustard tv lumbering along losing money day by day,presented by amateurs, watched by no one, a laughing stock across the county ( and industry) and while managing to shed over half a million pounds in its first year alone.
    This latest cut back is simply one more distress flare fired off the roof of prospect house and another warning sign to those with any professionalism still working there to plan your exit strategy pdq as with this kind of slashing,its not going to get any better

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  • June 8, 2016 at 9:30 am
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    Surely the key question is whether giving the boot to professional photographers will improve the quality of pictures in their products. The answer of course is no.

    The people of Norfolk, contrary to popular opinion, are not stupid and they have noticed the decline in quality of the EDP. I speak to people regularly in the county who say that.

    It spells a further decline in the readership of the EDP which has always been the cash cow in that part of the world. Sad to watch this unfolding.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 9:32 am
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    Steven, Midlands, with your surprising lack of empathy, I bet your photographer colleagues love you! Demarcation protects jobs and standards. You say your pictures aren’t bad. I’m a trained, NCTJ qualified press photographer with years of experience. I don’t use a phone to take pictures (unless I’m out for the evening and something happens) I use thousands of pounds worth of gear. It won’t surprise many people but my pictures will be better than yours. What other jobs are you prepared to do? As mentioned in a previous post, unblock the toilets perhaps?

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  • June 8, 2016 at 10:00 am
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    In a statement issued today, my local football team has announced that all strikers and forwards must be able to play as goalkeepers “to professional match standard” from now on as its three goalies were told their jobs were at risk after a “strategic review” of the club’s on-pitch activities.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 10:08 am
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    I have just edited a sport page which featured the worst photograph I have ever seen, in which two young lads are stood in front of a net looking sheepish. Whatever parent took it even forgot to furnish them with racquets. This is the future – utter rubbish that what few readers are left will soon give up on.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 10:09 am
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    Sadly, this is a pattern that has been repeated in the regional press right across the country over the past few years. It’s such a shame for the numerous dedicated photographers – and indeed journalists who are also taking the brunt of the cuts.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 10:10 am
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    Somewhere the readers (or viewers) get lost in this discussion. We are giving them less and asking them (in case of papers) to pay more. The comments on the Brighton Argus are a warning to everyone. This paper once employed superb photographers and was noted for the quality of its images. As the quality fell the sales tumbled to a level (about 1 in 125 people in the two countries)that is ridiculous for a paper supposed to covering East and West Sussex. It would make a great study for Dyson in how a once superb evening paper fell to the level of a weekly that just happens to come out daily. No reflection on staff there. They have an impossible job.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 10:11 am
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    Re Argus. I meant two COUNTIES!. It hasn’t gone international yet.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 10:19 am
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    iWhitnessed was heralded as the future, and it failed (as the amount of actual submitted photos were extremely low), along with the rest of their UGC strategy (lets get the reader to submit news items for free – as before they used to pay 7p a line)!, that failed.

    Equiping journo’s with technology to attempt to do a highly skilled role, is an oversight, as composition, intuition and any other -ition requires the professional human input, which you don’t get from an Iphone (and why an expensive IPhone, when the camera capabilty is behind it’s cheaper android or microsoft rivals – that does’nt make sense either)

    This is all about cost, as if it was’nt, then iWhitness would have been a roaring success.

    So like many commentors on her, Archant towers should stop the management spin and be honest with it’s staff and the dwindelling loyal readership, and finanlly retore a bit of crediability!!!!!

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  • June 8, 2016 at 10:41 am
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    What next in the further dumbing down and ‘do it on the cheap’ strategy by Matt Kelly and co?
    Axe all but a few reporters and rely on social media pleas and readers for ‘content’ ?

    Ditch the ad reps and instigate a book your own advert online facility?( not a bad idea actually, would certainly save huge costs)

    Get rid of any commercial suits with ‘manager’in their titles, there’s so little left to actually manage and their own contribution to revenues is non existent so there’s a big cost saving in one fell swoop

    Shut front counters and get the public to email in their private ads and hatch match dispatch notices?

    Get amateurs to present mustard tv? Hold on, they do that already so ignore that one

    The wholesale erosion of quality has been one of the cornerstones of the U.K. Regional press decline and will eventually bottom out with nothing of value left to sell and Archant are already a long way down that road.

    I fear those days are closer than we think

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  • June 8, 2016 at 10:43 am
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    You can tell the attached picture of Mr Kelly with the story was taken by a professional photographer a properly composed light picture,why didn’t he leave it a reporter to do on his phone? We all know the reason why because he would have finished up with a picture of himself looking like a fugitive,it’s called Double Standards.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 10:45 am
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    Every day in every way, regional newspaper publishers make it easier for their dwindling readership to forsake the newspaper buying habit.

    More fool to the readers who are prepared to submit their photographs for nothing. I wonder if they ever spare a thought for the photographers who have lost their livings thanks to their “generosity”.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 11:11 am
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    At my local paper, reporters routinely now attend jobs to take photos, where they would have done it over the phone in the past. Reporters may think they are getting brownie points, but all they are doing is putting their own jobs at risk. As the quality plummets, sales and advertising drops, along with staff numbers.
    I have seen a number of reporters who use their own cameras on jobs, who will shoot over the shoulder of a professional photographer. If I see someone with an idiot camera at a job, I’ll wait for them to leave and then do my pics, I’m sure if I lifted a story word for word and sold it, the paper would have something to say!

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  • June 8, 2016 at 11:53 am
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    Why cant the NUJ just tell reporters not to take photos? Photographers have always been second class citizens as far as the NUJ is concerned. As a few people have already said on here, where does it stop? Are reporters prepared to clean the toilets. It says a lot abot some reporters attitudes when they dont care about putting photographers out of work but wouldnt threaten the janitor’s job.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 12:14 pm
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    When I worked for what is now an Archant title, in the late 1980s, a total ban was instituted on cheque presentation photos. On the grounds that they made the papers look awful. I regularly worked with two togs either of whom could have held up their heads alongside the best in the business. Now, presumably, wonky, washed-out UGC grip-and-grins are all we can expect in its titles. Still, I suppose it makes sense by the logic of the modern market. A UGC picture’s still worth a thousand words; it’s just that the words accompanying them are worth only 1/1000th of what they used to be.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 12:22 pm
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    From my understanding (working for TM) the introduction of stats to count how many people view each story online became the death knell for everything. You could take a brilliant brilliant photo of three people moaning about a manhole cover (maybe taken from within said manhole), but if only 100 people click the story, then the editor decides to reduce those types if stories, and the production time of creating them. You then end up with fewer jobs in the photo diary, and thus, fewer photographers. A downward spiral towards a low-rent product.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 1:36 pm
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    Using readers pictures isn’t new. We used to routinely get them in hard copy to accompany stories, particularly death knocks when you were encouraged to borrow the album to leave your rivals nothing.
    Now, with electronic gadgetry and everyone carrying a camera , they come to us.
    The idea of paying Joe Public for images is a red herring. We didn’t before and we won’t now.
    Taking most pictures doesn’t require any degree of skill and the cameras are idiot-proof. Every reporter should take their own pics to save time and money. It doesn’t require a professional to take a picture of a block of toilets or a mugshot.
    Taking a great picture is a different matter.
    Most places have ditched most of their photographers already and it sounds like Archant are catching up.
    It’s very sad for those involved but technology is there to be exploited and there’s no sentiment in business.
    As the Borg would say, resistance is futile…

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  • June 8, 2016 at 2:43 pm
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    OK, if you cant beat them then join them. If newspaper companies are happy with mobile phone photos then maybe all the newly created freelance photographers (redundancies) should save themselves a fortune on gear and just use a smart phone for all their booked markings. They would still be miles better than UGC pics. Lets call it PPGC (Professional Photographer Generated Content).

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  • June 8, 2016 at 3:47 pm
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    No wonder the newspaper industry has gone down the pan if the comments by some gutless individuals are anything to go by.

    If it’s acceptable (and a good idea) for reporters to take pics then why not have them sell one or two adverts while they’re out? Perhaps they can also drop of parcels of papers at a couple of newsagents on the way?

    If your printed product is crap people stop buying it. Dumbing down the product will grow not speed up the decline.

    PS My Johnston Press share sunk to a new low today at 32.5p. I guess the digital world isn’t the answer after all.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 4:17 pm
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    Regional, a good picture does require skill, cameras are NOT 100% idiot proof and your mediocre picture of a “toilet block” will be far, far inferior to my well composed, sharp and interesting picture of the same “toilet block” . My picture will be interesting and used well because I will take it from numerous angles, both wide, square and upright, I may even find a high vantage point or I may lie on the floor, I may go at dusk and use fill in flash. Whatever, my picture will hopefully attract readers to YOUR story! Your picture taken on a phone will be shoddy and mediocre.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 4:38 pm
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    If you accept mediocrity it says you don’t care. If you don’t care why should your audience?

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  • June 8, 2016 at 5:05 pm
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    What a great shame Archant think so little of their remaining customers as to settle for an any old thing will do policy in their papers.

    I assume Matt Kelly has little or no experience of customer facing roles or having to explain to customers why the quality of the ” content” has been allowed to fall so low yet he and his editor chums happy to issue iPhones to already overworked reporters with a threat that they are expected to produce publishable photographs, presumably ‘or else!’
    why not give them a broom to sweep the car parks and a bucket and sponge to clean the directors cars while they’re at it!
    He must be of the belief that those that are left should be grateful to have a job.

    Good to see the feudal system of the Victorian age is alive and thriving at Archant

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  • June 8, 2016 at 5:06 pm
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    Steve Barber Lake District. Spot on. The evidence is there. Terrible falls in sales.
    Steven, Midlands. You sound desperate to do anything to cling to your job. Even put someone else out of work. Brave New World isn’t it?

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  • June 8, 2016 at 5:33 pm
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    …And the winner of the ” Archant photograph of the year” is Elsie Scroggins for an out of focus snap of ‘tree branches on A47 following freak storm”

    … The winner of the Archant photographer of the year is Neville Packard from East Harling for his series of front page EDP images of ‘ night skies over t’ glorious county we are royally proud to call thome m’aam’ lifted from his Twitter pages on an almost daily basis and reproduced in low resolution whenever news in Norfolk is slow and there’s insufficient wildlife to feature.

    Best wishes to all the 30 togs affected by this latest penny pinching and long term suicidal policy

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  • June 8, 2016 at 9:15 pm
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    Once the Photographic talent (built up over many years) has gone, it’s gone forever… Reporters are great with words, and Photographers with pictures – two completely different skills! Great images and video are so important Matt to encourage people to click on web stories, and keep them interested, so this is surely just cost-cutting which will backfire terribly for Archant in the longer term.

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  • June 9, 2016 at 8:30 am
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    To those who will lose their jobs due to this latest Archant dumbing down and cost cutting fiasco I say this, many ex Archant staff are now thriving working in,or freelancing for ,the many top quality independent publishers producing superb magazines and papers who are serious competitors to the dinosaur business you are about to leave.
    All are living happier, less stressful lives, earning good money, doing jobs they enjoy for employers who are respected by their readers and advertisers and who respect their employees and treat them as valued assets, all qualities sadly no longer associated with Archant.
    Not one ex Archant employee that I speak to , and i keep in contact with lots and am in a position to give freelance work to many, has a good word to say about the company, it’s papers or the way it is being run, I use the term ‘being run’ loosely.

    Most ( all) are happily watching the ivory towers crumble and witnessing the rapid decline of the company and its infestation of yes men from a distance, sad to say but true.

    So see your exit as a blessing, short term upset and worry will be replaced by a realisation that the grass really is greener post Archant and there’s always plenty of work for talented professional people whether in editorial, photography or ad sales,just not at Archant where ‘talented and professional people’ are words no longer associated with the company.
    Good luck to those who are affected and will leave, believe me you’re the fortunate ones, as someone said on here previously, it’s the ones who are left I feel sorry for.

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  • June 9, 2016 at 8:39 am
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    90% of editorial staff do their work over the phone and rarely report from the field, so how are they supposed to supply image content.

    You’ve got it the wrong way round, Kelly.
    Get your staff shooters to do it the reporting first hand and email the audio back to base for type up.

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  • June 9, 2016 at 9:06 am
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    Why would Archant want to employ photographers when it could just take its pick from one of the many sublime images posted daily on the EDP editor’s Twitter feed?

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  • June 9, 2016 at 10:01 am
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    These Archant comments always a delight, actually more enjoyable than most of your publications.

    You can cut the commentary into three groups.

    1) The old timers – “Digital does not work”. Not the way you’re attempting chum, digital is working just fine for many. Try something new, you know, like different. I know it’s tough when you’ve been praised for 30yr for doing the same thing and it doesn’t work anymore. Hint – digital don’t work when you have the cast of Ben Hur to support. Modernise.
    2) The commercially unaware junior – “We need to invest in quality journalism”. Problem is nobody is buying it except the infirm and advertisers are quickly learning the prices they pay would get better return elsewhere. This is not the BBC matey, money in – money out = what’s left to pay your salary after the tops bonus and 1/4 million salary.
    3) The satisfied ex- worker – “I’ve been there, it’s a complete circus of sociopaths and has-beens”. Your probably right, you’re enjoying the show aren’t you!
    4) The rallying senior exec – “watch this space matey”. We watched and we were not at all surprised , it only took a few weeks and the threat of a bonus target miss for you to be assimilated – “one of us, one of us!”

    I’d love to spend a day there, sounds like blast.

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  • June 9, 2016 at 11:21 am
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    Why the newspaper industry is in the trouble it’s in:
    See the comments section on any HTFP restructure story and you’ll get a clue from the dinosaurs who have taken salaries and pensions out of their businesses without having the wit to wonder or act when their readers turned against them.
    It’s utterly pathetic and shameful and thick-witted. What great success story is it that you’re all so busy defending?

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  • June 9, 2016 at 3:18 pm
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    I remember at Local World when David Montgomery came up with a magazine style redesign that relied heavily on having good quality images, it was a good idea in principal, but it fell down very, very quickly when people realised that they had to source loads and loads of decent images every day and they couldn’t just fall back on stock pictures that they could pick in 5 minutes.

    What is happening now seems to me to be that ‘curating’ the content is just very lazy, ‘lets stick Google Maps’ on every story, even when the story is five minutes down the road (I’ve seen my local do this)

    If the groups are serious about getting people to view and eventually pay for their digital content they should be investing in decent kit and photographers not offloading them – it is this kind of distinction that makes a difference between the spirited amateurs and the professionals.

    Once you start pumping out the same kind of content as joe public you may as well pack in because there is little differentiating you from anyone else.

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  • June 10, 2016 at 10:23 am
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    when I joined a weekly after years on a daily
    I was dismayed how little regard editors in the company had for good pictures.
    so nothing has changed really.
    Sports pix were reduced to postage stamp size after some poor
    sod had spent a cold wet afternoon trying to get a professional
    shot.
    Pictures….the great missed opportunity.

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  • June 10, 2016 at 11:00 am
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    As an ex Archant photographer I trained long an hard to be able to achieve my goals in my career. Like a former Archant employee above I remember the days when the photographer was revered by both the paper and the readers. If you turned up at an event it was considered to make that event relevant to it’s organisers. I can well remember the honeymoon days when we banned cheque presentations, grip and grins, blood donor marathons and wedding anniversaries and the papers looked great. A snapper returned from a job and his colleagues were keen to see what he had achieved – subs stripped pages out to replace bloody good pictures with even better ones. All that hard work has faded over the years and poor old over worked heavily stretched smaller snapper teams have seen a dumbing down of their work. The once ‘good jobs’ seem to have disappeared and I now notice and increasingly replaced by drive by shots of a shop exterior or building (how many readers need to be shown the exterior of their local Poundland to know where it is). This is part of the reason that the powers that be believe reporters, cleaners and ad reps can take good pictures. I am sure they can take a reasonable image on an Iphone but like the snapper above says, he would take it better and provide a more pleasing image. But in a way that is not where the problem lays, a poster above says a reporter can cover photographically those parochial jobs of little merit….WRONG …one of the best things about being a newspapers photographer was that he or she could make something out of nothing – an untrained individual such as a reporter will end up MAKING NOTHING OUT OF SOMETHING. Another poster here says that it will open up a market for PR’s to virtually guarantee coverage of their press releases and photos – that has been the case for a few years – and he’s right it will get even easier but eventually when nobody buys these dumbed down periodicals what will the point be – nobody will be reading them. Good luck to Archant (they’re going to need all the luck they can get) and good luck to the snappers who are soon to be out of work, a freelance career is a happy one, my concern is that there are so many of us already out here vying for the same work that there will be little or nothing left for any latecomers. With only the bones of a photographic staff left one wonders where the next cuts can come?

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  • June 10, 2016 at 4:05 pm
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    Er, Gigglefit, Norwich. I think if you read your own post very carefully, you will discover you have four groups, not three.

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  • June 10, 2016 at 9:27 pm
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    I have said it before better to be a snapper who can hack than a hack who can snap.

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  • June 10, 2016 at 9:35 pm
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    Journo England, what rubbish why can you not be good with both plenty of National Geographic photojournalists would disagree with you. Demarcation has had its day.

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  • June 10, 2016 at 9:49 pm
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    Perhaps you lot and disgruntled toggies should have done something else for a decade or so. You might all appreciate what you have.
    If a plane crashes in front of a reporter is he really meant to phone a snapper because of demarcation?
    The best camera you have is the one in your hand. F8 and be there is pretty handy too..

    .

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  • June 11, 2016 at 11:47 pm
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    I agree that, in theory, demarcation is a thing of the past. In principle, there’s no reason someone couldn’t be a great snapper and a great reporter. Granted, those skills don’t come overnight, but with the right training and a good few years’ experience a person could become proficient at both.

    Unfortunately, however, none of the major newspaper groups are willing to invest in the kind of staff headcount, long-term training or equipment (i.e. DSLRs with a versatile selection of quality lenses, plus ideally separate flash guns) that would make this kind of multi-skilled arrangement a success.

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  • June 12, 2016 at 12:10 am
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    Wonder how long it will be before Archant staff receive another ‘I am delighted to announce’ email, heralding yet another appointment of a middle manager….
    First it there was acting chief content officer, Bob Crawley. Then came the announcement Matt Kelly was appointed as chief content officer, but Bob Crawley would also be staying on. Then came another ‘I’ve appointed four more suits to help me’ announcement from Matt Kelly.
    Soon all that will be left is Matt Kelly, Jeff Henry, a load of old middle management suits and the never-made-redundant, can’t do no wrong, sales team.

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  • June 13, 2016 at 4:30 pm
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    Wow. What a bitter and twisted lot the majority of journos commenting on this story have become. What should companies do? Bring back hot metal? Throw out the smart phones and laptops and reinstall Imperial typewriters and hand out copious amounts of carbon paper? I have a great deal of sympathy for the people set to lose their jobs at Archant but we can’t keep living in the past. All that said, good editors and ad. managers plus capable staff at the sharp end are worth their weight in senior managers on cost-saving bonus schemes. The balance is wrong.

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  • June 14, 2016 at 12:21 pm
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    Photojournalist, do both! Take a pic on your phone AND ring a photographer! My pictures, as explained earlier, will be better than yours.

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