WIUM Tristates Public Radio

A Tale of Two Photos

Nov 9, 2016

The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times each ran front page stories and photographs about the Chicago Cubs' first World Series championship in 108 years. The Series was tight and competitive, but it wasn't much of a contest between the photos used by the newspapers.

The Tribune’s photo is clearly superior, and online commentators were quick to point out the Tribune employs its own photographers while the Sun-Times fired its photojournalists three years ago.  The Sun-Times requires reporters to shoot their own photos, and the newspaper also uses photos from outside sources such as the Associated Press.

Shop Talk panelist Will Buss said the Sun-Times photo looks amateurish. He said it demonstrates what happens when you ask workers to do more with less.  And although the Sun-Times photo came from the AP rather than a staff reporter, he pointed out AP offered other, better photos for papers to use.  Buss said the Peoria Journal Star also ran an AP photo and it was a much stronger choice.

Panelist Rich Egger said someone at the Sun-Times made a bad call.  He said this was more than just another ballgame – it was a historic cultural event in the city’s history and people will save the championship edition of newspapers for decades to come.  The Tribune’s edition is the better keepsake.

Like Buss, panelist Jasmine Crighton said reporters are being asked to do too much while out in the field.  It’s also a problem in small market television – reporters are often required to shoot their own video while also conducting interviews and gathering information.   She said videographers play important roles in putting together TV stories.  They might spot something interesting while a reporter is doing interviews and are trained to come up with visually compelling footage.