In 2005 there were 13 full time employees on the photo staff of the daily newspaper in Columbia, SC. There were nine full time shooters who spent their days fanning out over the midlands documenting life in South Carolina. Since then I've observed with concern as a gradual mass exodus has taken place in the newspaper industry. The Pew Research Center reports that "photographers, along with visual journalists, represent the category of newsroom staffers hit hardest by rounds of job cuts." Many photojournalists have disappeared and as I type, there are only two full time shooters at the paper today and freelancers aren't seeing more assignments. The "Top Photos" section is dominated by political cartoons and sports. Local media in Columbia, SC is largely visually illiterate and citizen journalist content has little to no consideration of ethical practices or procedures of organization. Meanwhile, the fourth estate is under attack by the current administration in Washington.
As technology advanced at the turn of the century, the newspaper industry chose to embrace it to make things faster, rather than better. They now seem focused on competing in a never-ending battle against television news, instead of producing quality content.
I've been a photojournalist in the capital city since 1997, and now I am a contributor to The New York Times, Getty Images, The Associated Press, Time Magazine and more.
TheAngryWhale.com is my platform to work on visual stories of my direction and interest with a heavy emphasis on local narratives. It has existed in this format since 2012. It's the definition of independent media. If you've been a reader and like what I've been doing, feel free to throw some financial support this way. I foresee a very near future where The Angry Whale is my only platform for local photojournalism.
Camera gear, computers, travel can add up. And time away from pursuing commercial gigs is costly. You'll be helping to create the first draft of history.
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