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US newspaper replaces photographers with iPhones

The Chicago Sun-Times has sacked all 28 of its photographers, instead opting to train its reporters to take pics with their iPhones.

Times are tough in the newspaper world, and one US rag is turning to tech to cut costs. The Chicago Sun-Times has sacked all 28 of its photographers, and will instead train all editorial employees (i.e. reporters) how to take pictures with their iPhones.

The changes were detailed in an internal memo from managing editor Craig Newman, which media columnist Robert Feder, a former employee of the paper, posted on his Facebook page.

Reporters will be trained in "iPhone photography basics", as well as "video and basic editing" and "transmission and social media". "In the coming days and weeks, we'll be working with all editorial employees to train and outfit you as much as possible to produce the content we need," Newman wrote.

The paper said in a statement that the move was part of a broader shift, helping it focus more on video and digital multimedia. "The Chicago Sun-Times continues to evolve with our digitally savvy customers, and as a result, we have had to restructure the way we manage multimedia, including photography, across the network," the paper said.

The Chicago Newspaper Guild isn't happy about the move, and is considering taking legal action against the paper.

Here in Blighty, the Guardian recently partnered with mobile network EE to launch its GuardianWitness app, encouraging us Average Joes to send in snaps and video we're taken with our phones to make the news. It also included guides to help you improve your snaps.

But then who even needs phones to take photos? Google Glass will launch at the end of this year, and will make walking CCTV cameras of us all. But Google has said it won't approve any facial recognition apps until it has "strong privacy protections" in place.

Are iPhones a decent alternative to professional photographers? Can you compare the results from a mobile with that from a DSLR? When we've all got video cameras strapped to our faces, will we even need reporters any more? (I think so, but then I would say that.) Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

Image credit: Nation of Blue 

Correction: The original version of this article wrongly stated Robert Feder is currently a reporter at the paper. The article has been updated to reflect that this is not the case.