His view is simple: photojournalists can cling to their still cameras and remain “purists” – or they can embrace audio and video devices, adding them to what he calls their “storytelling toolboxes”. He’s pretty sure he knows which of the two strategies is going to be most successful in the coming years.
“Newspapers,” he states bluntly, “are awash in transition.” And the last few years have just been the start – the next four, he says, will see a cascade of change.
“The technology being deployed is slowly changing the definition of what photojournalism is. Newspaper photojournalists are becoming multifaceted visual journalists who can now use a variety of formats to tell a story.
“Our readership is dying off and screenagers are just not interested in buying the dead trees we’re selling. I think the last transition will be the messiest.
“If I could flash forward four years, I can visualize in my crystal ball a world where newspapers have transitioned most of their subscriber base to the touch screen tablet platform that has suddenly gone white-hot with advertisers. I predict these multimedia centric devices will need a steady stream of visual content. And guess what? Visual journalists, who honed their multimedia skills during newspapers darkest hours, will be there to gladly step up and help feed the daily digital beast.”
That last point is the clearest and most succinct vision of the future of newspapers I’ve seen for some time. And, I suspect, it will turn out to be one of the most accurate predictions.