If It Feels Like We’re Targeted …

… that’s because we are being targeted for cuts in the newsroom at a much higher rate than our colleagues, according to a Pew Research Center report.

How bad is it?

Data from the last three years alone further highlight this job insecurity. From 2010 through 2012, ASNE recorded an 18% reduction in full-time photographers, artists and videographers. That compares with a negligible job loss (0.2%) among copy and layout editors and online producers. And it is three times the rate at which reporters and writers lost their jobs (6%).

So, why are we being cut at a rate three times higher than reporters? There are lots of reasons, ranging from we’re expensive to we’re whiny.

But, for me, I think a really big reason is our lack of representation high up the proverbial food chain. How many visual journalists have risen above the level of assistant managing editor? I can think of … two. That’s it: two.

There are lots of workshops for photojournalists to learn to shoot better, to learn multimedia skills, to be inspired, to learn their business. But where are the seminars on how to be a manager? How to affect change in a newsroom? I’m not sure that exists right now.

Here at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, we do an annual summer workshop for college news editors. I’ve pitched the idea that we need a companion one, perhaps the Management Seminar for Visual Editors. No talks about photos or designing pages, but talks about motivating staff, developing budgets, negotiating with independent photographers.

Any interest in that?

(Thanks to Donald Winslow and Prof. Lee Becker, and others, for the link.)

Mark E. Johnson

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