Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Channel 10 anchor Todd Tongen wants to see professional photographers lose their jobs

Todd Tongen
Last week, cable news giant CNN announced it was laying off 50 "photographers, editors and other staffers in Atlanta, New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles and Miami."

TV Newser reported that the lay-offs impacted "as many as 12 staffers in the Washington, DC bureau alone, four of whom are longtime photojournalists."

In a note to staffers, CNN Senior VP Jack Womack explained that "Technology investments in our newsrooms now allow more desk-top editing and publishing for broadcast and online. This evolution allows more people in more places to edit and publish than ever before. As a result of these technology and workflow changes, CNN is reducing the number of media editors in our work force in Atlanta."

Womack further explained that the network looked at the "impact of user-generated content and social media, CNN iReporters and of course our affiliate contributions in breaking news. Consumer and pro-sumer technologies are simpler and more accessible. Small cameras are now high broadcast quality. More of this technology is in the hands of more people. After completing this analysis, CNN determined that some photojournalists will be departing the company."

That last sentence says it all. Put another way, Womack is saying, "Because there are so many video cameras in the hands of amateurs [unpaid CNN iReporters], we are firing professional photojournalists who have spent years honing their craft. From now on, CNN will only air crap we steal from YouTube and poorly-lit, shaky amateur video. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out."

Womack also mentioned "affiliate contributions" in his note.

CNN affiliates in Miami include Channels 4, 7 and 10. In addition to using video shot by photojournalists at those stations, CNN can avail itself of any video sent to the stations by unpaid amateurs.

At Channel 10, viewers are constantly reminded to send their pictures and video to What does Channel 10 pay for pictures and video? Nada, zero, zip.

So, tonight I was a little surprised to see one of Channel 10's long-time reporter/anchors invite his Facebook friends to send video to the station that could conceivably put some of his colleagues out of work.

In a posting on his Facebook page, Channel 10 anchor Todd Tongen noted that famous photographer Annie Leibovitz sometimes recommends the iPhone when she's asked what kind of camera to buy.

Click image to enlarge.

And then, commenting on his own post, he reminded his Facebook friends, "if you take ANY good pictures or video ...  please send to"

"YOU ARE the journalist of the future," he crowed.

I'm sure the hard-working professional photojournalists at Channel 10 struggling to pay mortgages and put kids through school might beg to differ with him.

Stay classy Todd!


  1. "And, in other news today, buggy whip manufacturing futures fell again to a 50 year low . . ."

  2. ...which is why we give NOTHING up for free! a brilliant man taught me that!

  3. Would Todd Togen feel the same about send Us your Report from the field from amature journalist ...

  4. Hey Bill
    Thanks for reading my facebook posts but twisting my post to make it sound like I am in favor of photographers getting laid off is wrong and a cheap shot. Some fb friend you are. No one appreciates the expertise of a proffessional behind the camera more than me. Ask any photog I have worked with and they will tell you how much I value their talent. High quality digital cameras in the hands of citizen journalists are a reality that cannot be denied. My post was merely applauding a technology that will ASSIST professionals in getting more of the story. I never said anything about them replacing the pro's, you made that leap on your own. I have a mortgage and am trying to put kids through scholl while trying to hold down a jog in an ever changing buisness so I would appreciate it if you didn't put words in my mouth.

  5. I'm sure the photogs at WPLG loved your comments. Instead of the nice, professional stuff they shoot for you maybe they should start shaking the camrea, forget about white balancing and recording over modulated audio. You'd love that too. Better get your resume up to date because your replacement is about to graduate high school. Man, you burned some bridges....


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