Readings: recent articles on business and photography and journalism

  • Banjo extraordinaire Danny Barnes (I don’t know his music) has a great essay on “How to Make a Living Playing Music,” and he might as well be writing about making a living taking pictures. He starts “if you are a very materialistic person, skip this article, i don’t think you are going to like what it says.” The article is partly philosophical–don’t gossip, avoid people who talk about gear, “all the trouble in the world is going to come for you in two ways. the things you say, and the things you agree to do. be very careful about these items.”–but mostly practical–“the main business strategy is to build your own audience,” “don’t be afraid to do other things to make money in the short term,” and “be totally square on your taxes. render unto caesar that which is caesar’s. if you try to fudge on this, it will come back to bite you every time. get receipts for everything, 1099 everyone no matter what, unless they are a corporation.”
    The whole thing’s a fascinating insight into what allows a successful musician to keep doing what he loves, and has many parallels to photographers working on a career.
  • Kenneth Jarecke’s “2009 – Year of Transition” has a great analysis of what 2009 meant to many freelancers. He explains why he turned down editorial work (a first for Jarecke), talks about new strategies for distribution, cogently analyzes the havoc caused by editorial layoffs and how it will affect the future, and the stupidity of photographers signing “work for hire” contracts for $1200 a day with big clients.
  • PDN talks with the Aftermath Project jurors to find out “What It Takes To Win An Aftermath Project Grant
  • Joerg Colberg’s excellent “We’re all Zapruders now (but that doesn’t make us journalists)” examines what it means when everyone has a camera and how that’s different from journalism. “I don’t ever recall hearing or seeing anyone describe Abraham Zapruder as a “citizen journalist”. He was seen as what we was: A chance bystander who happened to have a camera (and use it) the moment the American president was shot and killed.”

    The piece ends with strong argument for what society stands to lose by getting rid of professional journalists.

  • Magtastic Blogsplosion surveys many perspectives on upcoming tablet devices and what they may mean for magazines in “The revolution to come.”

    “The industry also wants to avoid the newspaper dilemma – publishers were so excited to give away their content for free in the early days of the web, that there was no thought to an industry business model – and the toothpaste is proving difficult to push back into the tube.”

    And check out Magtastic’s collection of groups using the newspaper format in innovative ways in “What Newspapers Did Next” and “What Newspapers Did Next (2).”

  • The New York Times covers big media companies’ likely plan to begin charging for online content in “Adding Fees and Fences on Media Sites.” Among the problems faced by the old guard, “It is the established media, with their legacy of high operating costs and outdated technology, that face this problem. Leaner, newer online competitors will continue to be free, avidly picking up the users lost by sites that begin to charge.”
  • PDNPulse talks with the Wall Street Journal photo department and examines how the newspaper’s attitude toward visual journalism has changed under Murdoch. PDN reports: “The good news for photography is that our editor, Robert Thomson, is a very visual person,” says Jack Van Antwerp, the paper’s photography director. And while you’re at it, check out the Wall Street Journal’s 2009 Year in Photos, which includes many friends.

One Response to “Readings: recent articles on business and photography and journalism”

  1. Radovan Janjušević

    In general there is a problem in media with free sources of content. Form my recent experience all it takes now is a good set of editors to reap, edit, manage and release the content into air. Having only editors is much cheaper than having entire crew on the ship. Altough in this scenario editors are having much more on their hands to juggle.
    Beside this I think that one of the problems with todays media is in masses of unemployed wonnabies striving and fighting for their piece of the office. One of their tools is free conent, wheater it is an article, footage or photos. Somebody is drivven with the survival on the mind, somebody with it’s egomaniacal vanity and ambition, and with other the case is just their need for fun… A whole limbo is upon us sucking in to many hopes of tallented people into the ambys of free content. Who’s to blame? Whom ever you choose you’ll loose! Because people will by whatever giggles their eye and ear if they hav a means to buy it.
    Some of us wants to live in free world. Being free asks something in return. Like respect to obligations one have to itself and to the socieaty he lives in. Why shold bussinesses have any kind of respect to the people if the only evident criteria is demand? On the profesional and consumer/user level.
    What capacity do we have and is it big enough to produce hihg end quality? But what is the high end quality and who can respect it? What does it mean a proffesional journalist, proffesional photographer? Woulld you respect something and wait who knows what ammount of time to understand it? I mean there is enough place for everybody here. The thing is that there isn’t always enough deamnd for everybody’s tallents all the time.

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