Tuesday, May 20, 2008

for an industry that purports to have their hand on the pulse, newspapers sure are slow

A hot new innovation in news from the LA TImes today:

"Today, we are also creating a fully integrated department in editorial that will serve our site and our newspaper, combining our print photo, Web photo and video operations into one new department: Visual Journalism," said LA Times editor Russ Stanton in a memo to staff.

You read that right: at the LA TImes, people that use cameras are all going to work together. How many meetings were held to make this decision? How many back-and-forths? And how many compromises were made to finally make it happen? Probably more than you'd think.

But the real question is this: How was it that web photography and print photography became separate departments in the first place? Did someone seriously not imagine that their goals were the same? That somehow photography for the web was inherently different than photography for print--so different that a church/state wall needed to be erected? That's like keeping your right shoes in a different closet than your left shoes.

The scariest part of the whole story? This:

[This] very significant change at the Los Angeles Times will certainly be emulated at an increasing number of newspapers

Yep--keeping the camera-users separate is industry standard. And people wonder why newspapers are doing so badly.