First it was the Chicago Sun Times, now it is Sports Illustrated. This week SI fired their whole photography staff. The only thing I can equate this to is if the mid 90’s Bulls fired Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippin! The Sports Illustrated photographers were the gold standard of sports photographers. Now they are going to be dependent on freelance guys (not bad for the freelance guys) and they will save a bunch of money from not having to pay benefits any more.
Brad Smith, director of photography for Sports Illustrated, spoke about the move Friday:
“There was a decision made through the company to restructure various departments, including at Sports Illustrated,” Smith said. “Unfortunately economic circumstances are such that it has cut the six staff photographers.”
Photography has long been the lifeblood for Sports Illustrated, which boasts a number of iconic covers in its archives.
The magazine will maintain a photography department with editors and personnel like Smith still in place. Novak declined to comment about the magazine’s freelance budget.
Oh well, another era ends. Jim Kirk, publisher of the Sun Times, says that photographs are not important to the newspaper. Maybe the Illustrated part of Sports Illustrated doesn’t mean anything anymore either.