The Chicago Sun-Times and its affiliated suburban newspapers have chopped their entire photography staff, Crain's Chicago Business reported Thursday.
The business newspaper, citing sources it said are familiar with the situation, said about 20 full-time and about 10 part-time photographers lost their jobs. The gap will be partially filled by reporters who will be asked to shoot photos and video, and with freelance photographers, Crain's said.
Sun-Times Media Holdings LLC had no direct comment about the number of jobs eliminated, but said it had to "restructure" its photography department.
"The Sun-Times business is changing rapidly and our audiences are consistently seeking more video content with their news," the company said in a statement. "We have made great progress in meeting this demand and are focused on bolstering our reporting capabilities with video and other multimedia elements. The Chicago Sun-Times continues to evolve with our digitally savvy customers, and as a result, we have had to restructure the way we manage multimedia, including photography, across the network."
The photographers got the bad news from managers during a morning meeting, Crain's reported.
The Chicago Newspaper Guild, which represents the photographers, said legal action was a possibility.
"We will be looking into all of our options, legal and non-legal," said Craig Rosenbaum, executive director of the union. "We think this is a terrible move for the paper and community."
Sun-Times Media, which includes about 40 suburban newspapers, has been owned by Wrapports LLC since December 2011.