Want to see a perfect example of photojournalism? Ironically, it’s CNN’s slideshow of Chicago Sun-Times departmental layoff

CNN Slideshow
CNN commissioned photographer Brian Powers to feature the real people behind the recent layoff of the Chicago Sun-Times photography department.

I clicked, although I’d already seen the story.

I’m so glad I follwed the link, because it became not only a different presentation of the layoff of the entire Chicago Sun-Times photo department, but CNN’s slideshow became an excellent example of multimedia storytelling.

Twenty-three stills and 23 captions provide the narrative.

The CNN explanation that accompanies the slideshow tells only why and how it came into existence.

Beautiful black and white photography along with one quote from each photographer accounts the event.  It’s not without reference to how email and Twitter play a part in the way contemporary employees learn news about thier jobs.

All were emailed to attend a meeting at which the change in their lives was shared, and one learned about his fate via Twitter.

From nine-months to 44 years and a Pulitizer Prize, each photojournalist is pictured, and one line reveals nuances about the layoff, a favorite photo, or a sentimental camera.

After I had leafed through the entire album and read every caption, I thought, “wow.”  As a journalist, I felt sad, proud, scared.  I felt an ambiguity that comes with not knowing the future.

Then, as teachers always do, I brainstormed how it could become a lesson: students in scholastic journalism could adapt a similar theme for graduating seniors, for sports teams and senior nights, for acitivities and clubs, for yearbooks.

This is a fine example of photojournalism — ironically — and multimedia storytelling.


Michelle Harmon

Michelle Harmon is in her 13th year of teaching and advising the school newspaper at Borah High School in Boise, Idaho. She is state director of Idaho JEA and President of the Idaho Student Journalism Association.

Michelle Harmon has 102 posts and counting. See all posts by Michelle Harmon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.