In another bow to the rapid rise in usage of the camera phone, CNN laid off more than 50 people from its news staff at the end of 2011, including nearly a dozen photojournalists, according to a report from Reuters.
CNN senior vice president Jack Womack wrote in a company memo that it was cheaper to rely on "user-generated content" for its photo coverage than to keep professional photographers on the payroll.
Citing an inside source, Reuters reported that at least 11 photojournalists were let go -- four in CNN's New York City office, five in Washington, D.C., one in Miami, and one in Los Angeles. Other journalists included in the CNN sacking were technicians and librarians.
Womack's memo explained how the rise of so-called "citizen journalists" led to CNN's decision. "We … spent a great deal of time analyzing how we utilize and deploy photojournalists across all of our locations in the U.S.," he wrote. "Consumer and prosumer technologies are simpler and more accessible. Small cameras are now high broadcast quality. More of this technology is in the hands of more people."
As the culmination of a three-year review of these processes, Womack said the cable news giant will transfer certain departments in the four affected newsrooms to its Atlanta headquarters, where operations can be run remotely.