Podcast: A Deadline for Newspaper Photojournalism


It’s no news that the print newspaper business is going through tough times and that newsroom staffs, particularly photographers, often bear the brunt of cost-saving moves. Day rates have stagnated, staff jobs are scarce and, in some cases, entire photography departments have been laid off as video, citizen-provided material, even security footage, is often preferred over news photographs on many digital news platforms. Many factors are involved, but the trend has been clear for some time and, hitting close to home, in July 2018, The New York Daily News eliminated all its staff photography positions.

On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome Todd Maisel, a renowned New York City photographer and one of the veteran staff photographers at the Daily News to have lost his job in the most recent round of layoffs. Maisel brings a lot of flavor to our discussion, and his years of experience as a freelancer, a staff photographer, a videographer, and a publisher make him the perfect guest to opine on the current and future state of newspaper photojournalism. Among other questions, we ask him if the days of the “chaser,” the local photographer covering spot news, are over. We also discuss the differences between the type of photos that a newspaper wants now, compared to years earlier, and where they are sourced.

Andrew Seng has a different perspective. Still in his twenties, he left a staff photographer job at the Sacramento Bee and moved to New York to work as an independent photographer in the journalism, editorial, and commercial photography fields. Seng discusses the reasons he gave up his “plum gig” to make a new path for himself, how he has found work, and how being independent enables him to work on personal projects. We consider the many new opportunities available on the digital platforms that news organizations now offer, the range of potential clients that want quality visuals for their editorial content, and the need to think like an entrepreneur, not just an employee. Join us for this very topical discussion.

Guests: Todd Maisel and Andrew Seng

Firefighters rescued a small boy from a raging fire in Red Hook, Brooklyn, June 1993. © Todd Maisel
Flooding in Brooklyn caused numerous problems. Police yell at a four-wheeler who created a huge wake where ESU officers were assisting a stranded motorist during the flood. © Todd Maisel
A 24-year-old woman dangled 100 feet above the ground from a concrete silo on 106th Avenue in Jamaica, Queens. She was grabbed by ESU officers as she was ready to jump. © Todd Maisel
Fifth Avenue after a water main broke, flooding and destroying the street and causing a gas fire. January 1998. © Todd Maisel
A 3-alarm fire engulfed three floors of the four-story residential building in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Several injuries were reported during the battle that brought 165 firefighters. © Todd Maisel
Sacramento amateur boxer Angel Rios, 2016 © Andrew Seng
Butte wildfire, 2015 © Andrew Seng
© Andrew Seng
© Andrew Seng
Arturo Sanchez, who recently moved to Sacramento from Long Beach, works for the City Manager's Office focusing on transparency in police and fire departments, pictured at City Hall, 2017 © Andrew Seng
Todd Maisel © John Harris
Andrew Seng © John Harris
Todd Maisel, Allan Weitz, and Andrew Seng © John Harris



Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: John Harris
Producer: Jason Tables
Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves