Photojournalism is an imperative in the news world. Unlike paper newspapers (although who doesn’t love a good newspaper over breakfast), good photojournalism is the difference between a decent newspaper and one that has fallen victim to the idea of the new age. Certainly there has been an increase in citizen journalism but one of the roles of a journalist, according to the book Blur by Kovach and Rosenstiel, is to be a role model for the citizen journalist. Photojournalism is no different. A good picture is not something taken on a whim; it is the result of hours upon hours of training and work.
Photojournalism is a necessity as we move into the age of technology. Photojournalists will be the ones to capture the robotic takeover and possible extraterrestrial invasion, if you believe in such things, because everyone else will be running for their lives. My teacher alleged that conflict photojournalists often have a sort of invincibility about them. They believe, in some deep part of their brain that they may not even be conscious of, that they will never die. In a way all photojournalists have a resilience that the public at large doesn’t have. They document the pain of a coffin coming home from a war far away, the joy of a new baby born to a royal family, the despair of a nation when a beloved president is assassinated. They capture much more than a picture, they capture emotion, raw and heart wrenching as it is.
When we remove photojournalists from the picture, we remove much more than quality; we remove role models for citizen journalists and depth from our pictures. The emotion of a moment can’t be caught on a phone, at least not all the time; it takes a professional trained in the art of photojournalism to consistently see that which will make a good story-telling photo. Photojournalists hold a key part of the news world in their hands, they see the world as unparalleled images of beauty and agony, and that is why their removal from journalism will signal the end of journalism as a whole.