Freelance photographers at the New York Times are getting hit really where it hurts – their wallets. According to a New York Post article, photographers who work with the New York Times but are not on staff will be required to sign a freelance contract that borders on the ridiculous.
One disgusted photographer said that the new contract “demands that photographers relinquish their copyright, resale opportunities and entire take, without any added compensation.”
Quite frankly, the Gray Lady is shooting herself in the foot (no pun intended). Lower wages and total control of images (from copyright to resale) means the paper will likely drive good (or even great photographers) out of business and attract low-ballers (those who choose to sell their work rather than license their images for a rate far lower than the competition or the market really demands). Unless the paper is hiring photojournalists, any work submitted to the paper will now be of lesser quality and the veracity and credibility of the images published in the paper, in my opinion, will be suspect. When you have seasoned photographers who have some sense of ethics being effectively fired from their jobs only to be replaced by hacks, well, you know American journalism can expect more troubles ahead.