"Digital Imaging Skills and the Hiring and Training of Photojournalists"
By John Russial
and Wayne Wanta
School of Journalism and Communication
1275 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403
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Paper submitted to the AEJMC Visual Communication Division, 1997.
"Digital Imaging Skills and the Hiring and Training of Photojournalists"
This paper, based on a national survey of newspaper photo editors, details the
degree of technological change in newspaper photography. It looks at the
importance placed on digital imaging and photography competencies, and it
examines the implications for the training and hiring of journalists. It
concludes that the shift from chemical to digital processing has led to a
relative lack of concern among photo editors about the need for chemical
darkroom skills. Many journalism programs, however, continue to focus on those
skills. It finds that new technical skills, such as the use of digital cameras
and the web, are growing in importance. Skills that reflect convergence of photo
jobs with others within the newsroom, such as design and graphics, are growing
in importance. But photo editors say the key skill that reflects cross-media
convergence - video - is unimportant now and only slightly more important for
the near future.
"Digital Imaging Skills and the Hiring and Training of Photojournalists"
The technology of newspaper photography has changed dramatically in the last
decade - from predominantly chemical to predominantly digital processes. The
technology used in educating prospective newspaper photographers has changed
somewhat less dramatically - many journalism programs continue to focus on
chemical rather than digital processing. Is that discrepancy a cause for
concern? Are there implications for traditional as well as new media jobs in an
age of digital journalism and increasing media convergence?
This paper, which is based on a national survey of daily newspaper photo
editors, details the degree of technological change in newspaper photography. It
looks at the importance placed on digital imaging and photography competencies,
and it examines the implications for the training and hiring of journalists.
Digital imaging burst on the newsroom scene in the early '90s, but its roots in
the news production process are deeper. In the early 1980s, about the time
National Geographic was electronically realigning the pyramids for a cover,
newspaper pagination pioneers were starting to digitize photos for full-page
assembly and output. Electronic picture desks were used throughout the '80s
by the wire services, but they did not become common in daily newspapers until
1990. Early that year, the Associated Press announced that it would make a
digital darkroom system the standard receiver for Photostream, its new
high-speed digital photo transmission system. By early 1992, AP Leaf Picture
Desks had been installed at nearly all of the 1,000 AP photo clients.
In a parallel development, many papers began using relatively inexpensive
off-the-shelf hardware and software, such as Macintosh computers and Photoshop,
for processing of staff photos as well as the image files received on Leaf
desks. Many of those images were passed to pagination systems or to desktop
computers loaded with page-design software such as Quark Xpress. The shift to
all-digital handling of photos at many papers raised questions about storage and
indexing of image files, and by 1994, a growing list of vendors offered digital
archiving hardware and software.
On the shooting end, electronic cameras and "still video" cameras were
appearing at trade shows in the late '80s. Wire services and newspapers
experimented with digital cameras in the late '80s and early '90s, but cost and
quality considerations largely restricted their use to coverage of high-profile
news events, such as a presidential inauguration, a Super Bowl or an
Olympics. A digital camera designed for photojournalists, the AP/Kodak
NC2000, was introduced in 1994, but its five-figure price tag kept it out of
the hands of most news photographers. By early 1996, further development and
increasing acceptance of digital cameras prompted Editor & Publisher's
technology editor George Garneau to write that "digital photography is on its
How far digital photography - and other aspects of digital imaging - has
progressed along that way is an important question for journalism educators. A
related question is to what degree newspapers, through their hiring practices,
are setting the boundaries of the answer. Anecdotal reports suggest that the
technological shift in news photography is, if anything, as dramatic as other,
more documented, changes, but the academic literature is largely silent about
digital imaging, except for studies about ethical issues involved in
manipulation of photo content.
Passing comments in the trade press indicate that digital image processing is
widespread, and comments such as Garneau's suggest that the use of digital
cameras is increasing, but more systematic data are needed to provide a sense of
how quickly and with what implications for hiring and training.
Impact on journalism education
Every time a technological change makes its way into newsrooms, journalism
educators ask themselves several fundamental questions. The first is whether
they can keep up. Is it too costly? Is there enough space to house new labs?
Are faculty prepared to teach the new tools? For resource reasons, it is little
wonder that many schools continue to use chemical darkrooms in photojournalism
classes. The issue is whether that is enough.
The second question is whether journalism schools should keep up. Is it
necessary to adopt the new technology, or can the same concepts be presented
using the old technology? To what degree should the new technology be emphasized
in the curriculum? Who should take primary responsibility for technical
training, schools or newspapers?
Throughout the 1980s and early '90s, educators have asked these questions about
VDTs, desktop publishing, database services and computer assisted reporting.
The pattern seems to be that after a lag, many journalism programs find a way
to purchase the new tools and integrate them into their curricula. Today, most
of the discussion centers on multimedia, but at many schools, digital imaging is
unfinished business. A 1994 study by Birkhead reported some evidence that
photojournalism courses might be in danger of elimination because of
administrators' unwillingness or inability to finance digital technology. But a
study by Smith and Mendelson in 1996 found no strong trend toward reducing such
Opinion varies widely on the need for digital darkroom software in the academy,
not to mention digital cameras. Two posts from a recent thread on JOURNET, the
journalism education internet list, capture the range of opinion:
"I grew up with the `magic of the darkroom,' and my
students still seem to enjoy it. I'm convinced that learning
photography through traditional methods makes students more aware
of the entire process and will eventually make them better
photographers. But budgetary pressures may still force us to go
"Learn the new medium. Digital photography is easier,
faster, and in the long run better than chemical. If you can
afford it, junk the chemical process as fast as you can. I'll bet
the early photography classes taught you that you can't take a
proper picture until you have learned the art of mixing burnt
umber with linseed oil so that you know what color is all about."
Ken Irby, a photography associate at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies,
said it "most definitely" is important for journalism schools to teach digital
processing. "The world and, more importantly, the industry are changing
rapidly." he said. "The academy must introduce and teach new learning, or to
paraphrase Eric Hoffer, our students will find themselves beautifully equipped
to deal with a world that no longer exists." A technology such as the
digital camera might require additional training. Irby pointed out that shooting
with a digital camera is more akin to shooting color transparencies than it is
to shooting with the far-more-common, and more forgiving, color negatives.
Consequently, photographers who use digital cameras must pay greater attention
to correct exposure and lighting.
Whether an emphasis on technology training is good or bad as far as journalism
education is concerned is a fair question. It is difficult to ask the question
intelligently, though, without having first answered several others:
How widespread is the use of the technology in the industry
that most of these students plan to enter?
How important is it for photojournalists to be conversant
with digital technologies? Another way of asking the question is:
How vital do the people who hire photojournalists think the new
technical skills are?
Hiring standards and convergence
There are indications that technological know-how is becoming a de facto hiring
criterion for many newsroom positions. A 1996 Dow Jones Newspaper Fund survey of
489 newspapers found that more than 85 percent said computer skills were either
very or somewhat important in assessment of job applicants for reporting,
editing and design positions. The study found that internships, work for a
campus publication, a degree in journalism or mass communications, and, to a
lesser degree, good grades also were important. Another recent study
reported that although managing editors rated pagination experience relatively
unimportant when asked what skills future journalists need, job advertisements
provided a different picture -- they placed considerable emphasis on pagination
know-how. The head of a newsroom training firm said recently that writing,
editing and design skills should be taught first but that computer page design
technology "has become a tool of the trade and should be better taught by our
colleges and universities."
Since the advent of computers in newsrooms, it has become increasingly
difficult to disentangle the tools used by members of the journalism profession
from the nature of the work that they do. A copyeditor, for example, is defined
by a traditional set of competencies, such as word editing, headline-writing and
page-layout skills, and, increasingly, by whether he or she knows how to use
Quark Xpress. As trade journal ads clearly indicate, graphics professionals
are closely associated with the software and systems that make newspaper
graphics practical in a digital age. The kinship between photography and
technology has long been the closest among newsroom specialties. Indeed, as far
back as the 1930s, newspaper photographers struggled to convince their newsroom
colleagues that they were professionals rather than mere technicians; some
suggest that the struggle to convince reporters and editors that "picture
people" are journalists too is not over yet.
Digital technology may be forcing the issue. Some photographers and
photojournalism teachers say that because digital imaging enables photographers
to get out of the darkroom and into the newsroom, it will create opportunities
for photo staff members to take their rightful place alongside reporters and
editors. The flip side of that argument is that the new technical demands of
computer-based image-processing may make photographers appear to be even more
specialized and even more out of touch. Another issue on the horizon is one
of control. Because digital imaging can be done in the newsroom, some
photographers and photo editors have expressed concerns that photojournalism may
be increasingly shaped by people who have little photo training. This
question has been raised in the context of online journalism as well. Beckman
commented in 1995 that "the very technology that brought us digital darkrooms,
high-speed access to photo databases and desktop computer graphics and
pagination has now led us into a reality of poorly designed electronic
newspapers sparsely illustrated with low-resolution photographs."
In the intervening two years, hundreds of papers have developed online sites,
many of them offering staff photography. Are photojournalists typically involved
in preparing photography for the web, or has photography become part of the job
of separate online staffs?
It also is becoming more difficult to distinguish roles within news operations.
Digital imaging technology makes it possible, though possibly not practical, to
promote a convergence of jobs within the newsroom. Computer picture processing
has largely eliminated the need to have a separate physical location where photo
handling is performed. Many papers continue to shoot and develop film, but every
point in the process beyond developing can be done outside the physical environs
of the darkroom. Another step, the digital camera, eliminates the need for any
darkroom. In effect, digitization of text and photos has made it possible for
photographers to take on reporting and visual- presentation tasks typically done
by reporters, editors and designers and, at the same time, for editors to take
on roles traditionally held by photographers and even production camera
Some newspapers have institutionalized cross-training for staff members,
including photographers, who may do a stint as reporters, copyeditors or
designers, learning new tasks and new technologies. Moss argues that such
training will become increasingly important. At smaller papers, staff
members have always worn many hats; is digital imaging helping make that
approach more important at mid-size and large papers?
If digital imaging has led to intra-organizational convergence, one indication
is whether photo editors consider non-photo skills of growing importance in the
hiring of photographers. A parallel issue is raised in various forums about the
extent and rapidity of cross-media convergence and whether journalism schools
are prepared to train students for careers that may require skills that cut
across traditional media industries. Video skills are the best example.
Some programs have shifted to a model in which students learn both print and
visual reporting in expectation that media convergence will continue to dissolve
the distinction between print and electronic reporting as it has in some online
or multimedia news operations. More and more journalism programs are creating
electronic publishing courses that deliberately blur the distinction between
traditional industry practices. Friedland and Webb, for example, talk about a
course at the University of Wisconsin that requires students to learn a variety
of online skills, including how to take digital pictures and process them for
web use. Paul Lester of the University of California, Fullerton, sees
technological change and convergence as a challenge to be met as well as an
opportunity in journalism education:
"It will be standing room only in photojournalism classes when we teach our
students the fundamentals of visual communication - how to sense, select and
perceive a visual message--and how to work a camera, a computer and the
software, how to use database research methods, how to create informational
graphics, how to combine words with your stories, and how to make layouts and
designs for print and interactive media."
Few newspaper web sites now contain video clips, but many observers expect the
use of video to grow in the near future, as bandwidth improvements enable faster
transmission times. Several questions emerge: To what degree are newspaper
photojournalists involved in online still photography at their papers, and to
what degree do photo editors, many of whom work at papers with web sites, see
the need for photographers to be skilled in video?
Whatever form new media take, images will almost certainly play a major role.
The crystal ball used by photo editors in not necessarily clearer than others';
photo editors do, however, have the clearest image of newspapers' imaging needs
for the present and, because they deal with ongoing technological change (and
hiring), they have a valuable perspective on the near future.
This study examines the attitudes and issues photo editors face when dealing
with new technologies. It deals with five general areas:
1. What is the extent of digital imaging use at U.S.
dailies? Included in this section were questions dealing with the
preferred platform and software, the extent of digital camera
use, the percentage of papers that have web sites and use local
photos on those sites, and the role photo staff members play in
web photo work.
2. What skills are most important for photographers today?
Included in this section were questions asking editors to rate
the importance of traditional photo skills, processing skills,
digital imaging and digital camera skills. We also asked photo
editors about the importance of skills that reflect convergence
of jobs within the organization, such as design and graphics
skills and skills that reflect convergence with other media
forms, such as web skills and video camera skills.
3. What skills are likely to be important in five years?
Here, we asked editors to predict future skill needs. This
section allowed us to compare current skills with predicted
future needs to examine whether chemical darkroom skills will be
less important and whether digital skills would remain the same
or increase in importance.
4. Are there shifts in skills toward convergence? We assume
that skills dealing with the world wide web will increase in
importance. Articles in the trade press as well as in academic
journals have noted the blurring of lines between media and the
blurring of lines within the academy and the newsroom. Do photo
editors see a similar shift? Will video skills, for example, be
more important in the future?.
5. Finally, to what degree do photo editors consider
digital imaging skills as hiring criteria? How do those skills
rank in perceived importance among other job criteria? Is there a
difference based on newspaper size? It is possible, for example,
that digital imaging skills may be of greater importance at
entry-level papers than at larger papers. Smaller papers do not
have the resources to train extensively and thus may want new
employees to begin work with experience in the technology. If so,
this information would be of particular importance to journalism
Data come from a mail survey of photo editors at daily newspapers in the United
States. Newspapers and addresses were selected from the 1996 Editor and
Publisher International Yearbook through a systematic random sample. Only
newspapers with circulation of more than 7,500 were surveyed. Newspapers below
7,500 circulation use digital image processing, but they are less likely to have
a photo department as such and less likely to use certain digital technologies,
such as Leaf Desks. Because we wanted to examine attitudes and issues photo
editors faced because of new technologies and in the hiring of photographers, we
felt eliminating smaller papers was justified.
The initial mailing took place on Feb. 28, 1997. A second mailing, with a
follow-up letter and another copy of the questionnaire, was sent two weeks
later. Both mailings were addressed to each newspaper's photo editor, chief
photographer or photo department director as listed in Editor and Publisher
International Yearbook. If a newspaper's listing in the E&P Yearbook did not
list a supervisory position for photo, the mailing was addressed to "Photo
A total of 205 newspapers out of 362 responded, for a 56.6 percent response
rate, which is acceptable, according to Babbie.
The survey instrument asked a variety of questions dealing with the importance
of chemical and digital photographic skills, other newsroom skills such as
graphics and page design and new web-based and video skills. Photo editors were
asked to indicate whether they though each of 17 skill areas was important on a
scale ranging from "not at all important" (1) to "extremely important" (5). They
also were asked to indicate the importance of nine possible criteria for
entry-level hiring on a similar scale.
1. Digital imaging use
Digital imaging is almost ubiquitous at U.S. dailies over 7,500 circulation.
Only four papers out of 205 indicated no digital imaging use, 80 percent were
100 percent digital, and 95 percent used digital imaging for at least 90 percent
of their images. For most of the papers that still print negatives in a
darkroom, prints represent a small fraction of their output. Most papers that
use digital image processing scan negatives rather than transparencies, because
negatives, particularly color negatives, are more forgiving in exposure than
transparency film. Ninety-five percent said they primarily scanned negatives; 2
percent said they primarily scanned transparencies.
A great majority of papers use Photoshop software on a Macintosh platform for
digital imaging, as industry observers have been reporting anecdotally for
several years (Table 1). Ninety-five percent said they used Photoshop, and 87
percent said they used a Macintosh platform. Only 10 percent of photo editors
said their imaging was done on a Windows platform.) About 5 percent of photo
editors said they used other systems for image-processing, such as Scitex.
Digital camera use is surprisingly high at 27.3 percent of papers, though the
percentage of photos shot with those cameras remains relatively low. Among
papers that use digital cameras, the mean was 22.7 percent of staff photos shot
with digital cameras. Most shoot only a small fraction of their photos
electronically (60 percent of the 56 papers that reported digital camera use
said they shot 10 percent or fewer photos electronically. Three said they took
95 percent or more photos digitally.
One-hundred fourteen photo editors, or 55.6 percent, said their papers had
online editions. Entry-level papers, which we define as circulation less than
25,000, were significantly underrepresented (Table 2).
Of papers with online editions, 81.5% indicated that they use staff photos. Of
those, 62 percent said online photos were prepared by a separate online staff,
28 percent by the photo department and 7 percent by the news department. These
findings suggest that for the moment, web skills may be more important at one's
second or third job and that observers who have expressed concerns about
photographers' control of their online images may have a point.
2. What skills are important today?
Photo editors ranked traditional photography skills such as shooting and
providing accurate caption information highest among the 17 skills listed, and
another traditional skill, picture editing, is also high (Table 3). Two digital
processing skills (scanning and using Photoshop) are next in importance. The
picture is somewhat mixed on traditional chemical darkroom skills, with
developing film ranked very high and printing considerably lower. These rankings
reflect the reality of photo processing in dailies today, where negatives are
still used for the majority of pictures but prints are almost nonexistent.
Several other digital skills - using the Leaf Desk, using an electronic photo
archive and using a digital camera - are considered somewhat important today.
3. What skills are likely to be important in five years?
The picture changes somewhat for the near future. Photo editors again ranked
traditional skills of shooting and providing caption information highest and
picture editing quite high (Table 3). But they indicate that a wider
constellation of digital imaging skills will be very important. Those are
Photoshop use, scanning, using digital cameras and using digital archives.
Traditional processing skills drop far down in ranks, with film developing only
"somewhat important" in five years and printing very unimportant.
4. Do shifts, if any, reflect convergence, within the organization and between
Skills that reflect convergence of jobs within newsrooms, such as page design
and graphics, are considered of little importance today. In five years, photo
editors indicate, those skills will increase in importance. Web skills move up
from "slightly" to "somewhat" important in five years.
The results suggest that photo editors attach greater importance (though still
not much) to a convergence of skills within their organizations than between
media. The increasing importance placed on web skills may be more a reflection
of photo editors' desire to gain more control over how images are used in online
editions than it is an indication of cross-media convergence.
Both today and in five years, video skills were ranked lowest of the 17 listed
skills. The difference in means on this item is statistically significant, but
even at five years, the mean score fails to rise to the level of "slightly
important." Moreover, there is no significant difference between entry-level and
larger papers on this question for either the present or five years from now.
And there is no difference between papers that now have web sites and those that
It may be that photo editors as a group are dubious about the likelihood of a
near-term solution to the bandwidth problems that inhibit the delivery of video
on the web. It also may be the case that photo editors at U.S. dailies do not
believe that media convergence is occurring as quickly as some observers within
both the industry and academia suggest. For journalism educators, a prudent
course might be to keep one eye on the light at the end of the tunnel and the
other on the track immediately ahead.
5. Hiring criteria:
The results indicate that digital-image-processing skills currently are an
important criterion for hiring at the entry (Table 4). Digital darkroom skills
ranked second only to having a good portfolio, which photo editors consider of
great importance. The mean for a good portfolio was 4.56 - midway between "very"
and "extremely" important, and the mean of 4.00 for digital darkroom skills was
- "very" important. The ranking of criteria is generally consistent with the
findings of the 1996 Dow Jones Newspaper Fund survey of hiring criteria for
reporters, editors and designers.
Breaking the sample into three circulation groups (less than 25,000,
25,000-75,000 and greater than 75,000) shows a high level of consistency in
assessment of the importance of entry-level criteria. Only two significant
differences emerged: Larger papers were more likely to rate a photo internship
very important, and smaller papers were more likely to rate chemical darkroom
skills important. Breaking down current skills by entry-level vs. larger papers
(Table 5) shows several significant differences, but the overall picture is that
larger and smaller papers are quite similar the skills they value in
Another question offers additional evidence of the importance of digital
imaging skills. About 2 out of 5 photo editors say they are either somewhat or
very unlikely to hire a photographer with no digital imaging experience. Here,
too, there was no significant difference emerged between photo editors at the
entry level and those at larger papers (Tables 5 and 6). There are no
industry-standard definitions of "entry-level paper" by circulation, but the
lack of relationship holds when papers are grouped in other ways, such as two
groups (less than 25,000 and greater than 25,000) and two somewhat different
groups (less than 50,000 and more than 50,000.
The shift from chemical to digital processing has led to a relative lack of
concern among photo editors about the need for chemical skills, in particular,
printing. Very few of the photos used in newspapers today were ever printed in a
darkroom. Many journalism programs, however, continue to focus on those skills,
for reasons of cost and, perhaps, as LeFleur and Davenport found with database
Certain new skills are growing in importance, such as the use of digital
cameras, use of the web and preparation of photos for the web. Skills that
reflect convergence between photo jobs and other newsroom jobs, such as design
and graphics arts, appear to be growing in importance. The key skill that
reflects cross-media convergence - video - increases in importance, but not to
the level of the others.
An analysis of skills photo editors consider important now is vital in
curricular planning. A glimpse at what skills might be important in five years
also will be useful to journalism educators, who need to prepare students for
the near future as well as the present.
How soon do journalism programs need to think about moving from chemical to
digital training? Based on this survey, the message from photo editors is that
the digital revolution has already occurred, particularly in image-processing
and that it is well under way in image capture. By implication, their message to
journalism educators seems clear as well: It's time to join the revolution.
 . See, for example, "Newspapers Explain Different Approaches to Pagination,"
presstime, 1983, 13; Rosalind C. Truitt, "Pagination, Slowly Finding a Newspaper
Niche," presstime, 16.
 . George Garneau, "Picture Desk Update," Editor & Publisher, Feb. 24, 1990,
 . Jim Rosenberg, "Wirephoto Update," Editor & Publisher, March 14, 1992, 3P,
 . Helene Cohen Smith, "Electronic Photo Archiving," Editor & Publisher,
March 5, 1994, 18P-19P,23P.
 . George Garneau, "Filmless News Photography," Editor & Publisher, June 27,
 . The Associated Press shot a photo of George Bush's inauguration with a
digital camera. Vin Alabiso, "Digital Era Dawns," Editor and Publisher, March 2,
1996, 8P, 18P.
 . Robert J. Salgado, "Kodak's DC3/B Digital Camera System," Editor &
Publisher, March 14, 1992, 6P-7P.
 . Jim Rosenberg, "AP, Kodak Unveil NC2000," Editor & Publisher, March 5,
1994, 13P,14P, 26P.
 . See, for example, Sheila Reaves, "What's Wrong with this Picture? Daily
Newspaper Photo Editors' Attitudes and Their Tolerance Toward Digital
Manipulation," Newspaper Research Journal, Fall 1992/Winter 1993, p. 131-155;
and Tom Wheeler and Tim Gleason, Photography or Photofiction: An Ethical
Protocol for the Digital Age, Visual Communication Quarterly, January 1995,
 . A 1994 article introducing a special issue of American Photographer on
the future of photojournalism said, "Today, in picture departments of major
newspapers, you're more likely to see photo editors gathered around Macintoshes
rather than poring over stacks of prints. Sean Callahan, "The Next Big Picture,"
American Photographer, May/June 1994, 57.
 . Rich Beckman, "Finding Technology Friends for Photojournalism Education,"
Visual Communications Quarterly, Winter 1997, p.3. A lab capable of digital
imaging requires a negative scanner, a good quality printer, fairly powerful
computers and fairly expensive software
 . The "Oregon Report" Chapter VI, "Coping with the New Technology,"
discussed this debate in detail in 1987. Planning for Curricular Change in
Journalism Education, University of Oregon School of Journalism, May 1987,
 . Michael O'Donnell, "Teaching Desktop Publication Design with Desktop
Technology," Journalism Educator, Winter 1995, 47-56. Margaret H. DeFleur and
Lucinda D. Davenport, "Innovation Lag: Computer-Assisted Classrooms Vs.
Newsrooms, Journalism Educator, Summer 1993, 26-35. The Oregon Report also
discusses these issues.
 . Douglas Birkhead, "Survey: J-History Courses Likely To Survive Journalism
Budget Cuts," AJHA Intelligencer, February, 1995. C. Zoe Smith and Andrew
Mendelson, "Visual Communication Education: Cause for Concern or Bright Future?"
Journalism Educator, Autumn 1996, 66-73.
 . Post to JOURNET, Dec. 5, 1996, by Rob Heller, School of Journalism,
University of Tennessee. Used with author's permission.
 . Post to JOURNET, Dec. 6, 1996, by George Frajkor, Carleton University
School of Journalism. Used with author's permission.
 . Interview with Ken Irby, Poynter Institute for Media Studies, March 28,
 . The Journalist's Road to Success, The Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Inc.,
1996-97, p. 14.
 . John Russial, "Beyond the Basics: "Mixed Messages about Pagination and
Other Skills," Newspaper Research Journal, Winter 1995, 60-70.
 . Robert McClain, "Journalism Education Should Include More Computer
Training," Newspapers & Technology, January 1994, p. 21.
 . John Russial, "Mixed Messages About Pagination and other New Skills,"
Newspaper Research Journal, Winter 1995, 60-70.
 . Barbie Zelizer, "Words Against Images: Positioning Newswork in the Age of
Photography," in Hanno Hardt and Bonnie Brennan, eds., News Workers,
(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota) 1995.
 . Mary Jo Moss, "Lost Among Pixels: Who's Minding the Store," News
Photographer, February 1994, 10-11.
 . Paul Lester of California State University/Fullerton says, for example,
that computers allow photographers to become a presence in the newsroom,
including in the reporting process. Lester, "Changes Ahead: Visual Reporting vs.
Photography," News Photographer, August 1995, p. 15. Also, Bryan Grigsby, "'96
Year of Gloom, Doom?" News Photographer, January 1996, 12-13. On the occasion of
the demolition of the old chemical darkroom, Darlene Pfister, photo department
head of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, said, "Now that we no longer need the dark
to produce photographs for the newspaper, there will be no need to separate
photographers from the rest of the Star tribune staff. We look forward to taking
our place beside the rest of you in the newsroom." "End of an Era Ceremony at
Star Tribune, Minneapolis," News Photographer, October 1995, p. 20.
 . Jim McNay, a photojournalism teacher at San Jose State University, said,
"Every time I meet with professional photographers, I notice how much the
discussion is about software and technology and how little is about content."
McNay, "The Importance of Content, Content, Content," Visual Communication
Quarterly, Fall 1995, p. 3.
 . See, for example, Karen E. Becker, "To Control Out Image:
Photojournalists and New Technology," Media, Culture and Society, 1991, 381-397.
 . Rich Beckman, "Is This the Right Road?" Visual Communication Quarterly,
Spring 1995, p. 8.
 . Mary Jo Moss, "Lost Among the Pixels: Who's Minding the Store," News
Photographer, February 1994, 10-11.
 . Lewis A. Friedland and Sheila Webb, "Incorporating Online Publishing into
the Curriculum," Journalism Educator, Autumn 1996, 54-65.
 . Lester, "Changes Ahead."
 . For example Christopher Harper led a recent journalism review piece with
an anecdote about Cornelia Grumman, a Chicago Tribune online reporter who
carries a pen, a notepad and audio and video equipment. Harper, "Doing It All.
American Journalism Review December 1996, 24-29. Smith and Mendelson, in a
Journalism Educator piece, quote James Gentry, dean of the Reynolds School of
Journalism at the University of Nevada-Reno as saying: "We have to be digitally
oriented, so that means we need to think of photo, moving video, CD-ROM, etc. as
they all interact and relate, not simply like we did with photojournalism in the
past." Smith and Mendelson, "Visual Communication Education: Cause for Concern
or Bright Future?"
 . Earl Babbie, Survey Research Methods, (New York: Wadsworth) 1973.
 . Eleven other papers indicated that their news staff did not use digital
cameras but that the advertising department did--for small images such as
pictures of houses in real estate ads.
. DeFleur and Davenport, "Innovation Lag: Computer-Assisted Classrooms Vs.
Table 1. Percentage of photo editors responding yes to technology-use questions.
Question Percent saying yes
Do you use digital cameras? 27.3
Do you use Leaf desks? 75.6
Do you use Photoshop? 95.1
Do you use Macintosh computers? 87.3
Do you use Windows ? 10.2
Do you use other software? 5.4
Is your newspaper online? 55.6
Do you have local photos on a web site? 47.3
Table 2. Newspaper and online edition by circulation size.
Small Medium Large Total
Papers Papers Papers
(<25,000) (25-75,000) (>75,000)
Yes 42 49 23 114
No 58 27 5 90
Total 100 76 28 204
Chi-square = 17.92, p = .000
Table 3. Mean scores and rankings for current and future skills for
Current Future T- Sign.
importance importance score
Shoot photographs 4.86 (#1) 4.83 (#1) 0.76 .447
Provide complete, 4.78 (#2) 4.77 (#2) 0.43 .671
accurate caption info
Edit photographs 3.90 (#6) 4.24 (#4) 7.00 .000
Develop film 3.96 (#5) 2.97 (#12) 12.55 .000
Print photographs 2.61 (#10) 1.97 (#16) 9.29 .000
Digital imaging skills
Scan negatives 4.28 (#3) 4.23 (#5) 0.66 .512
Use Photoshop 4.26 (#4) 4.54 (#3) 4.86 .000
Use Leaf desk 3.25 (#7) 3.15 (#11) 1.20 .232
Use a digital archive 2.97 (#8) 4.09 (#7) 14.06 .000
Use a digital camera 2.54 (#11) 4.23 (#5) 19.80 .000
Use the World 2.01 (#14) 3.29 (#8) 16.24 .000
Prepare Web photos 1.82 (#16) 3.27 (#10) 17.38 .000
Report 2.91 (#9) 3.29 (#8) 7.48 .000
Use layout software 2.19 (#12) 2.94 (#13) 11.19 .000
Design pages 2.12 (#13) 2.61 (#14) 8.66 .000
Use graphics software 1.85 (#15) 2.58 (#15) 10.85 .000
Use a video camera 1.24 (#17) 1.92 (#17) 9.38 .000
Table 4. Mean scores, rankings and ANOVA results for criteria for entry-level
photo job applicants at small, medium and large newspapers.
Criteria All Small Medium Large F- Sign.
papers papers papers papers score
(<25,000) (25-75,000) (>75,000)
Good 4.56 4.48 4.58 4.78 2.03 .134
portfolio (#1) (#1) (#1)
Digital 4.00 3.93 4.01 4.21 1.12 .327
darkroom skills (#2) (#2) (#2)
Photo 3.71 3.45 3.92 4.07 7.69 .001
internship (#3) (#3) (#3)
Journalism 3.45 3.37 3.52 3.53 0.65 .519
major (#4) (#4) (#5)
Working for 3.39 3.38 3.32 3.61 0.92 .397
campus paper (#5) (#6) (#4)
Photo- 3.36 3.37 3.48 3.29 0.61 .482
journalism major (#6) (#5) (#7)
Good grades 3.18 3.03 3.32 3.36 2.74 .069
(#7) (#6) (#6)
Chemical 3.05 3.31 2.88 2.57 8.01 .000
darkroom (#8) (#8) (#8)
Fine arts 2.33 2.26 2.45 2.28 0.86 .425
major (#9) (#9) (#9)
Table 5. Mean scores and rankings for current skills at entry -level and larger
Papers Papers T- Sign.
< 25,000 >25,000 score
Shoot photographs 4.87 (#1) 4.84 (#1) 0.33 .739
Provide complete, 4.77 (#2) 4.79 (#2) 0.32 .747
accurate caption info
Edit photographs 3.99 (#6) 3.81 (#5) 1.36 .176
Develop film 4.18 (#5) 3.75 (#6) 2.84 .005
Print photographs 2.78 (#9) 2.45 (#11) 1.86 .064
Digital imaging skills
Scan negatives 4.29 (#3) 4.27 (#3) 0.20 .839
Use Photoshop 4.25 (#4) 4.27 (#3) 0.15 .877
Use Leaf desk 3.21 (#7) 3.29 (#7) 0.44 .661
Use a digital archive 2.72 (#10) 3.21 (#8) 2.89 .004
Use a digital camera 2.41 (#11t) 2.67 (#10) 1.52 .130
Use the World 1.97 (#15) 2.06 (#12) 0.70 .484
Prepare Web photos 1.80 (#16) 1.84 (#15) 0.30 .765
Report 2.89 (#8) 2.94 (#9) 0.30 .762
Use layout software 2.35 (#11 t) 2.02 (#13) 2.14 .034
Design pages 2.23 (#13) 2.00 (#14) 1.69 .093
Use graphics software 1.99 (#14) 1.73 (#16) 2.04 .042
Use a video camera 1.23 (#17) 1.25 (#17) 0.14 .888
Table 6. Would photo editors hire someone with no digital imaging experience?
Small Medium Large Total
Papers Papers Papers
Likely 64 44 19 127
Unlikely 37 32 9 78
Total 101 76 28 205
Chi-square = 1.03, p = .597