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Photographers Grosch, Freidah, Perez among ProJo layoffs

November 8, 2012

Three of the Providence Journal’s best photographers — Connie Grosch, John Freidah and Ruben W. Perez — are among the layoffs at the ProJo, RIPR has learned.

The newspaper says 23 people have lost their jobs.

Grosch is well known for her coverage of the Statehouse. She’s been a mainstay of the Smith Hill media for many years, offering insight into the human quality of politics through her photography.

Freidah was part of the team that won the ProJo an Edward R. Murrow Award for a documentary about four men who fought in Iraq. He has won other photojournalism awards and his work has also appeared in National Geographic, Time and Newsweek.

Providence Newspaper Guild president John Hill says the layoffs also include seven advertising positions, mostly in inside sales; three editorial assistants; 2 photo editors; one library staffer; and some sports staffers. The ProJo has reopened a buyout offer, he says;  if any workers in the affected job categories decide to take the buyout, that would reduce the number of layouts in that position.

While he retains hope that an improving economy could stablize the paper, Hill says Journal management has offered no guarantee against further cuts in future years.

Meanwhile, with the layoffs, it’s worth recalling this March report from Ted Nesi:

Top executives at The Providence Journal’s parent company, A.H. Belo, are getting big pay raises despite a 45% decline in the publisher’s stock price during 2011, the fourth straight year it lost money.

This post has been updated and expanded.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Dan permalink
    November 8, 2012 7:47 pm

    With small HD cameras (still and video) the photographer is quickly becoming expendable. The local TV stations have been sending out reporters with handheld cameras for a couple of years. The rise of the smartphone and apps allowing viewers to send in pictures and video makes it even easier to go without. It only makes sense that Projo would do the same since beat reporters have phones with cameras,. You won’t win any Pulitzer’s for photo journalism but that doesn’t sell newspapers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a projo app in the near future.

    • Blanco permalink
      November 8, 2012 9:10 pm

      Uh, Dan, you might want to let the Pulitzers know you can’t win a prize for photo journalism.

      Also, journalists with camera phones take lousy pictures. And don’t have a free hand to take notes.

    • Pablo permalink
      November 8, 2012 10:15 pm

      and Dan. These photographers have provided some of the most compelling pictures the paper has ever published. To tell a story with a single image is an art and yes they do win Pulitzers as a result. I for one am saddened by this.

  2. george kochaniec permalink
    November 9, 2012 3:28 am

    Very sad indeed.

  3. Bob permalink
    November 9, 2012 3:09 pm

    I think you missed the point Dan was trying to make.. reporters with iphone cameras will not win Pulitzer s, not photojournalist with $4500 Canon bodies and $1800 glass.. The demise of the newspaper began the day the internet was introduced.. and more layoffs going forward is obviously inevitable until the newspaper transitions away from a very expensive ground distribution model to the internet..

  4. Kristen permalink
    November 9, 2012 4:15 pm

    Why do people think good print photography is expendable? You can’t simply rely on reporters to take all of their own photos, no matter how accessible the digital age has made photography. Writing and photography are different skill sets. Yes, sometimes they overlap; I have had reporters who were skilled at photography and some who were terrible at it. Think again if you believe that good photos don’t help sell newspapers; readers are attracted to the images and overall design far before they get into the headlines. But many publishers seem to think any monkey with a camera can take marginally publishable photos, and that’s good enough for them. This is a great loss to the Journal and its readers.

  5. Newporter permalink
    November 9, 2012 9:54 pm

    Another blow to the journal. Very sad, indeed. I have wondered for quite some time why the powers that be on Fountain Street, located in the heart of one of the nation’s most creative cities, have failed to strike up a partnership with RISD and Brown to enhance the quality and design of the Journal. This paper could be leading the nation from a design standpoint, yet, they somehow seem to prefer a clunky aesthetic which is utterly wasteful to good photography and graphic design.


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