Are freelance photographers for the Chicago Sun-Times being paid as low as $65 per photo?
posted Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 4:42 PM EDT
Less than a month ago, the Chicago Sun-Times sparked controversy when it laid off its entire photography staff and switched to using freelance photographers. Today Romenesko.com got its hands on a freelance-rates memo from Pioneer Press, which is the Sun-Times Media's chain of suburban newspapers, suggesting that freelance photographers could be paid as low as $65 per photo for some assignments.
While the memo is from Pioneer Press Newspapers photo editor Geoff Scheerer, not from the Sun-Times itself, it does imply that freelance photo pay is not exactly lucrative at the Chicago-based newspaper group.
You can read the full memo at Romenesko.com but here's the section that discusses photography rates for Pioneer Press freelancers. (Scheerer does say later in the memo that assignments from flagship Chicago Sun-Times might pay better than these rates.)
"These are effective for any assignments 6/24 and going forward.
News/feature assignment, still photos only : $65
News/feature assignment, still photos and video : $85 (only if video is asked for, not on spec)
Sports assignment, still photos only : $90
Sports assignment, still photos and video : $110 (only if video is asked for, not on spec)
Sports assignments, multi-team $???? (see below)"
The Chicago Sun-Times has been ridiculed for planning to train reporters on "iPhone photography basics," and, while there's no mention of that in Scheerer's memo, he does note that "cell phone video is fine" for some video assignments.