Weekend Humor: Chicago Sun-Times Gets Punked

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Weekend Humor isn’t meant to be taken seriously. So don’t–you cry baby!

It’s no secret that the photography world pulsed with both sadness and anger at the mass layoff at the Chicago Sun-Times late last month. The decision came as a result of a desire to focus more on video and the iPhone. Their hope was to replace a full-time staff with freelancers which would give the Sun-Times a greater reach and lower expenditures. Hope, like teenage love, is often unfulfilled, and in the case of the Sun-Times’ massive middle finger to photojournalists, it backfired severely. 

Despite the infighting on Instagram, photographers are coming to be a tight-knit bunch as they recognize that they are standing on shakier ground. With the mass layoff at the Chicago newspaper, they decided to return the favor in their now freelance capacity. News continued as usual at the Sun-Times offices, but now they had to rely on freelancers to supply their photos for their articles.

It was a tall order as their rash decision lacked subtlety, and freelancers weren’t exactly ready to be kind when their comrades had been kicked out to the curb. Editors at the Sun-Times cast out their net to Instagram and other places to get the necessary images for their print and online editions.

The images they received were tragically unusable. An article about a mayoral press conference in Chicago needed a shot of the mayor at the podium, but the freelancers sent in photos of themselves doing duck faces with the crowd, the podium, and the mayor in the background. It was selfie after selfie after selfie with each duck face getting progressively angrier. One shot was of a freelancer in a Daffy Duck costume standing in front of the podium.

The trend continued as each news story brought with it a bottomless pit of duck face selfies. The Sun-Times ran the stories without images, and watched in horror as their traffic fell to record lows. One comment on their Facebook page cried, “Where the photos?! When did the news have so many words?!” Posters calling for the return of John H. White and the rest of the staff were plastered all over the outside of the Sun-Times’ office.

A leaked memo from the heads of the Sun Times had one line, “I’ve made a huge mistake.

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