Will Shoot For Food

On Friday, one hundred people left The Baltimore Sun -- 60 from the newsroom alone.

One of them was yours truly, having returned early from my one-year leave to take a buyout. There was a hard staff reduction quota in effect, and given the way the blog has gone I thought it would be best if I counted toward it when they started lopping off heads...

Over the next few months I will be working hard to shape my second career as a photographer. I have shot as a staffer for newspapers for twenty years, which gives me a wonderful breadth of experience. But in many ways, I am dating again after having been married for two decades.

I know that many people who read this site are amateurs who are at least toying with the idea of going pro in one way or another. I also know that there are PJ readers who either are -- or will be -- facing hard cuts in the newsroom. In that sense, we now have much in common.

So I will be going through the growth process fishbowl-style, in the hopes that the shared experience might be helpful to those of you who are toying with the idea of going pro and wondering how to approach it.

Fortunately, the headline is, for me, somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I am not worried about whether or not I'll have a job. The website -- many thanks to all of you -- offers some breathing room on the financial side of things. But I have always been a photographer, and that is what I want to continue to be.

The question is, what now? Who I will be shooting for? What will I be shooting?

Who knows. I'll be curious to see where the combination of shooting and writing about it takes me.

Newspapers are facing hard times these days. Printing news on dead trees is tough row to hoe in 2008. From here, survival wll be determined by how fast -- and how well -- papers can migrate their readership to the web.

And as for the people who left The Sun this week, rest assured that that they did not go quietly into the night:

Best of luck to all of my friends and colleagues who are entering the next phase of their lives. Please write when you find work.



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