We now live in a world where people choose to get their news from their iPhones, Blackberrys and online, the newspapers taking big financial losses. Newspaper subscriptions and advertising revenues are way down and some newspaper are even closing up shop altogether. For those newspaper that are still operational upper level management are cutting back staff at a remarkable rate. Many professional photojournalists, optoki editors and reporters are being laid off or forced to do twice the amount of work they were originally hired to do. However the demand for quality news photos and videos remains high. With reduced amount of staff photographers newspapers must still provide photos for their newspaper daily, but it isn’t always that easy.
As newspapers continue to struggle to provide the best news coverage with their reduced staff they often turn to freelance photographers also known as Stringers to fill the pages with breaking news photos as well as video clips for their website. These newspaper Stringers earn anywhere from $75-200 per photo and sometimes even more for video content that is used on a national television show.
Breaking into the news photo business isn’t as hard as it may sound and you can actually get started today if you have the proper equipment and motivation.
What are some of the things you will need to get started?
- Digital SLR camera
- Police Scanner
- Laptop with wireless access
- Reliable vehicle
- Long zoom lens 70-200mm is fine
As a Stringer you will be spending a majority of your time monitoring your police scanner and listening for major car crashes, fires, shootings, SWAT stand offs and even severe weather such as brush fires and tornadoes happening in your town.
The objective is to get to the scene and make dramatic photos of the scene before newspaper or television photographers get there. The best time to hunt for news is late at night from 12am-4am as this is when most of the news staff is off, meaning no competition for you. It is possible to get exclusive content during the day but is usually more difficult because of the increased competition and traffic.
A reliable stringer with proven results can also accept photo assignments from newspapers, magazines and TV stations around the world adding to the money you make nightly chasing spot news.