Will Steacy, Deadline
For the past five years, I have photographed with unrestricted access the newsroom and printing plant of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Through a depiction of The Inquirer’s efforts to prevail despite depleted ad revenue, a steady decline in circulation, lay-offs, buy-outs, and bankruptcy, my intent is to reveal the challenges and harsh realities that face the newspaper industry today. A close examination of the newspaper industry and in-depth story explaining the events that landed newsrooms in their current predicaments has largely gone untold. Since 2000 the newspaper industry has shed 30 % of its workforce, making it the fastest shrinking industry in America. As we find ourselves amidst a massive societal transition into an information technology economy of the future in which technological advances have eroded middle skill, middle class jobs, boosted productivity while reducing the labour force, what has been the human cost of these gains? When we lose reporters, editors, newsbeats and sections of papers, we lose coverage, information, and a connection to our cities and our society, and, in the end, we lose ourselves. Without the human investment to provide news content it becomes a zero sum game on the information highway to nowhere. The newspaper is much more than a business, it is a civic trust.
Artist presented by Wim Melis for the Discovery Award of the Rencontres d’Arles.
Exhibition venue : Atelier de Chaudronnerie, Parc des Ateliers, Rencontres d’Arles 2014.