World Press Photo Foundation announces first annual survey on photojournalism

The World Press Photo Foundation and Oxford University’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism are pleased to announce the publication of the first annual report on the state of photojournalism as a global profession.

The State of News Photography: The Lives and Livelihoods of Photojournalists in the Digital Age investigates the characters, working conditions, practices, technology use, and ethics of photojournalists around the world. It is the outcome of a research project conducted by the University of Stirling, the University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, and the World Press Photo Foundation.

The report presents findings from an online survey of professional photographers who entered the 2015 World Press Photo Contest. This is the first international examination of the lives and livelihoods of photojournalists, and the 63-question survey was completed by 1,556 photographers from more than 100 countries.

World Press Photo Foundation Managing Director Lars Boering said of the report:
“The World Press Photo Foundation supports professional photographers and visual journalists in their work. Collaborating on research to inform the community is one of our important functions, and we are delighted to both share and learn from these important findings. This study gives us reliable data on many of the challenges the profession faces, and this will help all of us address those challenges.”

Dr Adrian Hadland, Director of Journalism at the University of Stirling, UK, and the report’s lead researcher, commented:
"Even though powerful images are at the heart of the digital revolution and the lifeblood of the news industry, photojournalists have all too often slipped between the cracks when it comes to research. As journalism scholars we knew things were changing fast for photojournalists as a result of rapid developments in technology, the restructuring of the news sector and the emergence of citizen journalists armed with smartphones. But until now, we had no way of knowing how all this was impacting on people who make their livelihood shooting pictures. Here, for the first time, is the story of how photojournalism is changing in the digital era based on data from photojournalists in more than 100 countries. Our findings are surprising, even shocking in some respects, but they are also encouraging. This is a profession in flux and facing enormous challenges, but enjoying the freedom and creativity that is increasingly possible. We look forward to working on this research over the next three years with the World Press Photo Foundation and tracking how things change over time."

Two of the 20 key findings are visualized below. You can find an executive summary of the rest of the findings on pages 6-8 in the report. Download The State of News Photography report here.

92% of photographers say they are exposed to risk at some point in their work.
66% of photographers are happy with their choice of livelihood.

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Posted September 23 2015

About The World Press Photo Foundation

We are a global platform connecting professionals and audiences through trustworthy visual journalism and storytelling. Founded in 1955 when a group of Dutch photographers organized a contest to share their work with an international audience, the competition has grown into the world’s most prestigious photography award and our mission has expanded. We encourage diverse accounts of the world that present stories with different perspectives. We exhibit those stories to a worldwide audience, educate the profession and the public on their making, and encourage debate on their meaning.

The World Press Photo Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization, based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. We receive support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery and are sponsored worldwide by Canon.