I like this quote from Alex Garcia, who is a photographer at the Chicago Tribune. He’s commenting on the dismissal of the Chicago Sun-Times’ entire photography staff and points out that text-oriented journalists can’t just take over by taking some shots with their smart phones. Doing so they would compromise the quality of their work.
…the best reporters use a different hemisphere of the brain to do their jobs than the best photographers. Visual and spatial thinking in three dimensions is very different than verbal and analytical thinking. Even if you don’t believe that bit of science, the reality is that visual reporting and written reporting will take you to different parts of a scene and hold you there longer. I have never been in a newsroom where you could do someone else’s job and also do yours well. Even when I shoot video and stills on an assignment, with the same camera, both tend to suffer. They require different ways of thinking, involving motion and sound.