The photographer Will Steacy, descendant from five generations of journalists, spent four years recording the newsrooms of an independent American newspaper, The Philadelphia Inquirer. With DEADLINE, to be seen from 30 November, 2013, through 2 February, 2014, Noorderlicht Photogallery shows the newspaper's dramatic struggle to survive in the digital era.
In July, 2012 – after a period of repeated bankruptcies, plummeting sales, business takeovers and waves of staff firings – The Philadelphia Inquirer left the ‘Tower of Truth’, the historic building in which this American newspaper had been located since 1925. Founded in 1829 and winner of no less than nineteen Pulitzer Prizes, the paper had long been a cornerstone of American society, calling the nation's institutions, their directors, politicians and corporations to responsibility, and in that process articulating the values, laws and ethics on which democracy in the United States is based.
Between 2009 and 2012 Will Steacy (VS, b. 1980) was given unlimited access to the paper's newsrooms during a period in which the printed word was rapidly making way for the digital age. By showing the changes at the The Philadelphia Inquirer in the exhibition DEADLINE, Steacy sketches a portrait of the American newspaper industry on the battlefield of the digital era. Within the larger context of the present economic crisis, Steacy reveals the challenges and problems to which the newspaper industry everywhere must face up today. He is particularly interested in the influence the drastic shifts in technology and the dissemination of information via the internet is having on the newspaper industry, and American society as a whole. And the downward spiral that he witnessed takes on a strong personal significance with the dismissal of his father in 2011, after 29 years as an editor of The Inquirer.
'As we lose reporters, editors, newsbeats and sections of papers, we lose a connection to our cities and our society, and, in the end, we lose ourselves.'