The front view of the USA Today/Gannett Building in McLean, Virginia, headquarters of the largest newspaper in the United States. Image and caption by Wikimedia member Patrickneil, used under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Sony and Gannett have released a joint press release announcing a new partnership that will see Sony become the imaging products provider for Gannett’s photojournalists and videographers. The news comes a year-and-a-half after The Associated Press announced a partnership with Sony as its exclusive provider of photo and video equipment.

Gannett, which owns more than 250 national and local media outlets in the United States, including USA Today, will see its visual journalists transition to Sony’s lineup of cameras, lenses, audio equipment and accessories. This consists of hundreds of professional multimedia journalists who cover over 10,000 events each year. In the joint press release Gannett says that its multimedia journalists together produce roughly two million edited images and thousands of original videos each year for its print and digital publications.

A promotional image highlighting Sony's sports-oriented a9 II mirrorless camera system.

Beyond providing camera equipment to Gannett employees, Sony will also provide ‘extensive product service offerings,’ as well as ‘direct, on-site support for photo and video journalists at many key industry events.’

DPReview spoke with Andrew Scott, Director of News Gathering, Video & Photo at USA Today, regarding the partnership.

‘We’ve been working on this [mirrorless transition] for several years now, exploring whether this was a possibility,’ said Scott. ‘As we continued to evaluate the major camera manufacturers, Sony started to stick out to us in terms of their speed of innovation […] and we were impressed with what they bring to the table.’

'As we continued to evaluate the major camera manufacturers, Sony started to stick out to us in terms of their speed of innovation' -

Andrew Scott, Director of News Gathering, Video & Photo at USA Today

As for what this transition will look like for the hundreds of photographers and videographers across Gannett’s newsrooms, Scott says the transition to Sony will be a multi-year process, due to a number of factors. First, Scott says many of Gannett’s newsrooms ‘still have an extensive inventory of current equipment that is still functional, so it’s going to be a process of working through that equipment as it’s depreciated out.’

Kyle Terada / USA TODAY Sports; Alpha 9 II, FE 70-200mm GM OSS, F2.8 GM, 162mm, 1/1600, f/2.8, ISO 5000; August 17, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski (1) makes a save against the Minnesota United during the first half at PayPal Park.

Scott says the goal is to get each photographer and videographer at Gannett ‘at minimum, two cameras and three zoom lenses as the company-supplied kit.’ For the photographers and videographers who need specialized equipment, such as specific equipment for documentary or sports photography, Scott says Gannett ‘can provide them additional lenses and accessories to fit the work they do.’

Grace Hollars / Indy Star; Alpha 9 II, FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS, f2.8, 151mm, 1/800, f/2.8, ISO 8000; Monrovia Bulldogs huddle on the field as the rain falls Friday, Oct. 29, 2021 at Speedway High School, in Indianapolis. The Speedway Sparkplugs defeated the Monrovia Bulldogs, 12-6 advancing to the Sectional Class 2A Finals.

When asked what, in particular, clenched the deal with Sony over other camera manufacturers, Scott said ‘[Sony has] been in the mirrorless game longer than most of their competitors and have embraced a design philosophy of smaller, lighter, better […] Their cameras are incredibly feature-packed and when we think about what we need from our journalists in the field, who are really digital visual journalists rather than your traditional photographer or videographer, they need their equipment to be equally adept at both shooting stills and taking videos.’ He added, ‘We’ve also been impressed with Sony’s development cycle and their reception to feedback; you’re seeing [Sony] iterate relatively quickly across models, with new equipment taking inspiration from feedback provided by professional users in the field.’

As for when Gannett photo and video journalists can expect to see equipment in their possession, Scott says Gannett is working as quickly as possible to make the transition. ‘Obviously, a lot of that is dependent on budget […] So, that’s part of my job—to advocate for resources so we can properly equip our our staff across the country.’

Press Release:

Sony Electronics Becomes Camera Provider for USA TODAY NETWORK Gannett to equip Journalists from USA TODAY and more than 250 additional outlets with Sony Imaging products

November X, 2021 – SAN DIEGO, CA - Sony Electronics Inc. a global imaging leader, and Gannett Co, Inc., operator of USA TODAY NETWORK spanning more than 250 national and local media outlets including USA TODAY, have today announced that Sony will become the imaging products provider for Gannett’s photographers and video journalists.

The award-winning news organization will provide its team access to a wide variety of Sony’s imaging products highlighted by the Sony Alpha 1 and FX series cameras and G Master™ line of interchangeable lenses. The rollout of Sony imaging kits for Gannett will begin immediately in select markets.

Gannett’s Pulitzer-Prize winning content touches the lives of more than 150 million people each day. Their photo and video journalism team features more than 500 professionals covering more than 10,000 events annually, producing nearly two million edited images and thousands of original videos each year.

“Storytelling through images has been a large part of our organization throughout national and local coverage, and through our sports content,” said Bruce Odle, President of Imagn, Gannett’s in-house photo agency and sports image wire service. “We are excited to bring Sony’s innovative equipment to our journalists to allow them to capture the moments and emotions in new ways to complement the compelling stories of the USA TODAY NETWORK.”

In addition to product delivery, Sony will be supporting Gannett with extensive product service offerings, while also providing direct, on-site support for photo and video journalists at many key industry events.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to collaborate with Gannett, one of the world’s largest news organizations with an unparalleled commitment to delivering multimedia news and creating digital content,” said Yang Cheng, Vice President of Imaging Products and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics. “Gannett’s USA TODAY NETWORK is an innovative and venerable news brand, preserving local journalism and reinventing national news. We are honored that they have chosen to equip their talented visual journalists with Sony imaging products, and are confident it will allow them to capture, communicate and share stories in ways they never have before.”