This is due to the confluence of several developments:
• improvement in camera technology - even a child today can point & click and get a good photo.
• advances in mobile phones - that allow photos taken to be sent remotely to a website or the newspaper's editors.
• coupled with drop in prices that made it accessible to almost everyone
A long time ago (say, from 1930s to 1970s), cameras and film were expensive equipment that required training to use.
Photographers learned about proper exposure, films, how to focus, apertures, shutter speed, ASA, darkroom film processing, enlargement to get prints, motor drives, spot metering, push & pull techniques in processing, dodge & burn, etc....
The people who knew how-to were called Photographers.
Once upon a time they were esteemed as Professionals.
Those who made a name for their style were even considered Artists.
Unfortunately in 2013, not anymore.
For newspapers, what counts is not the beauty and composition of the photo.
What counts is being on the spot at the right time when a big news event happens - and taking a photo.
The newspapers used to rush their staff photographers to the place where big events happened.
Nowadays, that is replaced by EVERYONE.
Because mobile phones with cameras are cheap, almost everyone on the street have it ready at all times.
Any person who happened to be there on the spot when a big news event unfolds, can take out their mobile phone and snap a photo.
Then send it instantly to a website.
Of course they can be paid a small sum for the photo by the newspaper.
That is very much less expenditure for the newspaper than employing a big group of staff photographers.
In future, digital cameras that have WIFI capabilities will become common.
For less time sensitive news articles, the OMO concept kicks in.
Staff reporters/journalists will be trained on how to use their mobile phone cameras.
The writers are expected to write the news story/article and DOUBLE UP as the photographer as well.
This will mean big savings in labour costs for the newspapers.
By early 2000's when computers and word processing software became common place, companies and offices no longer needed TYPISTS. They became obsolete.
The same will happen to newspaper staff photographers from 2013 onwards.