After a New Brunswick chain of English-language daily newspapers laid off all its photojournalists, media observers are saying the newspapers just won’t be the same.

Six photojournalists at the Saint John Telegraph-Journal, the Fredericton Daily Gleaner, and the Moncton Times and Transcript — all part of the Irving-owned chain Brunswick News — were laid off on Monday.

Brunswick News says the move is necessary to keep the business competitive.

“Our reporters now have the technology to quickly and easily take pictures, allowing them to prove the essential elements to deliver quality content to our readers,” read a statement from the company.

Mark Tunney, a former editor of the Telegraph-Journal and a journalism professor at St. Thomas University, says the work of photojournalists is the main pillar of newspapers.

“There’s nothing like a front-page photo — like, a great front-page photo to draw readers in,” said Tunney.

“You can’t do it all with an iPhone.”

He notes all the laid-off photojournalists have contributed stellar photos to their newspapers.

The photograph of an armed Justin Bourque during the Moncton shooting, taken by Times and Transcript photographer Vikto Pivovarov, is the most notable recent example, Tunney said.

During the shootings, the RCMP relied on the image to find information on the suspect.

“I don’t know if you’re going to get great photos like that if you’re leaving it up to reporters with iPhones,” Tunney said.

Giles Crouch, an industry observer with Thistlewood Critical Digital Intelligence, says the decision is a sign of the times.

“It’s what we call, in the industry, ‘digital disruption,’ said Crouch.

“We’ve seen it with Uber disrupting the taxi industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry, so this is just digital cameras disrupting the news media — and it’s a business, it’s the bottom line,” he said.

Tunney, too, says the layoffs are part of an unfortunate trend in the news media, of having to ‘do more with less.’

“That’s what we have to do, in order to survive,” he said.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore