Of all the reasons to flee a startup, death rarely ranks—but photo editor Corey Pein ditched Demotix after its acquisition by Corbis. "I thought their plans were dangerous," he explains. The Gates-owned copyright vault is under the gun again.

Above several other grievances with his company's new owners, Pein worried that its editorial pressure—snagging photos of dangerous situations in dangerous places—was reckless:

I asked who, under the new structure, would be there to dissuade inexperienced freelancers from pursuing dangerous assignments they aren’t prepared for—to put safety over sales?

This, I noted, is not a hypothetical problem. News organizations will still pay for the bang-bang, they just don’t pay enough anymore to cover the true cost of obtaining hard-to-get pictures. As a predictable result the trend in war correspondence is toward young freelancers hoping to
make their name (and anonymous local stringers). Many don’t realize quite how cheap their lives are to the industry or that, in today’s conflicts, a press card is a big red target as much as it is a badge of protection.

I also wanted to know who, going forward, would express condolences if
and when a contributor is killed while taking pictures? Would anyone
from Corbis call the family?

I never got a response. The silence from Corbis management put to rest any second thoughts I might’ve had about leaving a job I enjoyed.