Publisher's Letter by Dirck Halstead - The Digital Journalist
The Digital Journalist

The Digital Journalist

Letter from
the Publisher

Welcome to the May 2004 issue of The Digital Journalist, the monthly online magazine for visual journalism.

This month's issue marks a major step forward in The Digital Journalist's evolution as a broadband based publication on the web. When we first started publishing in September of 1997, we realized that words and pictures alone aren't enough if we are to establish ourselves as a multimedia showcase on the web. That first issue included streaming audio of our feature presentation on photographs of the presidency. At that time, we were one of the first, but it would be another year before we felt that video compression and the slow acceptance of broadband would make it possible to broadcast real streaming video of our interviews with the photographers whose work we were featuring. Since then, we have put up over a hundred hours of video. Today, many of our viewers have broadband capability, so with this issue we are increasing our video presentations, not only with streaming interviews, but also with movies produced especially for The Digital Journalist. Our good friends at Canon Video have stepped forward to sponsor a major new feature "The Platypus Theatre" which debuts this month. The purpose of this feature is to be able to showcase completed documentaries that graduates of the Platypus Workshop have produced. Our first feature is a 33-minute QuickTime video by David Leeson called "Dust To Dust." It is a film diary of his experience covering the war in Iraq last year, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize last month. In months ahead we will be featuring other filmmakers in this venue.

We want to welcome Nikon back as a major sponsor of The Digital Journalist cover feature. Nikon is just one of the sponsors who have expressed interest in sponsoring features and columns on the site. These sponsors make it possible for us to pay our staff, which is growing monthly. To date we have recorded over 37,000,000 Unique Visits to the site. But we still need support from our readers. Please make a pledge.

Our cover story this month features a true legend, David Douglas Duncan. In fact, at 88 he is the acknowledged Dean of American photojournalism. His career spans more than 7 decades, and includes World War II, The Birth of Israel, and the wars in Korea, and Vietnam. He has published countless books, ranging from the definitive body of work on Picasso, to books on the sunflowers of France, and his dog Yo-Yo. We interviewed him in his home in the south of France over Easter weekend, and he not only gives us the behind-the-scenes stories of his life and work, but also comments in his no-nonsense manner about the world today. We strongly recommend these interviews to you.

Jerome Delay, who has contributed features to us over the past two years, is back in Iraq for his second tour as an Associated Press photographer. He sums up what he has seen in this time, and has done a QuickTime movie of his powerful images.

Our DISPATCHES writers from Iraq this month agree: Photojournalism is difficult. It is difficult to safely travel to the decreasing number of feature assignments. Masked militiamen detained two of our contributors for hours. While many Western journalists were locked down in hotels, others hid cameras, passports, and their faces from nervous US soldiers and angry Iraqis, and went out on assignment. Some male photographers grew beards and many female photographers wore abayas. Some embedded with the military. Others photographed the conflict from the insurgents' position. More than one witnessed memorial ceremonies for American soldiers.

When they had a moment, they wrote their stories for The Digital Journalist. They've taken pains not to reveal names or locations that might jeopardize anyone they wrote about. Despite their physical and emotional exhaustion, our Dispatch writers connected on their satellite modems, got online at internet cafes in Baghdad or from facilities in the Green Zone, or took the time once safely home to send us their incredible stories. 

We visited the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in Las Vegas last month. The buzz was all about High Definition and tapeless camera systems.

We give you a tour of the new goodies in our special report "The Cameras of NAB."

Contributing Editor Alison Beck writes about the new multimedia web site that the Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin has created to honor the photojournalists who have contributed their archives in photojournalism.

Roger Richards, the publisher and editor of our sister site, The Digital Filmmaker has published his first e-book on his photographs from the Siege of Sarajevo. He talks about the implications of this form of publication.

THE ASSIGNMENT SHEET features two journals, this month. "STAND-UPS", by Mark Neuling, Photojournalist for TechTV airs the feelings that many TV Newspukes have concerning the ubiquitous standup routine. We include a little of what Mark has to say.

And from the newspaper side, Dick Kraus, retired Newsday Photographer and editor of Assignment Sheet, discusses Dinosaurs. In his journal, "DINOSAURS," Kraus talks about how he and other fossils who have eaten the leaves off the tops of the trees have given in to their herding instincts and formed a very unique group of their own making, complete with their own web site.

All of this, along with our regular columnists and breaking news in our current issue.

We hope you enjoy it.

The Digital Journalist is a reader-sponsored site. We depend on pledges to be able to continue to bring you this magazine. If you find that this has become a valuable resource for you, please send in a pledge through our I-bill secure payment link.

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher

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