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

The Digital Journalist

Letter from
the Publisher

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

Since early this summer, the photographic world has lost five of its most important people. First, it was Helmut Newton, then Henri Cartier Bresson, then Carl Mydans, and last month, two of the greatest, Eddie Adams and Richard Avedon, passed away.

Our cover story this month is a tribute to Eddie Adams. Everyone knows that he took a photograph in 1968 that may well have been one of the most influential images of the 20th century. His iconic photograph of South Vietnamese Lt. General Loan shooting a Viet Cong prisoner on a Saigon street corner actually was instrumental in changing the mind of the American people about the progress of that war. It was an image Eddie hated, and even though it won a Pulitzer Prize, he fervently wished he had never taken it. But this was only one moment from a career that sets a mark for how a single photographer can influence not only history, but other photographers as well. Through his workshop, he has helped thousands of young photojournalists to move to the next step in their careers.

In our cover story, we celebrate his life not only with a gallery of his photographs, but with scores of remembrances by some of the most important journalists in the world. Pete Hamill, David Halberstam, Peter Arnett, and Horst Faas are just some of the writers who reminisce about the Eddie Adams they knew. They are joined by many renowned photographers and former Associated Press colleagues, including Tad Bartimus, PF Bentley, Hal Buell, Sandy Colton, Marcus Eliason, George Esper, Santiago Lyon, Wally McNamee, Richard Pyle, Cliff Schiappa, Dick Swanson, and Nick Ut. We think you will be surprised and moved by their tributes.

Our regular columnists, Bill Pierce and Ron Steinman, also write about the Eddie Adams they knew, as does our executive editor, Peter Howe.

Peter Howe also recalls the life of Richard Avedon, who is considered the most important photographer in the arts of the 20th century.

This is one issue we fervently wished we had never had to put out, but it is important that we celebrate the lives of these photographers who changed the way we see, and have left indelible marks on our history.

The British Press Photographers' Association fell out of the spotlight in the last two decades of the 20th century. The BPPA may have been formed in 1984, but it laid dormant between 1991 and 2003, when six photographers sitting in a Fleet Street bar decided to "get the band back together" to redress the poor image that news photography and news photographers enjoyed both inside and outside of the industry in the United Kingdom. Late last month the BPPA published a new book, and opened an exhibition this month in London, called "Five Thousand Days," covering the period during which photojournalism in the U.K entered a dark period. We are proud to present a portfolio of photographs from the BPPA group.

This month's ASSIGNMENT SHEET has three very readable and worthwhile journals that should be of interest to our readers.

Given the climate of today's corporate rights grabs and the difficulty that journalists have in trying to maintain their integrity and still earn a living wage, videographer Mark Neuling talks about his roots in TV, when he began hefting a heavy video camera to his shoulder. He shot local high school sports for a local cable outlet and then more of the same for a local broadcast station that stressed local sports. It was a great training ground and Mark enjoyed the work, even if the pay wasn't all that great. Then came some wonderful years at Tech-TV and better wages. That came to an end, recently, when they sold the company and laid off almost everybody. With all of the competition for the few available staff or free-lance jobs, camerapersons have had to scramble for work. Recently, Mark heard from the chief photographer at that local station from his past. He was invited to do some freelance work, now that he had some time on his hands. And, as an old, experienced shooter, he would make the princely sum of $12 an hour. Mark writes in his journal entitled, "WITHOUT PICTURES...IT'S ONLY RADIO," " I admit that I miss shooting sports, particularly football. But I couldnít get every Friday off anyway with my current work schedule. Besides I donít really need all the headaches that come with the job, especially the twelve dollar an hour kind. Iím in a position where I can say no to some work. At least I can for this year; as for next football season, well you never know."

Freelance Photographer Sean Cayton has experienced the euphoria of being able to make pictures just because he wants to. Not because some editor assigns him and tells him what kind of picture the paper is looking for. Sometimes it takes years of toiling in the restrictive atmosphere of news work before we experience the epiphany that allows us to photograph water scenes during a vacation just because they are nice pictures. And laughing children and unposed family shots. Sean describes his epiphany and shows us some pictures in his journal, "REFLECTIONS ON A FAMILY VACATION-CREATING THE SPACE TO CREATE."

Retired Newsday (Long Island, N.Y.) Staff Photographer Dick Kraus continues his description of the best assignment of his long career with Chapter Five of "D-DAY REVISITED." The sixth and final chapter will appear next month. Dick reminds us that if you missed any of the earlier chapters, you can click on their icons on the Assignment Sheet Contents Page. However, after reading any of the archived chapters, use your RETURN button to get back to the current month's Contents Page.

E-Bits editor Beverly Spicer offers amusing food for political thought in honor of this election season. She writes, "With only a few more days until the elections, most of us are sitting on the edge of our seats trying to determine which way our collective fate will be cast for the next fours years. This is the most heated and intense political season in memory, and along with it has come great opportunity for humor and commentary. While mudslinging rips us to shreds, humor puts us back together again, reminding us that in spite of it all, there is much to laugh about." Links to fake news and journalistic antics direct you to video clips and games from Comedy Central's THE DAILY SHOW. A scary look at the future of privacy in PIZZA PALACE, and a fresh look at everybody's favorite slips-of-the-tongue in BUSHISMS' video trailer.

This month in Dispatches:

Hurricanes churned, an island flooded, celebrities passed, a volcano vented, candidates for vice president vented, and a non-NASA test pilot flew into space. What will endure?

This month we collected photographs from a broad spectrum of photojournalism. Frank Jump and John Bartelstone have "day jobs" in the field of photography, and both sent JPGS of their personal passion, architectural landscapes, often shot just weeks before the buildings, or the commercial murals painted on them, were forever gone. Michael Lutch contributed his photograph of a celebrity most of us knew, and Lance Cpl. Graham Paulsgrove photographed a soldier whose buddy we'll never see. Mike Kamber's picture of Haiti broke through the news overload, and Vince Laforet took a photo reminiscent of another shot that's already iconic.

A moment in time, or history? They shoot, we decide.

There are people who live on beyond their mortal time on this earth. Great artists, movie stars, writers and, yes, photographers leave behind bodies of work that become part of our living culture. It is in this spirit that we commend this special issue to you.

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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