The Digital Journalist
Thailand: From the Land of Smiles
Bodies dotted the landscape. I walked to the beach where workers were pulling them out from the sea. I just kept on shooting.
by Paula Bronstein
Malaysia: Temp Shooter, Major Disaster
I was the new guy: AFP Kuala Lumpur hired me one week ago as a temporary shooter.
by Tengku Bahar
Sri Lanka: After the Wave
When we walked into the hospital, we had to take care to not trip over bodies; dazed survivors streamed in like ghosts.
by Elizabeth Dalziel
Sri Lanka: Awash
In a few minutes my SUV was submerged and I suddenly slipped into the water.
by Gemunu Amarasinghe
Colombo, Sri Lanka: It Just Feels Different
He felt that I was making disaster pornography from his family's plight.
by Mitchell Prothero
Phuket, Thailand: Morgue
I took out my mask and covered my face, but after a while, there was a point where I could not continue.
by Jean Chung

Kiev: The Same, But Different
I felt really sorry to be in their shots, but what to do, I should have a great picture, too.
by Janis Pipars

Killing 2004
People back home have jobs, kids, lives. There is only so much time for other people's distant crises.
by Michael Kamber
A Pair of Eyes
A front row seat as history is slowly etched into reality, into the past.
by Spencer Platt


No one, it seems, was ready. Not the children, not their parents and grandparents, not the journalists. Even those who've seen death in quantity were not prepared to see how suddenly it overtook so many. "Unthinkable, horrific," said one. "...just could not believe my eyes. I have never seen anything like this before," emailed another.

Newer members of the news profession who worked the tsunami story had to overcome their inexperience. Photojournalists with plenty of experience said the logistical problems of travel time and transmission gremlins doubled the difficulties of covering a story so intense and far-flung. "Everything was slow, and there was no time to sleep."

How to communicate a reality that even the UN Secretary General admitted is hard to understand? "You wonder where are the people? What has happened to them?" asked Kofi Annan.

When you discover what happened, how do you shoot this awful thing, if the "thing" is a person?

Bearing the burden of witness this month were Mitchell Prothero in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and Jean Chung in Thailand for World Pictures News, Elizabeth Dalziel and Gemunu Amarasinghe in Sri Lanka for the Associated Press, Paula Bronstein in Thailand for Getty Images, and Tengku Bahar, who was on temporary duty in Malaysia for Agence France-Presse the day the tidal wave overtook his part of the world.

There are no words to describe it, but somehow they did.

ALSO this month, Michael Kamber and Spencer Platt put the new year in perspective, while Janis Pipars filed from the front line of the Ukraine's "Orange Revolution" in Kiev a dispatch that you will either love or hate, depending on your personal outlook on assertive photographers in a media scrum.

Our contributors this month went the extra quarter inch (I doubt there was a mile left in anybody) to bring you their stories, and their agencies supported them by assisting us at the Digital Journalist, to bring you voices of the Fourth Estate. They deserve our attention and our thanks.


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