Welcome to the November 2005 issue - The Digital Journalist
The Digital Journalist

The Digital Journalist

Letter from
the Publisher

Welcome to the November 2005 issue of The Digital Journalist, the monthly online magazine for visual journalism.

When we started The Digital Journalist eight years ago, our intent was to become a 21st-century version of the old LIFE magazine: a place where our readers could find the best photojournalism, with unlimited space in which to present photo essays. We feel we have honored this commitment, but now we want to take it even further. We want to provide space for photographers who are not so well-known, who have undertaken major stories on their own.

In our September issue we featured a story on Chinese street opera performers by Lester Ledesma, a photographer who lives in Singapore. This month, our compelling cover feature is on the plight of Afghan women by Lana Slezic. Both of these stories came to us "over the transom" as they would say in magazine offices. The photographers, through e-mail, proposed them, and once we had a look at them, we felt they were worthy of publication. The fact that you, our readers, are now sending in suggestions thrills us. These stories are now brought to the attention of a worldwide audience, and may lead to book projects, assignments, and more importantly, a place in history. If you have a story suggestion, contact me directly at dhalstead@dvnetwork.net .

Executive Editor Peter Howe has rustled up with a feature on Cowboy Tintypes. He writes: "I Suppose if you're a National Geographic photographer who was born in Spur, Texas, and graduated from Hereford High it's almost in your DNA to photograph cowboys. It is more unusual, however, for anyone in this age of defining technology to photograph them using a technique that was in its prime almost 150 years ago. Robb Kendrick recently authored a book called "Revealing Character," published by Bright Sky Press, which is the result of doing just that. He traveled around his home state with an old view camera, a set of antique lenses and two portable darkrooms to produce a series of tintype portraits of this enduring breed, whose survival defies the trend to replace agricultural workers with machines."

In our "Dispatches" section we have two reports from the recent 7.6 earthquake that devastated parts of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, and an "Update" by Chris Hondros on a young gunman he photographed in 2003 during Liberia's civil war. Chris returned to Monrovia to search for the unidentified soldier whose photo became known worldwide. Their reunion is poignantly reported.

Contributing Editor David Friend looks back on the life of John Kennedy, Jr. The American icon who had "Kodachrome in his chromosomes" is celebrated in a new book, "John F. Kennedy, Jr.: A Life in Pictures."

Robert Trippet explores some of the ethical problems that can develop when "an ingenious, powerful and insidiously seductive" tool like Adobe Photoshop intersects with journalism.

Roger Richards, the editor of our sister publication Digital Filmmaker, does a Q&A with photographer Chris Jordan, whose large-scale photographs document the detritus of America's mass-consumption, disposable culture.

Our Ethics editors Karen Slattery and Eric Ugland offer a thought-provoking look at the rise of "citizen journalists" and their inherent risks to news-gathering organizations.

On the flip side, in his column, "Lifting the Veil," Peter Howe discusses our increasingly transparent society, and sings the praises of living in an age of "blanket visual journalism."

News Photographer magazine Editor Don Winslow recently gave a speech to the NPPA Flying Short Course in which he made an impassioned "call to arms" for photojournalists to recognize and report on the growing inequities to race and class that Hurricane Katrina brought to light. We think this is an important message to our community.

Natural disasters, Scooter Libby, the U.S. death toll in Iraq... E-Bits Editor Beverly Spicer presents an "E-Bits" collage this month about recent events, equilibrium vs. equanimity, SNAFU and the opportunities for photojournalists to work in charitable organizations around the world. She asks us all, "What is going on?"

There are three "Through a Lens Dimly" journals in this month's "Assignment Sheet." These colorful stories are written by the elders of our profession and recount some of the wild and wacky experiences from our past. Mark Hertzberg, director of photography at The Journal Times in Racine, Wis., shares stories of his experiences from his first job as an intern with a now-defunct daily in Baltimore in his story, "Working and Walking: The Downtown Beat." Also, "Journalism Was More Interesting" is the title of Tom Hubbard's thesis. Tom is an emeritus professor at the Ohio State School of Journalism and Communication, but he also spent time in the trenches as a photographer with some major daily newspapers. And finally, Dick Kraus, retired Newsday (Long Island, N.Y.) staff photographer, continues to introduce his readers to the Damon Runyonesque characters who drifted through the halls of his newspaper in his early years. This month we will hear about "The Princess and the Greek."

Our columnists, Bill Pierce, Ron Steinman, Terry Heaton, Chuck Westfall and Jim Colburn all have provocative essays in this issue.

And last but not least, the November edition of our sister site, The Digital Filmmaker, is also online, with some tips on using music in your film and video productions as well as a look at Magnum photojournalist Paul Fusco's project on the human cost of the Iraq war.

We hope you enjoy the experience.

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher

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