Welcome to the March 2006 Issue - The Digital Journalist
The Digital Journalist

The Digital Journalist

Letter from
the Publisher

Welcome to the March issue of The Digital Journalist, the online monthly magazine for photojournalism.

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the death of a talented photojournalist and good friend, Olivier Rebbot. He was in many ways a reincarnation of Robert Capa, one of the most famous photographers of the 20th century. Olivier was an adventurer and journalist. He was also a free spirit, with an incredible "joie de vivre." In his memory, Newsweek established the Olivier Rebbot Award that is presented annually by the Overseas Press Club to a photographer for outstanding reportage from abroad. To mark the 25th anniversary of Olivier's death while on assignment in El Salvador, an exhibition of his work will soon be on display at the University of Miami, curated by his good friend and former agent, Robert Pledge of Contact. We are proud to present images from this exhibition, and an appreciation of his friend -- as well as past, present and future Olivier Rebbots -- by Executive Editor Peter Howe.

John Ficara was one of my colleagues covering the White House through the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations. Since 1999, he has been working on a labor of love, a documentation of the plight of black farmers in America. This is an ambitious project that reminds me of the timeless work of Roy Stryker and his photographers produced for the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression of the 1930s. J.B. Colson, the former director of the school of photojournalism at the University of Texas at Austin, introduces this feature. There is also a streaming video produced by David Snider in which John comments on his remarkable project.

In March, Dispatches includes reports on two religious observances, one rebellion and an anniversary no one will celebrate. Mario Tama found a once-in-12-years Jain festival where millions partake in the ritual bath of a giant statue in India. Also in India, James Pomerantz covered the Muslim observance of Ashura. John Moore followed the Bugti tribe and their allies to the north, the Marris, in Pakistan as they exchanged mortar fire with the much larger and better equipped Pakistani army. Guy Calaf was embedded with Iraqi Police Commandos for a dangerous -- and eye-opening -- operation.

In our Camera Corner, Bill Southworth, a graduate of our Maine Platypus Workshop, reviews the new Panasonic HVX-200, the first hard-drive High-Definition camera for video journalists.

Ron Steinman looks back on the career of legendary NBC News executive Reuven Frank, sharing memories of a man who played such a pivotal role in his career and in the evolution of TV news.

Ron also reviews a documentary film, "Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye," which offers a fascinating insight into one of the greatest -- and most elusive -- photo icons of the 20th century.

Our columnists Jim Colburn, Terry Heaton, Mark Loundy and Chuck Westfall are present and accounted for again this month, weighing in on a diverse range of subjects.

E-Bits editor Beverly Spicer contemplates houses of cards and castles in the air in a metaphorical landscape of experience and design as she takes us from a wild ride on The Screamin' Eagle to a gallery of constructive ideas put together by artists working in a medium of tin cans.

This month's Assignment Sheet brings you two diverse journals. The first is from a young woman who has been published on these pages several times. Joyce Lin, who is finishing her last year of studies at UCLA in Los Angeles, Calif., writes about leaving her position as assistant photo editor of the campus newspaper, The Daily Bruin, and finding herself time to think about the choices facing her upon her graduation in June. Her journal is entitled, "Leaving the Cubicle." The second piece is from our self-described dinosaur, Dick Kraus, who retired in 2002 after 42 years as a staff photographer for the Long Island (N.Y.) daily, Newsday. He has been describing bits and pieces of his long career with stories under the heading of "Through a Lens Dimly." This month he recalls what it was like to work with a rather eccentric fashion editor. His story is called "Fashion With Boop."

"Nothing, I mean nothing, can stop the intrepid Mr. Faas," writes Steve Stibbens, longtime friend of The Digital Journalist's European Editor and photo legend Horst Faas after spending two weeks with him recently. Despite his paralysis last year and a new life in Munich, Steve reports in this update, "Horst takes everything in stride, with his usual dry wit and totally without notice that he isn't walking ... Through it all, Horst remains the same old Horst I've known for 44 years." We are pleased to bring you up to date on Horst this month.

Our sister publication, The Digital Filmmaker, has just completed a redesign that reflects our overall style. From now on, it will publish on the same day we do. In this issue, documentary filmmaker Chuck Braverman shares with us the director's notes from his new high-definition film, "Abused"; the newest high-definition camera from Panasonic, the HVX-200, is put to the test by Bill Southworth; Digital Filmmaker Executive Editor and Digital Journalist columnist Ron Steinman reviews a new documentary about legendary Magnum photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, and introduces us to the efforts of photographer Gilbert Mercier to bring attention to his devastated hometown of New Orleans; contributing writer and audio expert Carmen Borgia tells us about post-production sound for a short film, and Jan Lisa Huttner reviews Julianne Moore's film, "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio."

We hope you enjoy this issue.

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher

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