welcome by Dirck Halstead- The Digital Journalist
The Digital Journalist

The Digital Journalist

Letter from
the Publisher

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

Renowned photographer and TDJ contributor Peter Turnley has for the past two years been commissioned to produce major photo essays for Harper's magazine. Harper's has given him carte blanche to seek out stories around the world. Peter has used this privilege well. He does not go after hard news per se, but rather produces essays that probe the contradictions of our complex world in the early 21st century. Peter has assembled excerpts from seven of his Harper's photo essays for this month's cover story. Claude Cookman, one of America's top scholars of 20th-century photography, provides an introduction to this rare and remarkable collaboration between a gifted, humanist photographer and an enlightened publication committed to the all-but-lost tradition of pure, long-form photo essays.

In this age of bumper-sticker patriotism in the U.S., it's refreshing to find a more perceptive and profound patriotism on view in Burk Uzzle's latest book, A Family Named Spot. We are pleased to offer it as our second feature this month. Through his ever-quirky, always-intriguing vision, Burk shares some of the eccentricities and idiosyncrasies that make this country great, indeed unique. Executive Editor Peter Howe writes of Burk's back-roads America in his introduction: "The stuff he finds is an America of unashamed individualists, often oppressed, but always surviving with a dignity that he relishes. He reveals their rugged characteristics through multiple layers that he leaves the viewer to peel back, one after the other."

Peter Howe also contributes a thought-provoking look at the global response to Barbaro, a racehorse injured last month at the Preakness Stakes, and the heart-wrenching incident's lessons for journalists. Clearly, there is a curious serendipity to the people and events that capture the public's imagination, yet trying to gauge, let alone anticipate what they will be – well, that's a horse of a different color.

This month "Dispatches" presents Mario E. Ruiz's dramatic photographs taken in Chad of Sudanese refugees. At the very beginning of the 2006 hurricane season, Max Whittaker takes another look at post-Katrina New Orleans. He finds that making his "after" images match those taken "before" under completely different circumstances is more challenging than expected. In Baghdad, Christoph Bangert writes of the circumscribed life of a photographer in that besieged city.

"E-Bits" Editor Beverly Spicer shares the death of a poet, and takes a look at history from several different angles. Those interested in trains and stereoscopic photography won't want to miss this one.

Contributing Editor Ron Steinman sends out an urgent distress call in his column, "Don't Take My Internet From Me." Writing about "Net Neutrality," he explores the prospect of an Internet that is no longer free to us all.

Ron also reviews the HBO documentary, "Baghdad ER," an unflinching look at war rarely seen on TV, as doctors and nurses work heroically to save the lives of soldiers wounded in Iraq.

In "Nuts & Bolts," Bill Pierce offers advice on overcoming the nightmare of making good black-and-white inkjet prints for posterity in this age of color, color and more color.

Terry Heaton explores the challenges ahead in a world in which everybody is a content provider. The paradigm, he writes in his column, "TV News in a Postmodern World," is now reversed: the "mass" has shifted from demand to supply.

In "Common Cents," Mark Loundy discusses the sea changes photojournalists have gone through since the good 'ol days before work-for-hire contracts and other dubious business practices began to erode the income – and future – of working photographers.

Our ever-helpful Q&A guru, Chuck Westfall, offers more invaluable advice in his "Tech Tips" column.

This month's "Assignment Sheet" features two journals from the memoirs of retired Newsday photographer Dick Kraus. In "The New Chief/The Old Navy," Dick tells about the frustrations that arose when a new chief photo editor took over the helm of his photo department. Many of you old-timers can surely relate to this journal. Dick compares it with a situation when he was once in the Navy. His second journal, "A Sports Shooter I'm Not," recalls his experiences shooting sports assignments. Both of these journals are the first of two parts. The second parts will appear in the July Issue.

We hope you enjoy this issue.

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher

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