welcome by Dirck Halstead- The Digital Journalist
The Digital Journalist

The Digital Journalist

Letter from
the Publisher

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

"I couldn't help thinking that if aliens ever landed on earth and you only had a few hours to help them understand America, all you would have to do is take them to any state fair. For me, they are a microcosm of America--in all its glory and weirdness--at any given point in time." Photojournalist Arthur Grace spent three years stalking the corridors of state fairs around the United States. His new book, State Fair, is the result, published by the University of Texas Press. We present a collection of his photographs, along with an appreciation by Peter Howe, and an introduction by Alison Beck of the Center for American History of the University of Texas. In his streaming video interview, Arthur talks about his career.

Vivian Ronay, meanwhile, was busy on another self-generated project on the other side of the world. She spent years photographing the Bedul Bedouin of Petra, the ancient city cut into the high desert cliffs of southern Jordan, and one of the great trading crossroads of the world. She has been returning to Petra for 20 years to continue the documentation of Bedouin life as they transition from their pastoral pre-market economy to their modern life in a government-subsidized village, complete with electricity and indoor plumbing.

Filmmaker Jim Gabour is a New Orleans resident. In his "So That's a Glock 9," he provides a haunting portrait of what it is like -- really like -- to live in this besieged city nearly a year after Hurricane Katrina.

David Friend pays his respects to two giants of photography, Arnold Newman and Slim Aarons, who died around Memorial Day. Coincidentally, on Memorial Day, CBS cameraman Paul Douglas, 48, and soundman James Brolan, 42, died while covering the war in Baghdad when a bomb exploded near their Humvee; CBS correspondent Kimberly Dozier was severely injured in the blast. With the deaths of these two newsmen, a woeful Rubicon was crossed. On that day, the number of working journalists killed in Iraq--71, according to Reporters Without Borders--became equivalent to the number of all accredited newsmen who died during two decades of combat in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

Murray Fromson paid a visit to our European editor, Horst Faas, who is coping with the aftermath of his paralysis, and gives us an update on his courageous struggle, and new life in Munich.

Marianne Fulton reviews the book "Uncommon Valor, Common Virtue" by the former head of Associated Press Photos, Hal Buell, which documents the events leading up to one of the most iconic, and controversial, images in photojournalism, the raising of the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima during World War II.

Seven Dispatches cover a range of topics. Lucian Read was an embed with the Marines of Kilo Company in Haditha, Iraq. His images were published worldwide and he is in the difficult position of knowing the troops, men whom he says are very different from the ones depicted in the current accusations of civilian deaths in Haditha. Bea Ahbeck covered the story of rehabilitation camps in Uganda for children abducted by rebels to be boy soldiers. Girls were also taken and often used as sex slaves. Hazel Thompson often works with charities and aid agencies. The charity Jubilee Action sent her to the Philippines to document children imprisoned in crowded, dank cells. Both David Bathgate and David Honl found that they could not complete their initial assignment. They both adapted quickly: Bathgate to take pictures in a Afghan medical facility and Honl to spend time with refugee children living in Saddam Hussein's abandoned theater. Golnaz Beheshti is an Iranian photographer. She tracked down one of the popular underground rock bands and explored their appeal. In East Timor (Timor-Leste), Norman Ng covered street fighting among warring groups across Dili. The fighting hampers progress in the new state.

Our columnists, Terry Heaton, Ron Steinman, Bill Pierce, Chuck Westfall, Mark Loundy and Jim Colburn, provide their usual banquet of food for thought.

In this month's E-Bits, editor Beverly Spicer illustrates and discusses the notions of waking up, inconvenient truths, the preponderance of philosophers on every corner, and problem-solving.

Assignment Sheet offers the second and final parts of the two "Through A Lens Dimly" journals offered by Dick Kraus, retired Newsday staff photographer. The first one, "New Chief/Old Navy," continues his experiences of dealing with a new chief photo editor; this time, it involves some of the people hired by the new chief. The second, "A Sports Shooter I'm Not," continues last month's saga of his less than memorable attempts at shooting sports.

As we were going to press, we received word that Catherine Leroy, an old colleague from covering the Vietnam War, has died of lung cancer in Los Angeles. Next month we will do a tribute to her remarkable career.

We hope that you enjoy this issue.

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher

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