The Digital Journalist
Gee... Thanks...
December 2006

by James Colburn

Since moving to Central America I've had the local rag and The New York Times delivered to my door every morning. One nice discovery was that the Washington Post had an online subscription system that allowed me to download a PDF file of the entire newspaper, ads, comics and all, every morning starting at around 3 a.m. Eastern time.

It was reasonably priced (at $9.95 a month) and very convenient. Subscribing this way meant that I was able to download the paper even while on the road in the U.S. and Europe, so I always had a good English-language newspaper to look forward to whether my breakfast consisted of a buttered croissant or biscuits and gravy. The New York Times offers a similar service but they want $39.95 a month.

I guess that the good idea couldn't last as the Washington Post is changing its system to a proprietary one that will make a file available but only readable using specialized software. Not only that, but the new whiz-bang software is only available for Windows users so those of us with Macs are, in a word, screwed. Oh, they say that they'll have Mac software eventually but they can't tell me when.

Thanks, Washington Post...

Aside from all the recent crap about taking liquids and gels as carry-on luggage the standard for carry-on luggage is, generally, a bag with a maximum L x W x H measurement of 45 inches in a 22 x 14 x 9-inch format. Some companies, like Pelican and Think Tank Photo, seem to design their products with the correct measurements in mind.

But when you search for a carry-on bag for photo or video gear you have one manufacturer saying that their bag "meets carry-on requirements of most major U.S. airlines," even though it's 23 x 11 x 11. Another bag from the same manufacturer also "meets carry-on requirements of most major U.S. airlines," even though it's 27 x 11 x 11.

Another manufacturer's 23.6 x 11.8 x 11.8 bag (that's 47.2 inches total) is described as meeting "the strict new airline regulations for carry-on luggage size." What fun it would be getting to the airport only to discover that "you can't take that on the plane, you'll have to check it."

Thanks, bag guys…

Finally this month, is a stinking, great "Thanks" for a new concept from one of our large photo agencies. PDN reports that Getty is going to start charging photographers $50 per image. That's right, $50 so that YOU can let THEM sell YOUR picture.

PDN says, "Getty is introducing a fundamentally new way of working with contributors." Charging people for the air they breathe would be another "fundamentally new way of working" but I don't think of that as a good idea either. Someone at Getty is quoted as saying that their You Pay Us concept is "a really powerful sharpener when you're deciding which images you want to upload." It could also be a "powerful sharpener" when you're deciding about an agency.


© James Colburn
Contributing Writer