Welcome by Dirck Halstead - The Digital Journalist (July 2007) what?
The Digital Journalist

The Digital Journalist

Letter from
the Publisher

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

In early June, the National Press Photographers Association held a four-day Multimedia Immersion Summit in Portland, Ore. For nearly 100 hours, scores of the best people in multimedia taught 40 newspaper photojournalists how to shoot video, sound slides, and edit them into projects for the Web. This was a watershed event for the NPPA. It was the first real acknowledgement that the newspaper industry is undergoing a crucial change, and photographers must change as well if they want to survive.

As readers of The Digital Journalist know, we have been talking about these changes for the past nine years. Now, it is no longer an academic argument. Which is why we are moving into high gear, starting with this month's editorial," Say Goodbye to Your Broadsheet." This is only the first of what will become an urgent topic for us in the months to come, as we discuss the inexorable changes that are now upon us.

In our cover feature, Michael Kamber of The New York Times documents a deadly day for the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division in Iraq, as they searched for three missing comrades who had been abducted by insurgents. His gripping photographs and compelling text in "Death of a Soldier" is followed by an essay by our Ron Steinman that addresses the challenges – including unprecedented censorship – facing photojournalists in telling the story of this increasingly desperate struggle.

For the past decade, San Francisco photographer Barbara Traub has been documenting a cultural ritual, The Burning Man festival in Northern Nevada's Black Rock Desert. The 20,000 participants are urged to reinvent their own identities, as they create a small, bizarre city in the barren desert.

Contributing Editor Peter Howe writes about the growing obsession on the part of journalists with celebrities at the cost of real investigation into how our leaders and representatives are failing to serve the public, while our Ethics editors Mark Doremus and Karen Slattery report on how our trust in news media continues to erode.

Bill Pierce cries out against how auto-focus and auto-exposure are dumbing down our photography in Nuts and Bolts.

Jim Gabour sends us a 4th of July Letter From New Orleans talking about the role of voodoo and charms in The Big Easy.

In July Dispatches presents two different views of Northern Ireland by Leif Skoogfors and Michael Kienitz. Klavs Bo Christensen travels to Damascus, Syria, to see and hear appalling accounts of Iraqi terror from its refugees.

E-Bits Editor Beverly Spicer presents historical -- and some hysterical -- perspectives on the subject of propaganda.

Our regulars, PF Bentley, Mark Loundy, Terry Heaton and Chuck Westfall are all at their posts with important words of advice.

"Life Before Digital" is the subject of this month's Assignment Sheet. As retired Newsday staff photographer Dick Kraus observes in his "Through a Lens Dimly" column, "… there is a generation of photographers out there who will never have made an exposure on film. Incredible, isn't it? And there are already several generations of photographers who have never used a hand-held exposure meter or processed film in a wet darkroom."

And finally, Executive Editor Ron Steinman has a just-published novel, a thriller entitled "Death in Saigon." Take a sneak preview of it on our contents page.

This issue of The Digital Journalist should be an important one for visual journalists and students of journalism. We raise some important issues. We hope that you will all tell your friends and co-workers about it.

We all wish you a happy 4th of July and the start of a great summer.

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher

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