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

The Digital Journalist

Letter from
the Publisher

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

We have just taught our 19th Platypus Workshop in Maine. There were a dozen newspaper photographers there to learn the language of High Definition video production. We present what we consider to be the best final projects by these photographers in our Platypus Theatre. They are accompanied by a report of the Rockport workshop by John J. Lopinot of the Palm Beach Post. One of the issues that came up in the workshops was multi-tasking: Can you shoot BOTH stills and video? We answer this question and others that will be confronted by the new generation of visual journalists in a series of articles this month. In our "stills vs. video " debate, photography columnist Frank Van Riper discusses multi-tasking in the digital age, and in a follow-up editorial to last month, we take on the new challenges in our editorial "Newspaper Web Video: Get Ready to Lead or Get Out of the Way."

Our cover story offers a sneak preview of the 2007 Visa pour l'Image photo festival, which will be held in Perpignan, France, from Sept. 1-16 [pro week, Sept. 3-9]. Contributing Editor James Colburn looks at the dynamic founder of the festival, Jean François Leroy, with a video interview.

Henry Diltz is one of the great photographers of rock 'n' roll. In our second feature, "California Dreaming With Henry Diltz," we present his portfolio, which chronicles the emergence of the great stars that defined a generation.

Peter Howe pays tribute to Jeanette Chapnick who, along with her husband Howard, "launched and guided the careers of more great photojournalists than probably any other single person in the 20th century." Eileen Douglas reminisces about "A Reporter's Life," while Jim Gabour pens another of his colorful Letters From New Orleans.

In Dispatches this month, Marco di Lauro takes us into the most advanced hospital in southern Afghanistan. Housed in a tent in the middle of the desert, it treats injured NATO, Afghan government troops, Taliban fighters and innocent civilians alike. Jean Chung offers a poignant look at maternal mortality in a district of Afghanistan with the world's highest rate of post-childbirth deaths. Nasim Goli describes a little-known ceremony in her native Iran in which compassionate families cook special food called "Nazri" ("charity food") to be distributed to poor and sick strangers. Also, Sarah Shatz takes us through what little remains of Greensburg, Kansas, following the F5 tornado that virtually obliterated the small rural town on May 4. Her dispatch includes a link to an audio slideshow she made for Popular Mechanics magazine. And finally, in "Update," Roger Arnold picks up his story in our Oct. 2006 issue on the plight of Laos' desperate Hmong resistance fighters and refugees. He recently interviewed two legendary – some would say notorious – CIA figures of America's "Secret War" of the Vietnam War era. On June 4, 2007, they were arrested by U.S. government agents for plotting to overthrow the Lao government.

E-Bits Editor Beverly Spicer professes her love for the medium of black-and-white photography, and recounts the personal history of her long and involved affair with photojournalism and documentary photography. She tells us who inspired her, and points us to their work.

Executive Editor Ron Steinman reviews a labor of love, a book about the remarkable career of Henry Burroughs, one of the greatest AP photographers. Chuck Westfall is back with his helpful Tech Tips, and Mark Loundy offers more Common Cents. In his monthly Nuts & Bolts column, Bill Pierce writes: "I used to soup film and print negs; I had a darkroom. Today, I am told, I have a digital workflow. That kind of creeps me out. …" And Terry Heaton peers into his crystal ball in his latest TV in the Postmodern World. Also, don't miss PF Bentley's iPhone commentary, "One Phone, One Earth, One Plan."

Reuters photographer Mal Langsdon reports on a day when covering the Tour de France turned catastrophic ("Allo, Paris, we have a problem … ").

This month's Assignment Sheet has it all. The past and the future come together in three separate journals. First read CNBC's videographer Mark Neuling as he describes his coverage of the opening day of sales of Apple's new iPhone. It's called "Covering the iPhone." Then read "Commentary" by retired Newsday photographer Dick Kraus. Neuling's piece is brought into play as Kraus opines about the degradation of news photography that is brought about by the rush by newspapers to use video cameras for stills for the paper and streaming video for their Web sites and TV stations. Finally, Kraus continues his trip down memory lane in "Life Before Digital (Continued)" as he describes the old "wet" darkroom.

As we head towards our ninth anniversary issue, we want to remind you that The Digital Journalist is published for you. Although our good friends at Canon help to underwrite these issues, we depend on you, our viewers, for your support. Please contribute what you can afford to keep us going.

Finally, I have a new e-mail address. Please change my address in your computer to: dhalstead@mac.com .

We hope you enjoy this huge issue.

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher

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