Welcome by Dirck Halstead - The Digital Journalist (January 2008)
The Digital Journalist

The Digital Journalist

Letter from
the Publisher

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

After 10 years of publication, we are in the process of our first major redesign. The new design will debut in our February issue. We are going to keep it reader friendly and maintain the features and columns that we know you love. However, we will feature more accessible links to those features and especially our archives. We will be moving to a CMS system, which will allow our writers and editors to respond more quickly to events without having to set everything in HTML code. We will be preparing to move to High Definition video, which will become a much more important area in our issues, to reflect the growing movement of still photojournalists to moving images and sound.

To give us the time to design and implement these changes, we are presenting this special issue, which looks back on those features and columns that we consider to be the best from the last 10 years. Some of these features have won top awards in the industry. Many of you who have joined our subscription list in the last few years may have never seen them. They are worth your attention.

In the days following the horrible events of 9/11, we moved our operation to the offices of American Photo magazine in New York – and started on a massive job of collecting what we felt were the day's most compelling images, but more importantly, to interview on video the photographers who had taken them. It proved to be a cathartic experience for them, many of whom were in shock over what they had covered. The job was so huge that after doing the first issue, we continued the story in the next edition of TDJ. Over 10,000,000 readers have viewed these stories. The package won the 2002 Best Feature Award of the Online News Association.

Just four months earlier, we did a cover story, "20 Years: AIDS and Photography." Our Contributing Editor David Friend produced this special feature along with photographs and interviews by those who had covered the epidemic over the years, including Robert Mapplethorpe, Alon Reininger and John Dugdale, a photographer who continues to work even though the disease has left him blind. Critic Ingrid Sischy provided context for the images. This feature won the ONA Award in 2001.

We have asked our editors, Ron Steinman and Peter Howe, and columnists, Bill Pierce, Jim Colburn, Terry Heaton, Mark Loundy, Chuck Westfall, PF Bentley, Dick Kraus and Karen Slattery, to come up with what they felt was their most important work over the past decade.

Over the last seven years that Dispatches, and later Update, have been presented there have been many extraordinary pieces written by photographers about their work in the field. The ones presented here were chosen for many reasons. Two are that the works are excellent examples of the best we have to offer and they are by photographers who have consistently appeared in our pages with riveting work. Because of space limitations some excellent photographers had to be left out. Such photographers as Hazel Thompson, Paul Taggart, Tyler Hicks and Luis Sinco deserve your attention and I hope you'll look at their contributions too.

Dispatches exists through the good offices of the photographers who offer their own stories and our agency friends who provide many pieces: World Picture News, Getty Images, ZUMA Press and Polaris Images. Canon has been a supportive partner throughout. We thank them all.

E-Bits Editor Beverly Spicer revives her April 2007 column called "Technotopia," in which she presents visionary predictions from the past, a take on the present and what could be in store for the future. Included are JibJab's "What We Call The News," thoughts and animations about George Orwell and Big Brother, and a look into the future of consolidated media and information in the fascinating 8-minute video, EPIC 2015.

We hope you take time to revisit these valuable features and columns.

Next month we will be back with all new material and our new design.

In the meantime, we wish you a Happy New Year!

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher

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