Letter from the Publisher

October 2008

Welcome to the October issue of The Digital Journalist.

As we head into the final days of the American presidential election, we present two galleries by probably the best photographers who have been covering this race. Both have spent the better part of the last two years with their candidates, and offer us remarkable access to those behind-the-scenes moments. Stephen Crowley of The New York Times has been covering the John McCain campaign, while Callie Shell has been covering the Obama campaign for Time magazine. They give us remarkable "inside" images of these campaigns.

Make no mistake, we are heading into a very grim time in the world economy. We will all be affected by what is happening on Wall Street. In our editorial we call for photojournalists to document the times. It is not unlike the 1930s, which produced some of the finest photojournalism in our history under the leadership of Roy Stryker and the Farm Security Administration. But now we have video, which we should be using to document the world around us.

On the subject of video, Nikon was the first company to reconfigure its still cameras to be able to produce video. David Leeson takes a look at the Nikon D90, and shows us with his video just what this camera can do.

Also in Camera Corner, Chick Harrity takes a look at the new Nikon D700, "Nikon's smaller, lighter entry into the digital full-frame game."

For October we present a two-in-one Dispatch on Hurricane Ike in Galveston, Texas, by Jason Witmer and Johnny Hanson. In the second Dispatch, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert returns to Papua New Guinea to cover the big business of rainforest logging.

Executive Editor Ron Steinman offers two interesting articles this month. The first one, a commentary entitled "The Opinionators," weighs in on the cacophony of largely useless "talking heads" on TV and radio and in print during the hotly contested presidential election.

Ron's other article explores a multimedia project called "Andaman Rising," produced by students at the University of North Carolina. In a Q&A with Ron, the project's executive producer talks about taking 14 students to Khao Lak, Thailand, to document what life is like four years after the devastating Asian Tsunami.

This month E-Bits Editor Beverly Spicer writes about photographers as silent witnesses and the power of silence in photography and other things.

As for many who live and work in news, Eileen Douglas finds the lead up to the presidential election feels like the mother of all reality shows, a show called "Survivor: The White House." And, like many of us, she wonders what she will do with herself once it is finally over.

Assignment Sheet for October contains another memory of notable subjects photographed by retired Newsday staff photographer Dick Kraus. Continuing his thread "In the Presence of Greatness," he notes that there may be times when someone you admire greatly does, after all, have feet of clay.

Our regular columnists, Terry Heaton, Bill Pierce and Mark Loundy, have important comments on what is going on in our dramatically changing world. And, as always, Chuck Westfall offers helpful tips to our readers in his Q&A column.

We hope you enjoy this issue.

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher