Letter from the Publisher

February 2009

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

The Inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States transcended being the transfer of power from one president to another; it was a cultural event on the scale of Woodstock. Over 2 million people endured bitter cold to witness the ceremonies in Washington, D.C., while at least another estimated 200 million people worldwide watched on television, and on the Internet.

Photographers rose to the challenge of documenting the events, many standing in positions from the pre-dawn darkness to the end of the parade at dusk. We have chosen a gallery of images taken by photographers Peter Turnley, Callie Shell, Doug Mills, Pete Marovich, Vince Laforet, Mark Greenberg, Steve Simon, Karen Ballard, and Dennis Brack, and even I have a few contributions. Contributing Editor Peter Howe talks about the historical importance of the Obama Inauguration.

In an accompanying feature I write about what is was like to be part of this historic occasion as a photographer. The memories are the kind that will be remembered for a lifetime.

For February Dispatches presents four pieces concerning the recent conflict between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The dispatches present different views by photographers Jim Hollander, Ilan Mizrahi, Ahmad Khateib and Stefania Mizara.

E-Bits editor Beverly Spicer discusses the Inauguration as a mass communications phenomenon and thinks photo sharing is here to stay. She presents links to shared Inauguration images, among them 'platypus' David Bergman's Gigapan shot with zoom capability.

Along with everyone else, Ron Steinman waited patiently for Barack Obama to make his first Inaugural address. In his commentary this month, he notes how sober the speech was, and how Mr. Obama's usual high-flying rhetoric took second place to the urgency of the moment. Steinman also gives us a glimpse of how some of the more prominent news organizations in the country played the speech in their newspapers.

In March 2007 Eileen Douglas attended a fund-raiser for just-declared presidential candidate Barack Obama. She wanted to see for herself what all the fuss was about. Now, nearly two years later, she reveals that she knew the day would come when Barack Obama would be president of the United States.

Retired Newsday staff photographer Dick Kraus recalls the pomp and circumstance, cold fingers, lack of toilets and other sundries concerning the four presidential inaugurations he has covered, starting with Lyndon B. Johnson's and ending with Bill Clinton's, in this month's Assignment Sheet.

Mark Loundy's Common Cents column gives you freedom from "free." In this time of economic uncertainty, his column becomes increasingly more important as photographers try to strategize to survive. Terry Heaton offers yet another thought-provoking column, and Chuck Westfall answers more of your camera questions in his helpful Tech Tips. Bill Pierce will return next month.

We hope you enjoy this issue. We encourage you to comment on our gallery and columns.

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher