Publisher's Letter by Dirck Halstead - The Digital Journalist
The Digital Journalist

The Digital Journalist

Letter from
the Publisher

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

This marks the 7th anniversary of the magazine. Since our first issue in September of 1997, there have been more than 47,000,000 unique visits to our pages. Twice, the Online News Association, with its top award for features, has honored us.

This month, our cover feature is by photographer Tom Stoddart. Recently his work was shown in a major exhibition on the banks of the Thames, titled "iWitness." Tom is a committed photojournalist who has a calling to document some of the challenges our world faces.

Contributing editor Horst Faas was the pool coordinator for still photography at the 2004 Olympic Summer Games in Athens. He has collected what he considered to be the outstanding photographs from this event. We present his "The Best of the Olympics," along with his commentary, as a major feature.

This summer, the photography world lost two of its greatest, Henri-Cartier Bresson and Carl Mydans. We pay tribute this month to Carl, who we feel was one of the greatest photojournalists of all time. We also are bringing back to our Contents Page one of the first features we did in 1997, a look at Mydans' work. We recommend that to fully appreciate the stature of his work and life, you spend some time looking at this feature. We also commend to you the video and audio that accompany the feature.

Canon has released its long-awaited new version of their XL camera, the XL2. We do a detailed review of the camera.

In August, The Digital Journalist held another Platypus Workshop at the Maine Photo Workshop. This was a different experience for us, as only one of the eight students was a professional photographer. We were surprised and delighted when these students produced one of the best collective series of stories since we started teaching the workshop. We share their final projects with you in our Platypus Theatre.

We welcome a new columnist this month. David Lyman, the director of the Maine Photo Workshop offers some rules for aspiring photographers. He joins our other regular columnists, Bill Pierce, Jim Colburn, Terry Heaton, Mark Loundy, Ron Steinman, Roger Richards and Don Winslow, and we welcome him to our pages.

Our E-Bits features this month are not digital photos or photographic video clips, but animations and a cartoon that have made their way to many a desktop over email. For those of you who missed the high points of the Summer Games in Athens, we have Bruno Bozetto's OLYMPICS — an animated version of the trials and tribulations of an Olympic athlete named Mr. Otto. Having watched most of the 2004 games, I can affirm that Bozetto encapsulates Mr. Otto's experience in the best tradition of the Warner Brother's ROAD RUNNER cartoons from the 50's and 60's. Chuck Jones (1912-2002), creator of Wile E. Coyote and Pepe le Pew said, "Animation isn't the illusion of life, it is life." That remains to be seen, but it seems fair to say that cartoons and animation, depending on the subject matter, may be classified as metaphorical relatives of visual journalism. Whether you went to Athens last month or glued yourself nightly to the tube to watch the games, or missed them altogether, you'll enjoy OLYMPICS.

This month in Dispatches:

When Hurricane Charley hit Florida with unexpected violence, the staff of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune was there. Surrounded by so much property damage in Punta Gorda, many news photographers limited themselves to shots of people who lost their businesses, their homes and their friends. Armando Solares, Phil Diederich and Chip Litherland describe how they captured the dramatic photos that newspaper readers love to see but hate to see us take.

Sherrlyn Borkgren has returned to the United States from Iraq, but filed a dispatch before she, and an injured soldier, left Baghdad.

And maybe you noticed, the Republicans nominated their candidate for the presidency. With the chants, "FOX NEWS SUCKS" and "WE DISTORT, WE DECIDE" still ringing in our ears, we made a gallery of photos with comments by some of our friends. It's called "RNC.JPG." Most of you know that .jpg is the file extension for a picture file. "Acronym Finder" says it is "the lossy compressed 24 bit color image storage format developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group."

This month in Assignment Sheet:

Mark Neuling, our erstwhile videographer from San Francisco, takes us through the angst of a job change. If you have been following Mark's journals, you'll know that his former place of employment, TechTV, made some serious changes and cutbacks, and Mark and many of his coworkers found themselves unemployed. "KINDERGARDEN…ALL OVER AGAIN" talks about the attitudes and the mind-sets and how itimpacted on his family life.

T.C. Baker, Staff Photographer for the Victoria Advocate in Texas, asks a question that we have all asked ourselves in the course of our careers: "AM I REALLY MAKING A DIFFERENCE WITH MY PICTURES?" While photojournalists from larger venues are shooting the world's hot spots, the question asks if there is any meaning to the daily hometown shots that the rest of us make. T.C. points out that it does make a difference if you are doing your job.

Finally, retired Newsday (Long Island, N.Y.) photographer Dick Kraus brings us Chapter Four in his ongoing saga of "D-DAY REVISITED." On the Contents Page of Assignment Sheet, there are icons on which to click which will take you to the archive section so that you may read earlier chapters.

As we start into our eighth year, I want to thank these columnists - along with our editors, Peter Howe, Horst Faas, David Friend, Steve Smith, and Grazia Neri, Bev Spicer, Marianne Fulton, Chick Harrity, Susan Markisz, and Alison Beck for their fine work.

Also, a special note of thanks to our talented Webmaster, Gina Trapani, who has done so much to make these pages look so great; Amy Bowers, who every month scours the world for our Dispatches; our copy editor, Cecilia White, who actually helps to make writers out of photographers; and our sponsorship coordinator, Anna Moorhead, who helps us to keep going. We also want to thank our sponsors, Canon, Nikon and Adobe, who share our vision.

Please drop them a note of appreciation, and buy their products.

Finally, remember that The Digital Journalist is your magazine. If you find that we have become a resource, please contribute a pledge so we can continue to serve you.

We hope you enjoy this issue.

The Digital Journalist is a reader-sponsored site. We depend on pledges to be able to continue to bring you this magazine. If you find that this has become a valuable resource for you, please send in a pledge through our I-bill secure payment link.

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher

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