Welcome by Dirck Halstead- The Digital Journalist
The Digital Journalist

The Digital Journalist

Letter from
the Publisher

Welcome to the January 2006 issue of The Digital Journalist.

As we all know, for every great photojournalistic photograph that runs in magazines, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of celebrity photos that make it to the covers and inside spreads of countless publications. Often we tend to turn our noses up at these images, but occasionally magic moments are revealed. As Corbis' Bill Hannigan writes: "Images such as these are often the result of a rare and intimate connection between the photographer and the artist, working together behind and in front of the camera to create an icon. There exists a level of trust and kinship that sparks a creative collaboration, the results of which are images that provide extraordinary portraits." This month we present a gallery of such images from the new Corbis book "One2One." It features galleries by Martin Schoeller who used his unique way of seeing to capture former President Bill Clinton; Andrew MacPherson on Charlize Theron, while Charlize writes about the experience of working with the photographer; Chloe Sevigny likewise reports on her work with Guy Aroch; Ben Watts talks about photographing his sister, Naomi Watts; there is a gallery of classic Hollywood-inspired portraits by James White of Nicole Kidman that harkens back to the work of the great studio photographers of the 1930s, such as George Hurrell, and finally Matthew Rolston comments on how he created visual roles for Salma Hayek.

In his new role as editor of National Geographic magazine, Chris Johns along with photographer Chris Rainer have taken a major step towards reaching out to photographers around the world, who work within their own environments to try to record their cultures for future generations. Our Executive Editor Peter Howe reports on the "All Roads" project.

As we reported last month, our friend and colleague, Michael Evans, who had been the personal photographer to President Ronald Reagan, passed away at his home in Atlanta, Ga. In addition to his service to the president, Michael in the following years made an enormous impact on photography. He helped to inspire and design some of the first professional digital cameras, and created the software for the databases that are the backbone of editorial photography today. Scott McKiernan, the founder of Zuma Press, celebrates Michael's work and life, while our Bill Pierce, in his "Nuts and Bolts" column, goes on to explain why it was that Michael played such an important role in our profession.

In "Dispatches" we hear from photographers covering two different electoral processes. Spencer Platt, a frequent contributor, writes about his coverage of the Evo Morales presidential campaign in Bolivia, while Scott Nelson weighs in from the Iraqi elections. Jason P. Howe was also in Baghdad, where he barely escaped becoming a statistic himself in a bombing.

In "E-Bits" this month, our editor Beverly Spicer admits to being overwhelmed by all the death and destruction that she saw in our pages over the past year, and which she experienced firsthand in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. She credits the proliferation of worldwide media for bringing renewed relevance to the lyrics of the song, "We Are the World." To put us -- the country, the world, and the universe -- into some sort of context, she offers us visions of the galaxy and infinite time. Join Beverly as she attempts to put the Happy back into "Happy New Year."

Mickey Osterreicher reports on an important landmark decision by the Supreme Court, ruling against photographers who were suing National Geographic over reuse of their photographs in digital media. This is a case we should all pay close attention to.

Chuck Westfall answers some more of your questions in his helpful "Tech Tips" column, while Bill Campbell reviews a remarkable new piece of software that allows you to pan and scan photos easily in Final Cut Pro in our "Camera Corner."

In our Op-Ed section, Ron Steinman has some provocative thoughts on how two different journalists reported their own feelings on the coverage of Hurricane Katrina: Brian Williams of NBC and Ted Jackson of the New Orleans Times Picayune. You may be surprised by what he has to say.

"Ultimately, being a professional is about values. It is about judgment, character and introspection," say Erik Ugland and Karen Slattery in their "Ethics column," which addresses the difference between being a "journalist" and a "professional" in the new everyone-is-a-journalist environment.

Jim Colburn, from "Central America," offers some New Year resolutions for photojournalists. And of course, don't miss Terry Heaton's latest ruminations.

"Assignment Sheet" for the New Year begins with a wonderful journal by freelance photographer Sean Cayton called "A Photographic Journey Inward." It is proof positive that photojournalists are people, too. We are often admonished to take some time to explore life in our own hometowns, our backyards. Sean went one step further and documented a lovely story in his own bedroom with a photo essay about the birth of his daughter, Abigail Chase Cayton. Also this month, retired Newsday photographer Dick Kraus strolls down memory lane with two "Through a Lens Dimly" stories from his past. One, "'Tis the Season," relives the many holiday seasons that he worked. The second, "The Wire Room," brings us back to an era in which staff photographers were called upon to perform ancillary tasks such as working in the wire photo room. "Chirp, chirp."

Finally, next month The Digital Journalist will publish our 100th monthly issue. This milestone makes us one of the longest-standing sites on the World Wide Web. One of the things we would like to do is to run comments from you, our readers, that will address how you feel about this publication. Has it made a difference to you? Do you have any suggestions? Please let us know.

You can send your e-mails to me at dhalstead@dvnetwork.net .

We hope you enjoy this issue. And Happy New Year 2006.

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher

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