Welcome to the February 2006 Issue by Dirck Halstead- The Digital Journalist
The Digital Journalist

The Digital Journalist

Letter from
the Publisher

Welcome to issue number 100 of The Digital Journalist, the monthly online magazine for visual journalism.

Don Winslow, the editor of News Photographer magazine, offers some perspective of just what this milestone means in a column this month: "What does it all mean, one might ask, these 100 issues of The Digital Journalist published on the Internet since October 1997? It means photojournalism's oral history is also still alive and well, archived and available to the world of students and professionals ... It also represents in the very best way the best of our craft; it honors our mentors; it recognizes the exceptional work that's been missed by the limelight; it calls out good editors for their years of service that often go unnoticed, because the work of a good editor is nearly invisible to everyone but the photographer."

In our editorial, we look back at how dramatically visual journalism has totally changed across print, television and the Web since our first issue.

Dennis Dunleavy, professor of photojournalism at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Ore., tracks those changes in a special essay and offers a thoughtful analysis of the history of the digital camera in journalism.

Have you ever wondered why it is that so many talented and famous writers and editors keep showing up regularly in our pages? Ron Steinman, for one, knows why he does, and shares his experiences in writing for The Digital Journalist. It's an inspiring read.

For our cover story, we open with a project, Falkland Road, that was originally done 27 years ago by photo legend Mary Ellen Mark. A breathtaking new version of her book will be reprinted in March. Peter Howe offers an appreciation of this classic essay done in Bombay brothels, while in streaming video Mary Ellen talks about her work, then and now.

Our second feature showcases the work of a new photographer, Alec Soth, who was invited to join Magnum as a nominee after his first book, Sleeping By the Mississippi, was published last year. His second major project, Niagara, will be published next month by Steidl Press. Soth calls Niagara an exploration of love and relationships, shot at a place where there is "big passion, like the waterfalls." Roger Richards interviewed Soth as he was preparing for a major exhibition of his Niagara photographs at the Gagosian Gallery in New York City.

Karen Ballard, an award-winning photographer based in Washington, D.C., offers another example of how a photography career can be changed by a story. Her photographs have appeared in various news magazines including Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Paris Match, Stern and other major publications. She was featured here on The Digital Journalist ["The Girl Who Shot Saddam"] after getting the exclusive shots of Saddam Hussein as he appeared before an Iraqi judge in the summer of 2004. Last summer she spent three months working with Steven Spielberg on his epic movie "Munich." Karen writes about what it is like to go from the frontlines of journalism to the imaginary world of filmmaking.

In "Dispatches" this month, four photographers cover a variety of subjects and share their experiences: Nancy Kaszerman on working the red carpet on Broadway; Mark Allen Johnson on his story about meth addicts; Paul Taggart on tracking an illegal Japanese whaling boat and Luis Sinco on going into a notorious Salvadoran prison to photograph members of the nihilistic MS-13 gang.

In his "Nuts and Bolts" column Bill Pierce comments, "For those who think more is better, 'THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION' is a godsend. For those who think more is more, the final judgment will be a little more complex..."

In this month's "Ethics" column, Karen Slattery writes about how the boundaries of journalism have been blurred in the past decade by ready access to digital equipment and the World Wide Web.

Mark Loundy offers advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of predatory business practices and continues his list of the "Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" in photojournalism. Terry Heaton continues to inspire with his "TV News In the Post Modern World" column, and Chuck Westfall is back to answer your questions in his photog-friendly column, "Tech Tips."

While technology may help us to ponder or deal with reality, it can also help us to escape. Our "E-Bits" editor Beverly Spicer, with her usual potpourri of video clips and biting commentary, ponders the origins of contemporary reality, shows us some technological and mechanical wonders, and finds a moonwalker in nature.

"Assignment Sheet" for this special anniversary issue of The Digital Journalist is pleased to present three journals for your pleasure. The first one, entitled "Trust," is by Evansville (Ind.) Courier & Press staff photographer Denny Simmons. He writes about the difficulties and emotions faced by journalists when covering funerals. Those of us who have had such assignments know this to be true. Simmons shows us graphically how trust is a vital part of being successful. Joyce Lin, a young photojournalism student and assistant photo editor at UCLA's Daily Bruin in Los Angeles, is now faced with life-altering decisions, now that graduation is approaching and she is not sure which direction to take. She talks about her indecision in her journal, "Dealing With Darkness." The third journal is another "Through a Lens Dimly" remembrance by retired photojournalist Dick Kraus, who recalls working with some of the eccentric writers and reporters at his paper. We're certain that you have had similar occurrences in your career. If you haven't yet, hang in there. You will. Read "Working With Dorrie."

Finally, as you can tell, a lot of energy and hard work goes into these issues. The reward that our contributors, editors and writers get for their efforts is the feedback they get from you, the readers. Take a moment to drop them a note to let them know you appreciate them. It wouldn't hurt to let our sponsors know too.

We hope you enjoy this special issue.

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher

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