Welcome to the October 2006 Issue of The Digital Journalist by Dirck Halstead - The Digital Journalist (October 2006)
The Digital Journalist

The Digital Journalist

Letter from
the Publisher

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

It was not even a tiny footnote of the tragedy of 9/11, but one of the casualties of that event was a book. It was not destined to be a best-seller, but for a generation of Americans it would have been a touchstone for their lives. Called I and Eye: Pictures of My Generation, it was a photographic memoir by Peter Simon of his experiences growing up in the "turned on, tuned out" Sixties. Peter, the brother of singer Carly Simon, was a young photographer working for magazines like Rolling Stone, who not only documented this era, but lived it as well. The book had been scheduled to go on sale nationwide in bookstores on that fateful day. So, unfortunately, few ever got to see it, let alone buy it. We met Peter earlier this year at a lecture he gave to an audience at the Center For American History at the University of Texas in Austin, and were thrilled by his photographs and touched by his experiences. We now bring you his story, and a belated tribute to I and Eye, along with a streaming video interview.

In the past few months, our issues have been filled with photographs of violence from conflict areas around the world. This issue gives us a chance to let you and us step back and take a deep breath to contemplate beauty and artistry. Jay Mather, a photographer for the Sacramento Bee in California, has spent the last few years photographing the Sacramento Ballet. Like many of our readers, Jay suggested the story to us. Our Executive Editor, Peter Howe, who also loves dance, commented that photographing ballet is one of the hardest things to cover. It is like sports, in that the artists must be in top physical shape and in control of their art. But unlike football for example, which is played either in broad daylight or brightly lit stadiums, ballet is conducted on dimly lit stages, necessitating slow shutter speeds. Further, unlike sports, the action must be captured at the apex of the movement. Timing and sensitivity are paramount. We hope that you are as taken with the results of Jay's work as we are.

In October Dispatches presents pieces written by photographers of many nationalities—Roger Arnold, American; Mike Fox, English; Shaul Schwarz, Israeli; Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, Scottish; and Véronique de Viguerie, French—on a wide variety of important topics. Three of these resulted directly from Perpignan's international Visa Pour l'Image gathering of photojournalists last month. Dispatches is published in cyberspace and is open to all.

Lance Rosenfield is a 33-year-old "passionate" photographer dying to take the leap from his income-earning job as an engineer to full-time photographer and still pay his bills (sound familiar?). He got a step closer to his dream last month by becoming one of eight hand-picked photographers to take part in an inspiring workshop created by renowned photographer David Alan Harvey. Lance writes about his "incredible week" at the workshop, designed "for the strong only looking to get stronger."

In our commentary section, Ron Steinman reviews Katie Couric's new role at CBS News, while Jim Gabour sends us another of his thoughtful Letters From New Orleans, this time exploring the affinity and resilience shared by inhabitants of both war-torn Beirut and post-Katrina New Orleans. We encourage you send e-mails to Jim to tell him that we have not forgotten the residents of the Crescent City.

Shield laws are discussed in this month's Ethics column by Mark Doremus and Karen Slattery. They focus on a California man who is imprisoned for refusing to turn over his video outtakes of a possible crime in progress for a federal grand jury. Is that fair?

Bill Pierce writes in Nuts & Bolts about the evolution of inkjet printers and their role in archival prints. Mark Loundy has his latest Common Cents column, and Terry Heaton continues his series on TV in the Postmodern World. Chuck Westfall provides more helpful advice in his latest Tech Tips column, and Jim Colburn laments being a left-eyed shooter in his column, "The Tyranny of the Right."

This month E-Bits Editor Beverly Spicer has a lot to say about broadcast television newscasts. She breaks it down into real news, non-news, old news and fake news, and correctly points out that The Digital Journalist is always looking for something to happen. She presents a compendium of video clips from the last week of September, when something seemed like it was happening.

Dick Kraus continues his rant about ethics in this month's Assignment Sheet feature. It's called "Ethics. When Is Enough Too Much?" This time he goes into more specifics about what you can do and what you should do when working on news photos with Photoshop. He illustrates this journal with some altered photos from his personal collection to make some points. It is a controversial discourse which is sure to raise some hackles and your comments are solicited. He wants to know how you feel about the issues he raises.

Also in this month's Assignment Sheet, Mark Neuling, a videographer for CNBC, suddenly became a Platypus when at a recent high-profile press conference it was announced that only still photos would be allowed. Mark explains his sudden transformation in his journal, "The Trojan Horse."

Lorraine Branham, the Director of the School of Journalism at the University of Texas, Austin, announces in a special column in this issue that the School is becoming an official sponsor and partner with The Digital Journalist as we continue to reach out to the educational world. For the past year, the school has provided our server that allows us to publish these issues. In 2004, the school, along with The Center For American History, also at UT, joined with us to sponsor a two-day seminar on how photojournalists covered the Iraq War. Our Executive Editor, Peter Howe, moderated the seminars, which included speakers like David and Peter Turnley, Ron Haviv, David Leeson and Cheryl Diaz Meyer. We intend to sponsor future events like this, and you will see exciting new initiatives announced in education and photojournalism in the months ahead. We welcome the school as a partner.

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher

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