Welcome by Dirck Halstead - The Digital Journalist (April 2007)
The Digital Journalist

The Digital Journalist

Letter from
the Publisher

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

The changes in visual journalism are now coming at a fast and furious clip. Dave Metz, the former director of Pro Markets for Canon, recently said that the shift from still to video photojournalism would come five times faster than the shift from film to digital. The best example of how radically this landscape is changing can be seen at The Dallas Morning News. David Leeson, a former Platypus student, is in charge of the transition from still to video by the Morning News photographers. We spent two days at the newspaper and went out on assignment with their photographers, then watched them in the edit suite. We feature the work of the photographers of The Dallas Morning News, with an appreciation by Director of Photography Leslie White, who talks about their new direction, one which promises to ultimately change the face of daily newspapers.

Photographer Yannis Kontos has attempted to make several trips to North Korea, probably the most difficult place on the face of the globe for photographers to work in. After repeatedly trying to enter as a journalist, he made two trips as a tourist. Minders were watching him constantly, so he was forced to take pictures covertly, by doing things like putting his camera on a timer. He has come up with a remarkable report, which we share in an extensive gallery of his photos from within "the Hermit Kingdom." Marianne Fulton tells us how it was done.

LIFE magazine is once again dead. It has gone from being the flagship of photojournalism as a weekly publication with a circulation of more than 7 million a week, to its latest incarnation as little more than a brochure printed as a supplement by newspapers. Contributing Editor David Friend takes a look at the dismal saga of a once great publication.

Our April Dispatch from Derek Flood looks at the conflict in and over Kashmir, a hotbed of long-standing tensions between India and Pakistan. The predominantly Muslim population is governed by the secular government of India. Since 1989, militant Islamic forces, including elements of al Qaida and the Taliban, have used terrorism in an effort to drive India out of the region and establish Islamic rule.

In March, we held the 17th Platypus Workshop at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Ventura, Calif., to teach the principles of video to still photographers. Photographer Larry C. Price gives us a report on what this supercharged "boot camp" is like. You can watch examples of the work of the Platypaii in our "Platypus Theatre." The next workshop will be held at the Maine Photo Workshops, from July 22-Aug. 4.

E-Bits Editor Beverly Spicer presents digital video creations from several animators. The subject is visionary predictions from the past, a take on the present and what could be in store for the future. The creative team at JibJab takes punches at the news media with "What We Call The News." George Orwell predicted Big Brother would be watching, and it turns out he was correct. A European pair of animators named David Scharf and Stephen Taylor respond to the idea of Big Brother in a clever, 3-minute video, and talented animators Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson look into the future of consolidated media and information, target date 2015.

Jim Gabour continues his coverage of the desperate chronicle of his beloved New Orleans, and tells us why we can't let this story go away.

In our Camera Corner Chick Harrity reviews the new Hewlett Packard 9180 printer. It's HP's first pigment ink printer in the A3+ size and it raises the archival bar by claiming 200-year longevity as well as waterproof prints when used with the quick-drying HP Advanced Photo paper.

Our prolific Executive Editor, Ron Steinman, offers not one but two pithy commentaries this month. The first examines our "Age of Manipulation" while the other, "News From the Photo Agencies," explores the role of Magnum Photos in today's world of citizen journalists.

Contributing Editor Peter Howe also has something to say this month. He writes: "One of the few interesting aspects of hearing loss is the fact that people get angry with you for having it. They take the fact that you can't hear them personally, as if you're not listening instead of not hearing. Mind you, with me at least it's only individuals that I can't hear. With George Bush it's the entire country."

Our regular columnists, PF Bentley, Bill Pierce, Chuck Westfall, Jim Colburn, Mark Loundy and Terry Heaton are all their posts again for this issue.

"Marking Your Territory," by retired Newsday (N.Y.) photographer Dick Kraus, talks about news photographers who cover specific territories. It is probably the same whether you cover a town or a county for a small, regional paper, or City Hall or the White House for a major market. See if the description fits you in this month's Assignment Sheet feature in The Digital Journalist.

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We hope you enjoy this issue.

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher

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