The Digital Journalist

The Digital Journalist

Letter from
the Publisher

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

The cover for this month is "Taming the Yellow Dragon" by James Whitlow Delano. His extensive, breathtaking photos take us on a trip through the Gobi Desert where China seems to be losing its battle to halt the ever-moving sands from burying villages in their relentless path. Delano's photos are in stark black and white. They create a story that seems to be from another planet. Along with Delano's own introduction, we have a special appreciation of his work by Donald Winslow that is also in this month's issue of the National Press Photographers Association's News Photographer magazine.

For our second feature, we have Mary Calvert of The Washington Times, the recent winner of NPPA's Best of Photojournalism 2007's "Photojournalist of the Year (small markets)" award. We present three sets of her prize-winning essays: Trail of Tears, Hungry All the Time, and Lost Daughters. Dirck Halstead wrote the introduction to her moving gallery of photos.

We especially recommend the streaming video interview that accompanies this feature, in which Mary talks candidly about her experiences as a photographer for The Washington Times. It is inspirational for all young photographers, especially journalism students.

The massacre at Virginia Tech is still fresh in our minds, as it should be. As an extra this month, Jim Gabour, in his moving piece entitled "This Is Personal," reminds us of a similar horrible event in which members of his family were killed and seriously injured in the Texas Tower shootings many years ago. Then in "Cutting Loose," Jim continues his storytelling from New Orleans to remind us that we should never forget the lives lived in that once-thriving community.

Our editor and publisher, Dirck Halstead, along with contributing editor PF Bentley, recently visited the NAB convention in Las Vegas. Dirck wrote the overview and PF Bentley tells us about some new "gee whiz" toys to make our lives more exciting in the digital age.

In his second anniversary installment of Tech Tips, the ever-helpful Chuck Westfall continues to share his expertise and user-friendly advice in his Q&A column.

In Dispatches by Marianne Fulton, Jay L. Clendenin arrives at Virginia Tech the day of the killings and contemplates his place in the press corps. Max Whittaker vividly recounts his experiences during a difficult military operation in Afghanistan. John Gilhooley makes career decisions about what type of work he can devote himself to, and musicians win. Ali Akbar Shirjian returns to Lorestan province in Iran to describe the elements and philosophy of a religious ceremony. And Michel de Groot reports on a newer refugee camp set up because of the genocide in Sudan that is now spreading into Chad.

E-Bits editor Beverly Spicer writes about U-turns and critical mass, a recent visit with the Dalai Lama, choices and transformation. She presents a PowerPoint tour of Dubai and NASA photos of the earth from space.

Dirck Halstead has been touring the country the past few months, promoting his book, MOMENTS IN TIME. He has done dozens of interviews, talking about his life and career and The Digital Journalist. We have selected one in particular, an interview he did with Kathleen Dunn of Wisconsin Public Radio. We have included it in this issue as an MP3 file. We think you will enjoy it.

Op-ed columns from Peter Howe, PF Bentley and Ron Steinman are almost all about the state of news today, about what bodes for the business in the future, and how those in authority are relentlessly breathing down our necks.

Acclaimed photographer James Nachtwey recently received the TED Prize for his wide-ranging body of work. We include the links to his acceptance speech and to his TED wish, an important part of the prize. We think his illustrated speech gives important insight into Nachtwey, the man and the photographer.

Our regular columnists Bill Pierce, Mark Loundy, Terry Heaton, and James Colburn, as well as Karen Slattery and Mark Doremus with their Ethics column, are present as usual with provocative thoughts on a wide range of subjects.

Assignment Sheet for May offers a speculative view of photos and stories that make the news. It's called "What If" by Dick Kraus, a retired staffer from Newsday (N.Y.).

Then there is this, the last for the best. The faculty of the University of Missouri School of Journalism has awarded Dirck Halstead the 2007 Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism. As a recipient of this award, Dirck Halstead joins, among others, Winston Churchill, Walter Cronkite, Gordon Parks, Reza, and Helen Thomas.

We hope you enjoy this issue.

Ron Steinman
Executive Editor

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher

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