Welcome by Ron Steinman - The Digital Journalist (September 2007)
The Digital Journalist

The Digital Journalist

Letter from
the Publisher

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

The month began early for us with the start of our new segment called "Breaking News" in which we successfully revealed that many photos claimed by recently deceased photographer Joe O'Donnell were not his to claim. We plan to use this segment whenever we believe we have something special to pass on to our readers that they may not read about anywhere else. So, as the saying goes, stay tuned for future revelations.

For our main feature, former National Geographic photographer Steve Raymer, in his "Images of a Journey: India in Diaspora" cover story, gives a look in words and pictures of some of the more than 25 million Indians who have left the sub-continent in search of a better life. There is also an accompanying essay by Nayan Chanda that further puts Raymer's photos into context.

Our second feature could not be timelier. With the 6th anniversary of 9/11 looming, Allan Tannenbaum, in his "The Hidden Victims of 9/11" feature, also in words and moving photos, documents the sick and dying first responders and others who worked for days and weeks on the destroyed site where the Twin Towers once stood. Tannenbaum writes, "A health crisis of epic proportions is emerging, caused by the attack itself and the government response to the attacks."

E-Bits Editor Beverly Spicer comments on the current state of photographic workshops and conferences, and thinks the evolution of photojournalism from still to video journalism is a process nearly complete. She presents the latest news from photo conferences and will keep us informed via her blog on the Visa Pour l'Image international photojournalism festival this month in Perpignan, France.

In Dispatches, Marianne Fulton presents three dispatches: Dai Kurokawa reporting on the Thailand-Burma border. ["We have chosen to stay with Kurokawa's use of 'Burma,' though most media refer to the country by the military government's choice of 'Myanmar.' People in the adjacent countries do not use the imposed name—it is a political choice. And, as I understand it, the U.S. government does not recognize the name or government."] Michael A. Shapiro visited Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, staying with a remarkable family who helps many children while dealing with the alcoholism of a son. In Afghanistan, David Bathgate observes heroin addiction and sees firsthand one of the country's very few treatment centers.

Leica has in the marketplace the digital M8. We are fortunate to have two reviews of this much-anticipated camera. One is by our own Roger Richards and the other review is by photographer Bruno Stevens, who took the camera with him on a six-week assignment in Iran. Rogers' and Stevens' opinions, reached independently, are that the camera, despite a few weaknesses, is wonderful.

In our "Photojournalism" section, Mark Loundy in Common Cents offers sound advice to community-based photographers; Bill Pierce in Nuts and Bolts discusses his abiding love and search for the best camera bag he can find; PF Bentley discusses compression, what he has learned, its value and benefits. And, as always, Chuck Westfall's Tech Tips offers helpful and insightful answers to our readers' questions.

In their Ethics column this month, "No Good Reason to Duck and Cover," Mark Doremus and Karen Slattery discuss transparency and accountability as two very important tenets of journalism.

Peter Howe has a personal column about politics, America, 9/11, and as tough as things appear, he has hope for the future.

In our "New Media" section, Terry Heaton has another provocative essay about TV in the postmodern world, while Ron Steinman writes about the simplicity of political campaigns in the past and, because of the Internet, their complexity today.

In two lifestyle essays, Jim Gabour's Letter From New Orleans takes us back to a time before Katrina when he worked on a commercial in his home city. In "Reel Love," we hear from Francene Cucinello, a new contributor, about her fascination, weakness and attraction to photojournalists. Told with a smile on her face, it is a good laugh, nonetheless.

In the September issue of Assignment Sheet, CNBC videographer Mark Neuling talks about a typical day in the business – or at least as much as there is a typical day where journalism is concerned. But, for newsbies and just plain folk who wonder about the process of getting pictures and sound on the air, reading Mark's "A Few Days in the Life" will explain it all.

Also in Assignment Sheet, retired Newsday staff photographer Dick Kraus continues his thread on "Life Before Digital (Continued) (Once Again)" with a discourse on how communication between photographer and Photo Desk has gone from two tin cans and a string to cell phones.

There is now a new way you can help support The Digital Journalist and The Digital Filmmaker. As of this issue, we are partnering with B&H, probably the world's biggest camera store. They ship around the world. We have designated them as the exclusive Platypus resource store. You can get anything you need for video, lighting, computers, digital and more. We are linking all our current Camera Corner reviews to B&H. We get a small commission on these sales if you come in through The Digital Journalist. So please buy through us so that we can continue to bring you these resources.

We hope you enjoy this issue that we believe has something for everyone.

Ron Steinman
Executive Editor

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