Letter from the Publisher

September 2008

Welcome to the September 2008 issue of The Digital Journalist, the monthly magazine for visual journalism.

This issue marks the 11th anniversary of the magazine's birth. Over the years, it has grown and evolved and, yes, survived, despite tough economic times. We gratefully owe it all to Canon, our loyal sponsor over the years, and to Hewlett Packard who shared the dream and helped us "invent" The Digital Journalist, and provided server support for many years, and to the School of Journalism at The University of Texas which provides the server support that allows us to publish these issues. Of course, we owe it to you, our readers, as well. We value your loyalty, and welcome your input via the new comment boxes that accompany each article.

Though the political conventions are only recently concluded, the memory of each will be with us as the presidential campaign moves into its final months. Photojournalist Steve Simon, on assignment for The Digital Journalist, covered the Democratic and Republican conventions. In words and pictures, he gives us his unique take of what went on in Denver and St. Paul.

Despite the end of the Beijing Olympics, we are fortunate to have a photo gallery and essay by Vincent Laforet. In his own inimitable style, he gives us a look at some of the people and events without the hype and intrusive clutter of television.

Keeping with our theme of recording events through the eye of the camera, Eileen Douglas reports on two women filmmakers and the difficult path they took to make a documentary film about one of the more volatile places in the world, Kashmir. Their film, "Project Kashmir," is the result. Along with the photos included in the essay there is also a video excerpt from the movie.

I look at the new rules that govern how reporters and photographers can cover the war in Iraq. The government calls these rules embedding and in my view these regulations only enhance the difficulties of covering the war. The idea of embedding is creeping into other areas where the press usually works unimpeded. I see the concept of embedding as a potential danger to freedom of the press in the future.

Dispatches this month is replete with four timely pieces as we tour the globe for a look at how it was to work in China during the Olympics by Jean Chung, a report on the Maoist uprising in India by Jason Motlagh, and two reports from Georgia, one by Chris Hondros on Russia's recent invasion of Georgia, and the other, by Tarik Tinazay, about the refugees as a result of the war.

Beverly Spicer, our E-Bits editor, has just returned from Perpignan, France, after blogging daily from the annual Visa pour l'Image world photo festival. Her first entry appeared in this space Sept. 4, and continued through the end of the festival. Her regular column will return next month.

Continuing with his "In the Presence of Greatness" thread in Assignment Sheet, retired Newsday Staff Photographer Dick Kraus relates an incident where he is assigned to cover an author who was becoming an icon of an era and who happened to be living a few towns away. As usual, Kraus was unaware of the level of fame to which this author would rise and now wishes he could lay his hands on some of the photos that he took.

Of course, we have our Common Cents column from Mark Loundy, Tech Tips from Chuck Westfall and Terry Heaton's take on Local Media in a Postmodern Age.

The demand for our Platypus Workshops this year has been amazing. By the end of the year, we will have held five of them, each teaching a dozen photojournalists how to shoot and edit professional video storytelling. To accommodate demand, we conducted two workshops back-to-back at the Maine Media Workshops in July and August. In this month's issue, photojournalists Susan Sterner and Chip East have both contributed their firsthand reports on the workshops. We think you will enjoy their stories. We also present streaming video of the stories that won our "Best Story" and "Best Edit" prizes from both workshops.

There are only a few days left to register for our Platypus Workshop in Chicago in October. We still have a few shoot 'n' edit spots left. With the news industry going through drastic changes, learning this skill set is a valuable form of professional insurance. This is our last domestic workshop of the year, so if you want to learn to do professional HD video, don't delay. To register for the Chicago Workshop, contact: http://www.workshopsinternational.com/film-video/programs/the-hdv-journalist/.

We hope you enjoy this 11th anniversary issue.

Ron Stienman
Executive Editor