Letter from the Publisher

July 2009

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

Ten years ago, The Digital Journalist published an editorial about what then was a highly controversial subject, called "The Death of Photojournalism". This month we revisit the subject to see how many of our predictions turned out to be true, and what the state of the industry is as we near the end of the first decade of the 21st century. In our article this month we recall that in 1999, we "were seeing cracks in the dam. Today, the whole damned dam is gone."

It's summer – flags are flying, and bands are playing across the United States. But photographer Nina Berman has been taking a closer look at where this patriotic fervor can lead. In our feature this month, Nina surveys this "Homeland" in a penetrating cover essay of America's "security state."

"Pools" have been with us in journalism for a long time. Traditionally they are used when there is not enough space to accommodate hoards of cameras or reporters. Pools, for example, provide almost all daily coverage at the White House. However, lately local TV stations, which have always been in competition with each other, are pooling their resources to cover local news events, simply to save money. Executive Editor Ron Steinman looks at what is becoming a plague in the news industry in his article, "The Drowning Pool." Incidentally, we are proud to announce that Barnes & Noble is republishing Ron's 10-year-old book, "The Soldiers' Story," in its highly respected "Barnes & Noble Rediscover" series. The book is available online and in Barnes & Noble bookstores.

Rick Smolan, the co-creator of the "A Day in the Life" photo books, has come up with yet another revolutionary idea in publishing, which is on-demand personalized editions of his new book, "The Obama Time Capsule: History in the Making." We take a look at this bold new experiment in collaborative publishing.

David Lykes Keenan, the head of the Austin Center for Photography, and a die-hard Leica addict, takes an in-depth look at the new Leica M8-2, the second-generation M8, which Keenan says has "made lemonade out of a lemon."

For July we have four dispatches: Roshan Norouzi tells the story of the Iranian election campaigns; Derek Henry Flood was in Los Angeles when Michael Jackson's death was announced; Tim Matsui provides a window into his documentary work on the global nature of human trafficking, and on the island of Malta Marios Stavrou reports on the influx of Africans arriving in dangerous, overcrowded boats.

E-Bits editor Beverly Spicer writes this month about the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph, the Twitter Revolution in Iran after the June 12 presidential election, the human condition, and the commencing of cyberwars.

Assignment Sheet has a story that Dick Kraus, retired Newsday staff photographer, has been wanting to publish for almost 50 years. Read his "Cliffy and the Widow Brown" and you will understand why.

In her piece, "No Place Like Home," Eileen Douglas muses on how the loss of a journalist's job and the day-to-day life in the newsroom carries a deeper cost and is, for many, like the loss of a home.

Our regular columnists, David Burnett, Bill Pierce, Mark Loundy, Chuck Westfall, Terry Heaton and ethicists Karen Slattery and Mark Doremus, are all aboard as we cast off for our summer cruise.

We hope you enjoy this issue.

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher