AUSTIN, TX (November 15, 2009) – Dirck Halstead, the editor and publisher of The Digital Journalist (www.digitaljournalist.org) told his readers today that the December issue may be the final one.
"Unfortunately, our principal sponsor, Canon, whose market has also been impacted by these turbulent times, has decided they can no longer afford to provide their financial backing to The Digital Journalist. We are very grateful for the generous support they have given us over the years," Halstead wrote in an eMail to his mailing list subscribers.
"The Digital Journalist has been online producing our monthly magazine for visual journalism for 12 years," Halstead said. "In that time we have presented the memorable work of some of the greatest photojournalists in the world, while offering opportunities for publication to many new photographers. Our columns and reviews have taken a 360-degree look at the industry, and predicted much of the upheaval that has taken place as the media around us have been buffeted by the shifting winds of technology, and now, a crippling economic downturn."
Halstead said that there were already plans in place to reorganize The Digital Journalist before Canon dropped their financial support, and that one of his goals in reorganizing was to be able to provide funding to pay for putting some photographers on assignment in the field.
"No one's paying to put photographers on the important stories today, now that Time and Newsweek and other magazines and newspapers have cut back," Halstead told News Photographer magazine this week. "We're hoping The Digital Journalist could be the one to put as many as 10 photographers on 10 important stories per year, if we can find the funding."
This weekend's eMail from Halstead to readers of The Digital Journalist asked for their support to help keep the Web site running after the December issue.
"So, at this point we are asking you, our loyal readers, who number more than 10,000, to help us," Halstead wrote. "Effective immediately, we have set up a Paypal link on The Digital Journalist and urgently ask for pledges so that we can continue our work which will help you all. We have never solicited paid subscriptions, but these dire times call for dire measures."
Halstead hopes that if enough people respond to his plea for support, "we may be able to keep The Digital Journalist – and video journalism – alive." He told News Photographer magazine that if The Digital Journalist goes "on hiatus" the site will remain online, with all of the past issues archived on the Web site.
Some of those who have contributed to The Digital Journalist over the years include the site's executive editor Ronald Steinman, contributing editor Peter Howe, European editor Horst Faas, and producer Mark Wilkie. Columns have been written by Marianne Fulton, the former curator of George Eastman House, and Beverly Spicer, formerly of Texas Monthly magazine. Cecilia White is a senior editor for the site, and Connie White has been the sponsorship director.
For three decades, Halstead was Time magazine's White House photographer before he moved to Austin where he was a senior fellow in photojournalism at The Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. He was Life magazine's youngest combat photographer, covering a civil war in Guatemala when he was only 17. After two years in the U.S. Army, Halstead worked for UPI and was the photo bureau chief in Saigon during the Vietnam War.
Halstead's photographs have graced Time's covers more than any other photographer (47 issues), and he's worked as a photographer on many Hollywood films, producing images from on location as well as major promotional posters. In the 1990s, Halstead began a series of video workshops called "The Platypus" to train still photographers how to shoot video and produce audio for multimedia and broadcast while working as one-man bands.