Monday, 16 November 2009

The Digital Journalist

There is a common myth that all content on the web is or should be free. Ultimately someone has to create this content at the expense of their time and business overheads. Everyone has to make a living in order to survive and if we don't make money from what we do, we have to find other sources of income.

This morning I received the email below from Dirck Halstead, publisher of The Digital Journalist. As you'll see, what for many of us has become essential reading over the years, may come to an end as Canon are no longer prepared to supports Dirck's work.

Think carefully before you subscribe to the plethora of free information on the web. Is there a donate button to help the publisher of the information continue publishing? Does the information add value to your work and in turn make money for you, r just give you pleasure? If so, give something back.

Here's Dirck's letter:

I am afraid that the December issue of The Digital Journalist may be our final issue, at least for a while.

As many of you on our mailing list know, The Digital Journalist has been online producing our monthly magazine, about visual journalism, for 12 years. During 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.

We have also sponsored over 37 Platypus Workshops around the world, which have taught photojournalists how to cope with and adapt to these industry changes.

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.

Even before Canon's decision we were planning to reorganize. We are aware of how seriously a lot of our readers, who make their living from photojournalism, have been hit by the recession through the failures and cutbacks of countless publications, magazines and newspapers, as well as TV and cable. Our reorganization goal is not only to continue publishing The Digital Journalist, but to provide funding in order to send photographers out into the world to do their work, documenting the important stories that shape our lives and history.

Such an ambitious undertaking requires serious fundraising efforts on our part.

So we are asking you, our loyal readers, numbering more than 10,000, to help us raise these funds. Effective immediately, we have set up a PayPal link on The Digital Journalist ( http://digitaljournalist.org/pledge.html ) and urgently ask for your pledges so that we can continue the work which will help us all. We have never solicited paid subscriptions, but these dire times call for dire measures.

If you value The Digital Journalist, this is the time to step up and make a pledge. If enough people do, we may be able to keep The Digital Journalist -- and video journalism -- alive. Consider it as an investment in yourself, and the future.

Thank you all for your loyalty over the past years. We appreciate your continued support, and look forward to seeing you on the Web.
Sincerely,

Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher

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