NPPA Founder’s Award
The Founder's Award is the highest honor bestowed by NPPA. Our association exists because of the efforts of Joseph Costa — NPPA's founder, first president, and longtime volunteer and supporter. Those who came after him shared his passions for the very best visual journalism, and excellence in leadership and service. NPPA warmly welcomes honorees of this award into this decades-long legacy of keeping the visual journalism profession and NPPA strong and vibrant.
The Founder's Award celebrates and recognizes the careers, achievements and contributions of the most deserving individuals in our field. Those to be considered for this award are visual journalists, including editors and team leaders, who rise to the top of the profession by their conduct, initiative, leadership, skill, and devotion to duty. Also worthy of consideration are individuals who are not working visual journalists but have made contributions through service or achievement beneficial to visual journalism, or for advancing the technology or techniques utilized by visual journalists.
NPPA Distinguished Service Award
This award recognizes an NPPA volunteer, contractor or employee for their instrumental and invaluable service to the operational, programmatic and strategic needs of the association.
NPPA First Amendment Award presented by Alicia Calzada
This award recognizes individuals who have embraced and lived NPPA's mission of vigorously promoting freedom of the press in all its forms, to promote and advance the First Amendment especially as it relates to visual journalists. The award is presented by Alicia Wagner Calzada, a past president of NPPA, the founder and longtime chair of NPPA's Advocacy Committee, and currently, an attorney who practices media law.
NPPA Ethics Award presented by John Long
This award recognizes individuals who have embraced and lived NPPA's mission of upholding and promoting the ethical responsibilities and practices relating to visual journalism. The award is presented by John Long, a past president of NPPA and longtime chair of NPPA's Ethics committee.
NPPA Innovation Award
This award recognizes individuals who discover, develop or pioneer new and emerging technologies, techniques or strategies to help visual journalism reach new heights.
NPPA Longevity Award
This award recognizes a visual journalist who has completed at least 40 years of service in the visual journalism profession, whether or not they are a member of NPPA.
NPPA Mentorship Award
This award recognizes an individual who has served as an outstanding mentor, either to a specific individual or to the visual journalism community in general.
NPPA President’s Award
This award is given at the discretion of the NPPA president for special services and support rendered to NPPA.
NPPA Special Citation
This award recognizes individuals or organizations for their significant contributions that advance the interests of visual journalism and the NPPA.
NPPA Educator of the Year Award
This award recognizes an individual for their outstanding work as a visual journalism educator, helping their students reach their full potential.
NPPA Humanitarian Award
This award recognizes an individual for playing a key role in lifesaving, rescue or protective situations, or other circumstances in which extraordinary compassion or mercy was shown to others in need.
NPPA Outstanding Leader Award
This award recognizes the leadership and advocacy roles visual journalism editors and team leaders play in their newsrooms and communities. This award honors those who facilitate and inspire the best work from visual storytellers and advocate for its publication and best use in a multitude of ways. Independent editors and leaders outside traditional workplaces are also eligible.
NPPA Outstanding Student Chapter
This award recognizes one NPPA student chapter for excellence in serving students of visual journalism with highly engaging and beneficial programming and activities.
NPPA Community Award
This award recognizes an individual's efforts to build community and foster a united and inclusive atmosphere within NPPA and across our broader visual journalism industry.
Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award
Established in 1949, this is the highest honor in the field of visual journalism. The award recognizes an individual who advances and elevates the visual journalism profession by conduct, initiative, leadership, skill, and devotion to duty.
Established in 1954, this award is given to an individual for most outstanding initiative, leadership and service in advancing the goals of NPPA in the tradition of Joseph Costa, a founder of NPPA, its first President and Chairman of the Board.
Alicia Calzada First Amendment Award
In keeping with the NPPA's mission of vigorously promoting freedom of the press in all its forms, this award recognizes an individual who has worked to promote and advance the First Amendment, especially as it relates to news photographers. The award is named after NPPA past president Alicia Wagner Calzada, the founder and longtime chair of NPPA's Advocacy committee, who is now an attorney specializing in media law.
John Long Ethics Award
The Long award honors an individual who has, through his or her efforts, upheld, shaped, and promoted ethical behavior in all forms of visual journalism.
Clifton Edom Award
Established in 1991, this award recognizes an individual in the tradition of Cliff Edom to inspire and motivate members of the visual journalism community to reach new heights.
Morris Berman Citation
Morris Berman was a past president of the NPPA. Prior to his death in 2002, he attended every one of our conventions. This citation is given to an individual for special contributions advancing the interests of visual journalism.
Kenneth P. McLaughlin Award of Merit
This award is given to those rendering continuing outstanding service in the interest of visual journalism, whether or not they are members of the profession.
J. Winton Lemen Award
Awarded for outstanding technical achievement supporting and advancing the best interest of the Visual Journalism community.
Burt Williams Award
The award, in memory of a founder and first national secretary, is given to a news photographer chosen from those nominated, who has completed at least 40 years of service, whether or not they are members of NPPA.
Burt Williams, now deceased, was a photographer for the Cleveland News and Plain Dealer, the Pittsburgh Press and the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph.
John Durniak Mentor Citation
Awarded to an individual who has served as an outstanding mentor, either to a specific individual or to photojournalism in general. Nominations for this award are to come from working photojournalists. The recipient of the award may have, but not need not have, any formal connection to photojournalism.
The President's Award is awarded at the discretion of the president for special services to NPPA.
NPPA Special Citation
These special citations are awarded to individuals for making significant contributions that advance the interests of visual journalism.
Robin F. Garland Educator Award
The award is given for outstanding service as a photojournalism educator.
The Humanitarian Award is presented to an individual for playing a key role in the saving of lives or in rescue situations.
Jim Gordon Editor of the Year Award
Given to the editor(s) of an outstanding newspaper, magazine, video, movie, website, book, or other publication or broadcast that supports and promotes strong visual journalism, and best use of photography, and whose individual dedication and efforts have moved visual journalism's standards forward while also advancing the best interests of all photographers.
Samuel Mellor Award
The citation honors the memory of NPPA's second national treasurer (1948-1950), who set an example of devotion to NPPA ideals. The award is given to the regional associate director (formerly regional secretary-treasurer) judged most outstanding in the performance of his or her duties. The Mellor award was retired by the board in 2016.
Outstanding Student Chapter