Looking forward from the growth of 2019
By William Snyder, Chair, Best of Photojournalism
The 2020 Best of Photojournalism contest — Visual Journalism That Educates and Illuminates — will open for entries from Dec. 25 through Jan. 26 at midnight EST. It’s not too soon to get your work organized to enter this premier photojournalism contest. The judging will be in Athens, Georgia, in February. We gratefully welcome Sony back as our banner sponsor.
Building on the successes of 2019, some changes will be introduced in the divisions. We will combine all the judging — broadcast/television, stills, online and picture editing — into one weekend with multiple judging panels. We are also updating the broadcast division categories to more accurately reflect what’s happening in the industry, as well as refining the still division categories.
We are also unveiling a new BOP logo — here on this page! — to distinguish us from other contests. I hope you like it!
The most recent BOP contest was marked with numerous changes and improvements that most members may not know about or remember.
The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, under the guidance of Mark Johnson, built a new entry system in record time that worked incredibly well. There were no major outages, and entries flowed smoothly into the system.
Our Online, Still Editing and Stills division chairs refined the divisions and category definitions. They also did an excellent job of gathering some of the most diverse judging panels in our contest’s history. It was talked about on social media and helped garner positive attention for BOP.
In 2019, we instituted an entry fee for non-NPPA members, and that continues in 2020. Contest entry is free for NPPA members in good standing, however. Nonmembers may enter by joining NPPA or paying the $75 entry fee.
There were over 240 awards, including seven Sony cameras, Tiffany crystals and nearly $10,000 in prize money. You can expect more of this in 2020, with details to be released soon.
All judging was hosted at Grady over two weekends. Johnson put out a call for volunteers to our NPPA student chapters across the country. UGA/Grady graciously paid expenses for the half-dozen students, who were a tremendous help throughout the judging. Additionally, Johnson rallied over a dozen UGA students to help with support and logistics. We couldn’t have done it so smoothly without all their help.
Again in 2020, we will do live webcasts via YouTube to hear discussions by the judges, which also addresses NPPA’s educational mandate. It is very important for students and professionals to hear the discussions by the onsite judges to understand the thought processes involved so that they may also improve their work and entries in the future. We are extremely pleased with the outcomes of 2019 and will continue to build on our successes.
UGA/Grady held a dinner during the week for all the judges, division chairs and UGA officials. The event allowed everyone to meet and discuss trends in the industry and in the contest. It also reinforced the great diversity of the panels
We have two rounds of judging to reduce the number of entries that the onsite judges experience. This allows more discussion time for each round, which also helps with our educational mandate.
The first-round of judging was held online, and images were ranked. After all the judging was complete, we looked at the rankings by the first round judges and compared them to onsite judges. With only two exceptions, the top 10 were the same with both panels of judges.
The online judging is also an opportunity to offer major contest experience for potential future judges without the pressure of live judging or having to choose awards. This helps deepen the judging “bench” as the contest grows from year to year.
The 2019 NPPA Video Awards were combined with the first West Coast Workshop in June in San Diego, which was organized by Joe Little of NBC 7. Its success bodes well for future award ceremonies.
We are in the process of choosing a location and date for the 2020 TV Awards. The awards banquet for other divisions will be in Atlanta. Details for each event will be announced soon.
Given the positive feedback, we intend to build upon our successes. With Sony as our sponsor, a new entry system and a new host site, we are confident that BOP 2020 will continue to grow for our members and photojournalism communities at large. ■