Best Of Photojournalism 2007 Judges Pick Web Video Editing Winners

Mar 5, 2007

 

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Today judges in the Best Of Photojournalism 2007 competition’s Television division picked winners in the new Web Feature Editing and Web 48-Hour Editing categories at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg. They also started watching the 42 entries in the Ernie Crisp Television News Photographer of the Year category and by the end of the day had picked finalists, and then a winner (who will be announced on Friday).

The Best Of Photojournalism 2007 competition is sponsored again this year by Canon and Avid.

The winning videos can be viewed here on the Poynter Institute's Web site.

In the Web Feature Editing category James Irwin of the San Francisco Chronicle (sfgate.com) won first place for “Prisoners Guide Teens on Tour of San Quentin.” Second place was Ben de la Cruz of Washingtonpost.com for “Being a Black Man: Off the Cuff – The Jailed,” and third place was Travis Fox of Washingtonpost.com for “The Aftermath of Agent Orange.” Honorable mentions were awarded to Stephen McGee of the Detroit Free Press for his stories “Dust Off” and “29 Palms.” Another story by Irwin was a finalist in this category, “Two Dads, Five Sons, Forever Family.”

In the Web 48-Hour Editing category Travis Fox of Washingtonpost.com won first place for “A Day Among the Cherry Blossoms.” Second place went to John Paraskevas of Newsday.com for “Cheering Them On,” and third place was Akira Hakuta of Washingtonpost.com for “Bridezillas Take Mad Dash For Gowns.” An honorable mention was awarded to Hakuta for “Dupont’s Annual Drag Race.” A finalist in this category was “Paths to Escape Perilous for Lebanese,” by Fox.

Yesterday, judges picked Photography winners in the Web Video categories of 48 Hours-Web, News Feature-Web, Sports Feature-Web, and In-Depth Photography-Web. NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism 2007 Competition is sponsored again this year by Canon and Avid.

Merry Murray said that today the TV Photography judges “tackled their most important category, the Ernie Crisp Television News Photographer of the Year entries.” Judges narrowed 42 entries down to eight finalists, then a winner.

“I thought it was going to get better, but it only got worse,” judge Jay Korff commented during the first pass through the entries. Judges picked finalists and then watched those entries again, after which the judges felt a clear winner stood out from the rest. “The winning photographer has their own style. They had a lot of nat [natural] sound pieces and not a lot of reporter involvement, and were able to tell a wonderful story.”

About today’s Web Video Editing winners, “The first place entry [in the Web Feature Editing category], ‘Prisoners Guide Teens on a Tour of San Quentin,’ was an outstanding piece of editing,” judge Michael Humphries said. “The shot selection and natural sound combined to make the story appear seamless. The editing didn’t draw attention to itself and allowed the viewer to go along on a tour of one of America's most infamous prisons.

“Overall, this category had excellent entries. The extra time that the editors had to work on these stories was very evident. Surprisingly, even though the story times in this category were much longer than those in the 48-Hour-Web category, the pacing on most of these pieces was much better. For the most part, they moved well and didn't seem to drag much.

“The one thing that the five finalists had in common over many of the other entries is a definite beginning, middle, and end. Many of the Web stories (both 48 Hour and News Feature) just sort of ‘stop,’ without a definite conclusion to the story.”

About the same category, judge Stephanie Ottjepka said, “‘Being a Black Man: Off the Cuff - The Jailed’ has a wonderful style. The use of double boxes with moving portraits next to the sound bites was very cool. The dips to black worked with the pacing. The interviews and various viewpoints were incredibly interesting.”

About the 48-Hour Editing category, Michael Humphries said, “Picking between first and second place was a tough decision. While ‘Cheering Them On’ is more of a traditional ‘television story,’‘A Day Among the Cherry Blossoms" represents the kind of story that defines what Web stories can be. There is no narration and no traditional ‘story’ is told by a participant or observer in the piece. Instead, it is a slice-of-life piece that uses images and sound to present a video postcard of the well-known blossoming of the cherry trees in Washington, DC. It's probably safe to say that no television station in the country would run a piece like ‘Cherry Blossoms’ in a newscast, but it does fit the Web. It is well edited, with good shot selection, and expertly woven natural sound.


“Editors in this category should keep in mind the fact that while longer pieces are great and the web is an excellent platform for presenting them, the stories need to be edited in such a way that the viewer maintains interest. The pacing on many of the entries felt very slow at times. Tightening some of the natural sound breaks would've helped to pick up the tempo of the pieces.


“Also, the editors should strive to give their stories a definite beginning, middle, and end. Many of the stories in this category lacked good ‘endings’ and left the viewer hanging.”
Ottjepka said, “This was a hard category to judge. I watched this from the perspective of an editor but I also thought about these stories in terms of surfing the Web. Which of these stories would I have been glad to have clicked on and would I forward them on? My favorite for first place is one I will forward to friends. It is a living postcard. It was beautifully shot and edited. Every frame was composed well and some were just stunning. The pacing and the weaving of the natural sound really carried this slice of life moment. It breathed but wasn't indulgent. It had a rhythm and it kept my attention without sound bites or narration. I found the length of the piece to be just right.

“I liked how many of these stories breathed. The duration of the shots were longer, silence is used as nats [natural sound], and the photographers compose a shot and let the story unfold in front of it. There are seldom camera movements, special effects, or quick edits. The shots look like still photos with the subjects moving in front of them. With all the creative freedom that the Web allows, I'm looking forward to seeing how this storytelling evolves.”

ABOUT THE JUDGES:

Television photography division judges this year are Jay Korff of WJLA-TV in Washington, DC; Erica Simpson of KGTV-TV in San Diego, CA; Regina McCombs of The Star Tribune in Minneapolis, MN; Mark Morache of KING-TV in Seattle, WA; and Joel Eagle of WJZ-TV in Baltimore, MD.

The television editing division judges are Stephanie Ottjepka of WTVT-TV in Tampa, FL, and Michael Humphries of KENS-TV in San Antonio, TX. Ram Guzman of KTVT-TV in Fort Worth, TX, is the other television contest co-chair.