NPPA Honors, Awards, Presented At 60th Anniversary Dinner

TAMPA BAY, FL – The National Press Photographers Association's Honors and Recognitions Committee tonight presented awards to the top winners of the 2006 Best Of Photojournalism photography, television, Web, and editing contests, as well as recognizing those individuals who have supported NPPA and who have assisted photojournalism, and photojournalists, and who have contributed to the betterment of our profession during the past year.

The awards were presented Saturday night during a dinner during the organization’s 60th Anniversary Photojournalism Summit at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Tampa Bay, FL.

Bob Brandon accepts the Sprague AwardRobert Brandon and Clyde Mueller were presented with the 2006 Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award, Greg Smith was given the Joseph Costa award, and Janet Reeves was presented with the Jim Gordon Editor of the Year Award.

Winners in NPPA’s 2006 Best Of Photojournalism contest, judged in March at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, FL, and at Ohio University in Athens, OH, also picked up their awards for still photography, picture editing, television photography and editing, and Web presentations.

NPPA past president Bob Gould, of WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, MI, was chairman of this year’s Honors & Recognitions Committee.

NPPA’s top award each year is the Sprague Award. Established in 1949, it is awarded annually to not more than two persons of high achievement in the profession and it is given to those who advance, elevate, or attain unusual recognition for photojournalism by their conduct, initiative, leadership, skill, and devotion to duty.

Tony Overman (left), Clyde MuellerGould said that Brandon, of Denver, CO, was presented with the honor for “setting a standard for dignity, professionalism, and courage that is unmatched. His talent and passion for photojournalism and for mankind is an inspiration to all.” Brandon has been a leading television photographer in the broadcast industry, a two-time winner of the NPPA Ernie Crisp Television News Photographer of the Year title, and a winner of many of broadcast photojournalism’s other top honors – including a National Emmy. For many years he’s also been an active participant and served as a faculty member in NPPA’s popular annual Television NewsVideo Workshop in Norman, OK.

Mueller, director of photography for The Santa Fe New Mexican and an NPPA past president, was presented with the Sprague Award, Gould said, because “With his help, the ‘Best of Photojournalism’ contest is now one of the largest in the world. He helped to created tremendous educational opportunities and helped NPPA maintain its world-class reputation.” Mueller played a crucial role in creating and launching NPPA’s own Best Of Photojournalism annual contest, and he has served on the Best Of Photojournalism contest’s organizing committee ever since. Mueller was NPPA’s president during the trying year following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and during the time NPPA and the University of Missouri School of Journalism ended its long-standing Pictures Of The Year co-sponsorship relationship.

The Joseph Costa Award, established in 1954, is given to an individual for their outstanding initiative, leadership and service in advancing the goals of NPPA in the tradition of Joseph Costa, the founder of NPPA, its first president and chairman of the board. Greg Smith was presented with the Costa Award for “his guidance and perseverance push the NPPA to provide support, education, and business tools for independent photographers,” Gould said.

Janet Reeves, director of photography for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Rocky Mountain News, was presented with the Gordon Award because “Your leadership has created an environment which advances the standards of photojournalism, consistently looking out for the best interests of all photojournalists,” Gould said. The Jim Gordon Editor Of The Year Award is given "to the editor of an outstanding newspaper, magazine, video, movie, Web site, book, or other publication or broadcast that supports and promotes strong photojournalism, and the best use of photography, and whose individual dedication and efforts have moved photojournalism's standards forward while also advancing the best interests of all photographers."

Tony Overman (left), Greg Garneau, Alicia Wagner CalzadaPhotojournalist and attorney Mickey Osterreicher was presented with the Kenneth P. Mclaughlin Award of Merit. Gould said, “As a former television and print photojournalist, you bring a perspective few attorneys can by successfully advocating for First Amendment rights.”

Also receiving the Mclaughlin Award were Milbert Brown, Cathaleen Curtiss, and William Snyder. “With more than 30 years of service, you are great leader and role model. You have tremendous respect for the profession and undying commitment to others,” Gould said about Brown. About Curtiss, he said, “You are a leader, professional advocate, and educator of photojournalism who continually advances the goals and interests of the NPPA and photojournalism community.” And for Snyder, the director of photography for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Dallas Morning News, Gould said, “Your leadership, mentoring, and inspiration have motivated others to reach new heights.”

The McLaughlin Award is given to those who render continuing outstanding service in the interest of news photography, whether or not they are members of the profession. (McLaughlin was the third president of NPPA and a photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle until his death in 1952.)

David Grunfeld of The Times-Picayune was presented with the Clifton Edom Award for “exemplifying true leadership, and inspiring others to succeed, during the difficult aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.” The Edom Award recognizes an individual who, in the tradition of Cliff Edom, has inspired and motivated members of the photojournalism community to reach new heights. Edom taught at the University of Missouri for 29 years

William (Sandy) Colton was presented with the J. Winton Lemen Award for “outstanding technical achievements and years of service to the profession. Your immense contributions helped launch hundreds of photojournalists’ careers,” Gould said. The Lemen Award is given annually to those who render continuing outstanding service in the interest of press photography and for outstanding technical achievement in photography.

Television legend Ray Farkas of Washington, DC, received an NPPA Special Citation. “As one of the most innovative television storytellers, your style enables you to capture some of the most compelling visuals and moments seen on television,” Gould said.

Janet Reeves, Rocky Mountain NewsAn NPPA Special Citation was also presented to Isadore Bleckman, who was a television cameraman for CBS News for 36 years. “With decades of service to the profession, you have exemplified the true spirit of storytelling and photojournalism,” Gould said.

Merry Murray also received an NPPA Special Citation. Gould said, “Your tireless dedication to the NPPA and desire to improve the television contests has helped to increase the quality and reputation of these competitions.”

And Linda Epstein received an NPPA Special Citation. “You have exemplified true leadership and inspiration with your unselfish devotion to the NPPA and photojournalism,” said Gould.

Photojournalists Dave Ellis and Rebecca Sell received a Morris Berman NPPA Citation for “Operation Photo Rescue.” The project to restore family and personal photographs destroyed by Hurricane Katrina “returned history to those who lost everything during the storms of 2005,” Gould said. Berman was a past president of the NPPA. Before he died in 2002, Berman had attended every one of NPPA’s conventions. The Berman citation is given to an individual for special contributions advancing the interests of photojournalism.

The John Durniak Mentor Citation was given posthumously to the Eddie Adams for his “special drive and determination mentoring and teaching thousands of students. You will never be forgotten.” This honor is given to an individual who has served as an outstanding mentor, either to a specific individual or to photojournalism in general, and nominations for this award come from working photojournalists.

NPPA’s Robin F. Garland Educator Award, an honor given for outstanding service as a photojournalism educator, was given to three people this year: Terry Eiler, director of the VisCom program at Ohio University in Athen, OH; Boyd Huppert, of KARE11-TV in Minneapolis, MN; and Al Tompkins, of The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, FL.

Gail Fisher, Los Angeles Times (left), and Janet Reeves, Rocky Mountain NewsThis year there was a tie for the honor of NPPA’s Outstanding Student Chapter. The award was given to the NPPA chapter at Syracuse University for “Successfully challenging the University and the NCAA’s proposed ban on the use of images for student portfolios,” and to Ohio University for “outstanding educational programs and student outreach, helping to inspire and motivate young photojournalists.”

NPPA Region 2 associate director Todd Maisel, of the New York Daily News, was presented with the Samuel Mellor Award for his “continued and unrelenting fight for First Amendment and photographers’ rights, demonstrating your strong dedication and passion for the organization,” Gould said. Maisel spearheaded a fight in New York to oppose suggested photography bans by the Metropolitan Transit Authority and New York City Police Department officials. This 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. Presentation of the award was resumed in 1983 after a seven-year hiatus. Samuel Mellor was a photographer for the New York Post until his death in 1954.

Robert Stridiron, Dwight Nixon, and Jon Burkett were presented NPPA’s Humanitarian Award. About Stridiron, Gould said, “By putting down your camera and helping to save the life of an accident victim, your unselfish behavior is an inspiration to all.” For Nixon and Burkett, Gould said, “Your quick action at a flood scene during a tropical storm helped save two lives. This unselfish behavior makes you both true humanitarians.”

Jeff Gritchen of Region 10 was presented with NPPA’s Outstanding Publication Award. “Your efforts to continually update the design and content of the Region 10 Web site set the standard for a quality online publication,” Gould said.

NPPA's 60th Anniversary Photojournalism Summit was sponsored by Canon and Avid.

The history of NPPA's awards and honors as well as a full list of the past winners is online here.

Read about the NPPA board of directors' meeting, dues increase

Read NPPA past president Alicia Wagner Calzada's letter to members

Read about the weekend's education programs and seminars