Bob Brandon, Clyde Mueller, To Receive Sprague Awards In Tampa

May 24, 2006

DURHAM, NC – The National Press Photographers Association’s Honors & Recognition Committee today announced that Bob Brandon and Clyde Mueller are winners of the 2006 Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Awards, the organization’s highest honor.

Bob Brandon, Clyde Mueller, Sprague Award WinnersBrandon 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. Brandon is based in Denver, CO, and was the founder of Helical Post, a video post-production facility.

Mueller is an NPPA past president, presiding over the organization in 2001 through the trying times of the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the split that year between NPPA and the University of Missouri School of Journalism, and their long-standing co-sponsorship of the Pictures of the Year contest. In the aftermath, 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 is the director of photography for the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Brandon and Mueller will be presented with the Sprague Award at NPPA’s Honors & Recognition Banquet next month at the NPPA’s 60th Anniversary Photojournalism Summit at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Tampa Bay, FL, on June 24, 2006. (Hotel rooms are still available at the NPPA discounted rate, but need to be booked by May 30 to guarantee the cost.)

In addition to the Sprague Awards, the Joseph Costa Award and the Jim Gordon Editor of the Year Award will be presented at the banquet, along with the 2006 Best Of Photojournalism awards in the still photography, picture editing, television photography and editing, and Web categories.

Established in 1949, the Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award is presented to not more than two individuals each year and it is granted only if achievement is, in the opinion of the committee, of a sufficiently high standard. The Sprague Award may be given to a working photojournalist who advances, elevates, or attains unusual recognition for the profession of photojournalism by conduct, initiative, leadership, skill, and devotion to duty; or to a non-photojournalist whose unusual service or achievements have been beneficial to photojournalism, or for an outstanding technology advance in equipment or processes.

Sprague was a press technical representative for Graflex Corp., Rochester, NY. The firm manufactured Graflex and Speed and Crown Graphic cameras and flash units. Sprague is credited with the design of the Big Bertha, Magic Eye, and Combat Camera, and dozens of refinements to the Speed Graphic. He died in 1947.

“Bob Brandon's career cannot be summarized, but I'll try,” legendary television photojournalist Darrell Barton told the honors committee. “He won the first Photographer of the Year title while working as a chief photographer at KPRC-TV in Houston (in 1975). He won the second time as a network freelancer (in 1980). While freelancing, he worked for every major network. He was one of the pioneer photojournalists at 48 Hours for CBS News and set the style for modern documentaries. He’s an author (his book, The Complete Digital Video Guide, was published by Readers Digest in 2005), and he’s been an integral part of the Norman workshop for more than thirty years.

“Those are some of the facts. What’s more important about Bob is that he’s set a standard for dignity, professionalism, and courage for this profession that’s unmatched. (He wears scars on both arms from covering a train explosion, and took film back to his station and edited before checking into a hospital). No young photographer who has ever asked Bob for help has been turned away. I could go on, but I can tell you that there’s no one more deserving of this prestigious award.”

“To say that I am not worthy of this award is an understatement, but I am honored and humbled beyond description,” Brandon told News Photographer today. “I Googled the Sprague award and read that it is considered the highest honor in photojournalism. Now I know I am above my pay grade! But then I read about old Joe Sprague, who was a working stiff just like me who pulled himself up by his bootstraps and emerged from among all the employees of the Reflex Corporation to distinguish himself as the inventor of the Speed Graphic and other cameras used by combat photographers to document World War II. I can identify with Joseph Sprague and I am proud to be in his company. I will wear the ring with humility and pride.”

Brandon’s been a cameraman for nearly four decades, shooting his first images in 1966 while still in college for KGNC-TV in Amarillo, TX. In 1970 he joined KPRC-TV in Houston, winning more than 30 awards there in 9 years and leading the station through the switch from film to videotape. He left KPRC-TV in 1979 to freelance and has done so ever since.

Over the years in addition to CBS News, he's shot for 60 Minutes, NBC News, Today, Dateline, ABC Evening News, Prime Time Live, and 20/20. Brandon was on the team that won two national Emmys for groundbreaking 48 Hours broadcasts, and he spearheaded the style-setting documentary “Emergency Vets” on Animal Planet TV. He was on the team that won two national Emmys for groundbreaking 48 Hours broadcasts, and he spearheaded the style-setting documentary “Emergency Vets” on Animal Planet TV.

Brandon also produced a series of video programs called “Shoot Like A Pro” to teach beginning photographers how to tell stories with video. He now concentrates on his freelance career, developing projects using the new DV and HD technologies. Brandon has also been the winner of NPPA’s Cliff Edom Award for his ability to inspire and motivate young photographers.

Clyde Mueller’s contributions to the NPPA over the years go beyond his service as its president and his critical role in birth of the Best Of Photojournalism contest and its governing committee. “Clyde converted a crisis into an opportunity,” Joe Elbert, assistant managing editor for The Washington Post, said. Elbert also serves on NPPA’s BOP contest committee. “This contest is now second only to World Press Photo, and it's branded NPPA's reputation throughout the world. It's grown to be a premier world contest in just a few years, and it’s a great educational segment too.”

Mueller has been a photojournalist for 25 years and has won numerous awards from NPPA, from the Pictures of the Year competition, the Associated Press, and the Society of Newspaper Design. He’s an advocate of documentary photography and a free press. In 1999 and 2001 Mueller consulted with news organizations in Bosnia that are striving to be independent news outlets, and he made similar missions to the Ukraine in 2003 and 2006.

“When NPPA past president Bob Gould called to tell me I had won the Sprague Award, I was speechless,” Mueller said today. “The only word I remembered being able to say was, ‘Wow.’ To say I feel honored is an understatement. There’s lots of emotion in my heart. I want to thank the Best Of Photojournalism committee members Kenny Irby, Joe Elbert, Harry Walker, Keith Jenkins, Terry Eiler, and my wife, Liz. Also Robin Martin, publisher, and Rob Dean, managing editor, of The New Mexican. Their support was invaluable. Without them, and The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, my goal of having the contest would not have been realized. Thanks for the support of the NPPA leadership. Most of all thanks to the photographers and editors who have entered the contest. The Best Of Photojournalism contest is for them.”

Gould, NPPA's past presdient from WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, MI, served as the chairperson of this year’s Honors & Recognition Committee. “The committee had great candidates this year and we are proud to honor these very deserving individuals,” Gould said. “Bob Brandon stood out from the pack as truly inspirational. The extensive efforts he’s given to this profession are unique and matched by few. Clyde Mueller took the contest situation and created a huge opportunity for photojournalists worldwide. Because of his efforts, the NPPA has increased its worldwide profile and has created educational opportunities which have no boundaries.”

“Both nominees were honored, humbled, and somewhat shocked when told of their nominations,” Gould said. “It's not too late to register for the conference or the banquet. Come support these two great winners, and all the other award winners by, by celebrating with the NPPA family in Tampa.”

NPPA’s 60th Anniversary Photojournalism Summit will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Tampa Bay, FL, from Friday June 23, 2006, through Sunday June 25. The overall theme is "See The Future, And Learn How To Get There." Speakers and seminars for both print and television and new media journalists will focus on storytelling, lighting, ethics, multimedia, and the Web.

Online registration is now available. Jay Nolan at The Tampa Tribune is the event chairperson.

Sponsored by Canon and Avid, the Summit's sessions will include presentations by:

  • NPPA’s Ernie Crisp Television News Photographer of the Year, Stan Heist of WBFF-TV in Baltimore, MD;
  • NPPA’s Video Editor of the Year, Jason Hanson of KSTP-TV in Minneapolis, MN;
  • Scott Jensen of KTUU-TV in Anchorage (BOP's Small Market Station of the Year);
    Brad Ingram of WGHP-TV (the Medium Market Station of the Year);
  • Gary Knox of KARE-TV (the Large Market Station of the Year);
  • NPPA Regional TV Photographers of the Year.
  • Al Tompkins of The Poynter Institute for Media Studies will present three sessions that are ideal for television reporters and other TV newsroom staff: ethics, discussing the major issues of today; writing for photojournalists, creative tips on how to marry the video with the words; and using the Web as a resource for news stories;
  • Scott Hedeen of WXIA-TV in Atlanta will talk about doing quick turn-around stories on tight deadlines while still putting quality stories on the air;
  • David Carter of WFAA-TV in Dallas along with WFAA-TV reporter Brad Hawkins will present a team storytelling session;
  • And Steve Hooker, the former chief photographer for WDSU-TV in New Orleans, will share his experience of covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as well as presenting his famous lighting demonstration, with tips on how to improve your lighting skills even when you're on deadline. (Hooker is now with WIS-TV in Columbia, SC).

The Summit will include a job fair, a reunion for NPPA Life Members, exhibits, a photo competition, and still and television portfolio critiques. The NPPA "Shootout" will pit photojournalists against each other to see who can create the most inspiring images. And NPPA Life Member Joe Young is planning a Life Member Luncheon. Young says he will show off "some great old camera equipment," and as an added bonus will also put on his now-famous flash powder demonstration.

The Summit will also include a Sunday morning panel discussion on The Future Of Photojournalism. Included on the panel will be the president of NPPA, the president of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), the president of Editorial Photographers, and the president of the White House News Photographers Association (WHNPA).

Former winners of NPPA's Ernie Crisp Television News Photographer of the Year honor are invited to a special session to show their stories from the year they won POY with their tape, a session guaranteed to show how television news has evolved over the years.

For still photogrpahers, there will be presentations by:

Joe McNally, who has shot for National Geographic magazine;
Scott Strazzante, of The Chicago Tribune;
Ted Jackson, of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans;
Christopher Morris, of the VII Photo Agency;
NPPA's Photojournalist of the Year (Small Market) Josh Meltzer of the Roanoke Times;
Melina Mara, of The Washington Post;
Mindy McAdams, author of the book Flash Journalism;
Greg Smith of mediaSmith.

Summit organizers encourage people to bring their families to the event. NPPA has reserved a block of discounted rooms at the Grand Hyatt Hotel which is located right on Tampa Bay with two swimming pools, a whirlpool, and childrens' activities during the summer. Nearby are golf courses, tennis courts, and a wildlife estuary.

Those seeking more information or with additional questions may contact Gould at pastpresident@nppa.org or call +1.816.254.8649.