By Stan Alost
ATHENS, OH – After almost 40 hours over four days, reviewing an estimated 2,000 entries in 29 categories, this year’s 2006 National Press Photographers Association’s Best Of Photojournalism Picture Editing contest has concluded. For the four judges and a small army of students and faculty, it was worth the time. From the coverage of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the Tsunami, to documentary projects about the war and the death of the Pope, the judges’ screen was filled with powerful images.
The First Place winner for Best Use Of Photography in a Newspaper (circulation greater than 75,000) was The Hartford Courant. Second place was the Los Angeles Times, and Third place was the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. An Honorable Mention was awarded to The Seattle Times.
The First Place winner for Best Use Of Photography in a Newspaper (circulation less than 75,000) was the Naples Daily News. Second place was The Concord Monitor, and Third place was the Midland Daily News. An Honorable Mention was awarded to The Albuquerque Tribune.
The First place winner for Best Use Of Photography in a Magazine was National Geographic. Second place was Time, and Third place was Newsweek.
In the Newspaper Picture Editor of the Year (Individual) competition, First place went to Janet Reeves of the Rocky Mountain News. Second place was Gail Fisher of the Los Angeles Times, and Third was Bruce Moyer of The Hartford Courant. Honorable Mentions were awarded to Dave Grewe of The Hartford Courant; Fred Nelson of The Seattle Times; and Mary Vignoles of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
In the Magazine Picture Editor of the Year (Individual) competition, First Place went to MaryAnne Golon of Time magazine. Second place was Lisa Botos of Time Asia, and Third was Alice Gabriner of Time magazine. An Honorable Mention was awarded to Carol Nakagawa of The Seattle Times.
The judging was held at the Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication in Athens, OH, and the judging was coordinated by VisCom's director, Terry Eiler, who is a member of the Best Of Photojournalism contest committee, along with assistant professor Stan Alost.
For the first time all of the entries, except in the Best Use category, were submitted and judged in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format.
“Looking at the computer is easier,” mumbled Bert Fox of National Geographic magazine as he looked at his ink-stained hands after wading through four editions of each of the newspaper entries in the Best Use categories.
While there was some concern among the judges that what they were viewing was not the same thing that the readers saw, and that it took longer to go through an entry in digital form than it did in print, the consensus was that this initial foray into an all-digital contest worked.
Beyond the razzle-dazzle of technology, the judges were impressed with the overall body of work this year.
“Great vision. Great storytelling. Great editing,” raved one judge in the comments.
This year’s group of judges fit that description as well. The judging team included Nancy Andrews, director of photography for the Detroit Free Press; Bert Fox, an illustrations editor at National Geographic for over a decade, who has been named Picture Editor of the Year five times; Boyzell Hosey, director of photography for the St. Petersburg Times, a veteran photographer with numerous awards who was part of the editing team that won Best Use of Photography in 2000; and Peter Howe, a 40-year veteran in the business who has been a photojournalist, an editor at Life and The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and who is the author of two books and executive editor for Digitaljournalist.org. Visiting professionals and a professor of the Ohio University School of Visual Communication served as alternate judges.
An army of more than 50 student, staff, and faculty volunteers helped the judges move through the digital files using Adobe Bridge and Acrobat to view and organize the files. Each category was projected while the judges voted entries into the next round.
“I thought it was interesting to hear what goes into the editing of newspapers and magazines,” said Ross Mantle, an Ohio University VisCom junior majoring in photojournalism. “I was impressed with most of the entries.”
This is the third year that the number of entries has grown. Yet, the number of entrants remained about the same. The judges did note that there were a number of publications that did not enter the contest this year. They suggested that the organization find ways to streamline the entry process, maybe even standardize with other similar contests, and seek entries from non-participating publications.
In the end, a collection of winning entries were selected recognizing outstanding work that can serve as a measurement for quality in the coming year.
“This was without a doubt the most pleasant experience I’ve had judging a competition,” a judge wrote after the four grueling days. Moreover, it all happens again in less than a year.
NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism contest is sponsored by Canon, Avid, The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, Hesketh.com, Ibiblio.org, Western Kentucky University, Camera Bits, Ohio University, and Merlin One.
A Web gallery of the winning and honorable mention pages is here.
Read a complete list of all winners here.
Download a 17-page Adobe Acrobat .PDF file containing the judges’ comments, in their entirety, for all of the categories here.