Hertzberg First Three-Time Costa Courtroom Photo Award Winner


Mark HertzbergMUNCIE, IN – Photojournalist Mark Hertzberg is the first three-time winner of the Joseph Costa Award for Courtroom Photography, presented by Ball State University’s Department of Journalism during the 2006 Eugene S. Pulliam National Writing Awards program on April 4 in Muncie.

In the 20 years that Ball State University has given the award, Hertzberg is the first photographer to have won the courtroom photography prize three times (in 1987, 2001, and this year). He’s the director of photography for The Journal Times in Racine, WI.

Hertzberg’s winning entry this year was a series of emotional photographs illustrating the problem of children who are too young to be formally charged with a crime, but not too young to appear in court. The subject was an 8-year-old boy who broke a wooden pole into three pieces over the skull of his school principal. Hertzberg’s challenge was to cover the boy’s juvenile court hearing without identifying him.

The photojournalist said that when the principal testified near the end of the saga, he positioned himself to capture her reaction as the boy walked past her before the hearing started. The boy’s mother, who was not pleased with the newspaper’s coverage, did Hertzberg a favor by shielding her son’s face from the photographer’s view. “The luckiest turn in my coverage,” he says, “was when the boy unexpectedly waved to the judge after he was released from in-custody treatment, and the judge waved back.”

2006 Costa Award winner by Mark HertzbergIn picking Hertzberg’s photographs as this year’s winners, the judges commented that “His work exemplifies the drama and unexpected circumstances of courtroom sessions. It also honors the ideals of Joseph Costa, NPPA’s founder and a former lecturer in Ball State University’s Department of Journalism, who led the crusade to allow photojournalists into the nation’s courtrooms on an equal footing with reporters.”

Hertzberg is the author and photographer of Wright in Racine (Pomegranate, 2004) about the famous master architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The book evolved from his 'Wright in Racine' slide show and lecture, which he has presented across the Midwest, and at a variety of Wright sites, including Taliesin.

He was also one of the original photojournalists to take part in a 1998 groundbreaking Web project, Behind The Viewfinder: A Year In The Life Of Photojournalism, produced by award-winning new media consultant Fritz Nordengren. The project documented 10 photojournalists around America who worked in print and television photojournalism as they kept daily online journals about their lives and experiences and images for a year, and it was one of the first photojournalism Blogs of its time.

Hertzberg came to The Journal Times from the Beloit Daily News in 1978, and he interned at the Baltimore News-American in 1969. He was active in the effort to have Wisconsin's courtrooms opened to newspaper and television photographers in 1978, and has been a media coordinator with the cameras in court program since then. In 1998 he was awarded a Golden Gavel Award by the Wisconsin State Bar Association for his work on a story that took readers behind the scenes at the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In 1998 he received the Robert H. Dumke Award for "distinguished contributions in visual communications" from the Wisconsin News Photographers Association.

He is a native of New York City and has a degree in International Relations from Lake Forest College, and is on the Board of Directors of Frank Lloyd Wright in Wisconsin. Hertzberg, an avid avid bicyclist, has been an elected member of the NPPA board of directors, serving several terms, and is a long-time member who joined NPPA in 1973.

Past winning photos by Mark Hertzberg