NPPA National Best Of Photojournalism Day A Hit

NPPA's National Best of Photojournalism day at the Crown Plaza Hotel in downtown San Antonio, TX, on the city's famous Riverwalk, was filled with educational speakers, break-out workshops, and wrapped up at night with a BOP awards dinner. The special event marked the end of NPPA's annual two-day board of directors meeting, including the installation of the new national officers.

The executive committee and board of directors met in San Antonio starting on Wednesday June 22, and NPPA's official business meeting continued through Thursday and concluded at 4 a.m. on Saturday morning. The board spent many hours Friday afternoon, Friday night, and Saturday morning going over the association's proposed budget for the 2005-2006 Fiscal Year before adopting the $1.35 million dollar spreadsheet.

Gene Policinski, executive director of the First Amendment Center, the morning's keynote speaker, reported on the state of the First Amendment and what's being done about the ongoing assault on journalists' freedoms. In conjunction with his address the First Amendment Center released the results of a study aimed at America's perception of the First Amendment. Policinski, a 27-year journalism veteran who started with newspapers in Indiana before moving to the Gannett News Service bureau in Washington, DC, was the page one editor for USA Today and the founding editor for USA Today Baseball Weekly before joining the Freedom Forum in 1996.

Educational workshop speakers included BOP Newspaper Photographer of the Year Jim Gehrz, of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and BOP Ernie Crisp Television News Photographer of the Year Corky Scholl, of KUSA-TV, Denver, CO. Other speakers included Scott Mc Kiernan, director of ZUMA Press in Laguna Beach, CA, and a presentation by Eric Kehe, director of photography for Denver's KUSA-TV, the BOP large market Station of the Year.

Also in the line-up of speakers was NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism Television Editor of the Year Brian Weister, of KMGH-TV in Denver, CO, who talked about the art of editing and what he did to be NPPA's Editor of the Year two years running; Andrea Bruce Woodall, a staff photojournalist for The Washington Post who focused on community journalism in Iraq without being embedded with the military; Santiago Lyon, director of photography for The Associated Press, who talked about their coverage in Iraq and the Pulitzer Prize-winning essay from their war coverage; and Greg Smith, NPPA's Business Practices Commmittee chair, who talked about issues facing freelance photojournalists today and NPPA's "Best Practices" business recommendations.

The BOP awards banquet followed Saturday evening beginning at 7 p.m. and include Television and Still photography awards along with the Sprague Awards and other NPPA honors and recognitions.

New NPPA national officers were sworn in Saturday evening before the awards. Alicia Wagner Calzada, a staff photojournalist for Rumbo in San Antonio, was elected president, and Tony Overman, Region 11 director from Olympia, WA, was elected vice president. Jim Sulley, who has served six years on the NPPA board as a Regional director or associate director, was elected treasurer.

Jim Gehrz grew up in St. Paul, MN, where he dreamed of some day taking photographs for one of the hometown newspapers. While studying at Hamline University took photographs for the school’s news bureau and also freelanced for community newspapers in the area. His first fulltime newspaper job was at the Worthington Daily Globe where he worked for a year-and-a-half before becoming a staff photojournalist at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a position he held for nearly 14 years. In 1999 he joined the St. Paul Pioneer Press, then joined the photography staff at the Minneapolis Star Tribune in January 2004. He’s has been named state Photographer of the Year ten times (four times by the Minnesota News Photographers Association, six by the Wisconsin News Photographers Association) and one of his photographs from Super Bowl XXXII was honored as the Pro Football Hall of Fame Photograph of the Year.

Washington Post photographer Andrea Bruce Woodall has traveled to Iraq five times since the war began. Most recently, she arrived a week shy of the first anniversary of the invasion in March and stayed through a period in which a widespread insurgency against the U.S. occupation flared anew, and U.S. fatalities approached 1,000.

She was born in Lafayette, IN, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1995 with a degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Although reporting was her concentration in school, her senior year introduced her to photography where she discovered her passion for photojournalism. After several internships, she started her newspaper photography career in 1997 atThe Concord Monitor in New Hampshire where she worked for four years. After a short stint on the photo staff at The St. Petersburg Times, she landed a staff job at The Washington Post in 2001. In 1999 she was named the New Hampshire Press Photographer of the year. She has been named White House News Photographer of the Year in 2003 for her coverage of Washington, DC, post September 11th, and her pictures of former Vice President Al Gore. This year she was again named White House News Photographer of the Year and was awarded the John Faber Overseas Press Club Award for photos of an Iraqi prostitute. She lives in Maryland with her two dogs.

Santiago Lyon is director of photography of The Associated Press, responsible for the AP's global photography report and the hundreds of photographers and photo editors worldwide who produce it. He has 20 years' experience in news service photography and has won multiple photojournalism awards for his coverage of conflicts around the globe. Under Lyon's direction, the war in Iraq earned the AP its 48th Pulitzer Prize in 2005, for work by a team of photographers. The AP's winning entry for breaking news photography, its 29th for photography, consisted of 20 photos from Iraq by 11 different photographers, five of them Iraqis.

Lyon joined AP in 1991 in Cairo, Egypt, after working for United Press International and Reuters. He has covered stories in Mexico, Central and South America, the 1991 Gulf War, Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, Israel, Palestine, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Rwanda, Yemen, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. In 1995, while on assignment in Sarajevo, he was wounded by mortar shrapnel. Lyon served as AP photo editor for Spain and Portugal from 1995 until 2003, when he accepted a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University.

Scott Mc Kiernan boasts over 30 years of wide ranging experience in photojournalism as a photographer, picture editor, and agent. Averaging 300 assignments annually for more than a decade, Mc Kiernan developed a reputation as a world-class shooter and he founded ZUMA Press in 1995. ZUMA Press is now the world’s largest independent editorial agency and largest owned and run by a working photojournalist.