NPPA And Western Kentucky University Receive Knight Foundation Grant To Turn Photojournalism Contest Into Educational Opportunity

Aug 25, 2005

DURHAM, NC – Supported by a $100,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the National Press Photographers Association and Western Kentucky University have joined together to create an online educational program based on NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism annual contest that will help the university’s photojournalism and visual communication students learn how to produce better photos.

As part of the Knight Foundation grant, the first rounds of the contest will be conducted and judged online, to help teachers guide students through the process. NPPA will improve the way images are digitally entered into the contest and expand the online photo archiving to provide a useful learning tool for professionals, teachers and students.

"Education has always been at the heart of NPPA's values and the Best of Photojournalism contest has always emphasized its educational value to photojournalism students, visual communication students and editing students as well as their instructors,” said NPPA presidentAlicia Wagner Calzada. “Because of the contest’s unique format, and its availability to students and professionals via the Internet, Best of Photojournalism is now used as an educational tool in all parts of the world. The work that Western Kentucky University will do will further increase the contest’s educational value and enhance photojournalism education for all."

Every March, NPPA conducts the Best of Photojournalism contest for still photojournalism and editing, television photojournalism and editing, and online media. The final judging takes place at both The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, FL, and at the School of Visual Communication (VisCom) at Ohio University in Athens.

During this year's contest, judges evaluated more than 41,000 individual entries in all five divisions from news events and stories in 2004. The still photography contest had nearly 38,000 entries by itself, making it the second-largest contest for photojournalists in the world (only World Press in Amsterdam has more entries). Unlike many annual contests, the Best of Photojournalism has no entry fees – and photojournalists can enter their images via the Internet from anywhere in the world.

Western Kentucky University and NPPA will work with Ohio University and News University, The Poynter Institute's e-learning project, to create educational components based on the contest. These online training modules – for print and video journalists – will be available for free on the NewsU Web site, www.newsu.org. They’ll cover such topics as ethics in photojournalism and what makes a winning photograph.

“This partnership is a win-win situation,” said Dr. Pam McAllister Johnson, director of Western Kentucky University’s School of Journalism. “Our photojournalism program, the NPPA contests and News University are all considered tops in their areas.”

NPPA will continue to administer all aspects of the contest including judging, displaying all entries and presentation of the winning entries.

“Journalism contests can do more than create giddy winners and grumpy losers,” said Eric Newton, director of Journalism Initiatives for Knight Foundation. “They can show the world what we really mean when we talk about journalism excellence – and that’s something all of us can learn from.”

The Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation was established in 1950 as a private foundation. Knight Foundation promotes journalism excellence worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. For more, visit www.knightfdn.org.

Western Kentucky University offered its first journalism course in 1927. Today, the School of Journalism and Broadcasting has more than 1000 students and 35 faculty members. Twelve photojournalism graduates have been on Pulitzer Prize-winning teams. The school has ranked number one in the overall Hearst competition three of the last five years; and the photojournalism program has been ranked number one 15 of the last 17 years.

The National Press Photographers Association (www.nppa.org) is the professional society of photojournalists. Established in 1946 and based in Durham, NC, NPPA is also the publisher of the monthly magazine News Photographer.

For more information please contact NPPA executive director Greg Garneau at +1.919.383.7246 ext. 10 or via eMail at director@nppa.org.