News Archive

Palm Beach Post Wins Gold Honors In 2004 Picture Editing Quarterly Clip Contest

Alex Burrows, in his last announcement of NPPA Picture Editing Quarterly Clip Contest (PEQCC) annual winners after ten years of chairing the contest, announced that The Palm Beach Post photography editing team won the top Gold honor in the 2004 editing competition. The Post amassed 790 points during 2004. Silver honor went to The Hartford Courant with 540 points, and Bronze honor to The Virginian-Pilotwith 250 points.

“Congratulations toThe Post,” Burrows said. “This is a year-long competition and involves judging at the end of each quarter. More than 20 judges from different newspapers, magazines, and universities participated. Congratulations to all the teams in the top ten, and thanks to all who participated.” Winners are chosen by giving point value to newspaper pages in top entries in five categories of news, sports, feature, picture page and multi-page.

Awards Of Excellence went to the newspaper picture editing teams who rounded out the top ten finishers. Those newspapers are:The San Jose Mercury News, 160 points;The Raleigh News & Observer, 140 points;Los Angeles Times, 130 points;The Rocky Mountain News, 110 points;The Star Tribune, 100 points;The Sacramento Bee, 90 points; andThe Record(Bergen County, NJ), 60 points.

Burrows, director of photography forThe Virginian-Pilot, stepped down as the contest’s chairperson after ten years of working as a volunteer organizing the PEQCC. In March, NPPA president Bob Gould appointed Mark Edelson, presentation editor forThe Palm Beach Post, to fill the position.

“We work really hard to craft a strong visual report of the news, whether its the war in Iraq or a high school track meet,” Edelson said after Burrows announced the winners. “We’ve got a long way to go before we really get it right, but we’re making an effort to nurture the creative relationships among editors, designers, reporters and photographers that make for better storytelling.” Two ofThe Post’swinning pages, “Daddy’s Little Girls” and “The Athens Olympics,” were done by turning the broadsheet newspaper sideways in the design.

“We experienced a horrendous hurricane season, andThe Post’sstorm coverage garnered a number of awards. What was most gratifying, however, is that the majority of pages that earned recognition in the contest involved coverage of other events, ranging from a father and daughter dance, to the Olympics, to Shaquille O’Neill’s signing with the Miami Heat. It’s encouraging that our peers felt we served our readers well not only during crises, but every day.”

When he was named as the contest’s new chairperson in March, Edelson said, “I urge you to enter. This is a national contest and winning is good for you and it’s good for your newspaper. It will help you and your department gain respect in your newsroom, and it will bring your newspaper to the attention of other journalists and journalism students, and perhaps interest them in working with or for you. And if you can attract more good people it will better your paper and reward your readership.”

Please send 2005 PEQCC entries to: Mark Edelson, Presentation Editor,The Palm Beach Post, 2751 South Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, FL, 33405. Please send questions to[email protected].


Michael Maicher, 78, NPPA Life Member

Funeral services are tomorrow in Pennsylvania for NPPA life member Michael Maicher, 78, who died Tuesday in Wyndmoor, PA. A freelancer and sports photographer who was working on assignment as recently as two weeks ago, Maicher was a sports photographer for the Philadelphia

Evening Bulletinand also had photographed the Philadelphia 76ers NBA team, the Philadelphia Eagles NFL team, and Temple University football.

Maicher joined NPPA in April, 1975. ThePhiladelphia Daily Newsreports that Maicher may have established a record by photographing the Penn Relays for 47 straight years. His career started at theGermantown Courierand he joined theBulletinin 1960, shooting general assignments but specializing in sports. When theBulletinclosed in 1982 he worked for the 76ers and La Salle High School, theDaily Newsreports.

A Maicher photograph of the late Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo was used as the visual source for a well-known statue of Rizzo that sits before the city’s munical building.

He is survived by a sister, Blance Bianconi. Services are Saturday, February 19, 2005, at Seven Dolors Church, Willow Grove Ave., Wyndmoor, PA. Friends may call at 9 a.m.


First Annual Agency VII Seminar Set For April

The photographers of the Agency VII will put on the First Annual VII Seminar on April 16 and 17 2005 at the Cabot Intercultural Center Auditorium at the Fletcher School of Tufts University in Medford, MA. The first-time event is in collaboration with EXPOSURE, The Center for Photojournalism, Documentary Studies and Human Rights, The Institute for Global Leadership, Tufts University, and Canon USA.

Agency VII group photoThe two-day event will include presentations by all 9 photographers of Agency VII, panel discussions on photojournalism’s current issues, guest lecturers, and a screening of the film, “War Photographer.” Pre-registration is required and registration for the event is done online on the Agency VII Web site. There is a $25 USD processing fee for registration.

The event opens Saturday with Ron Haviv’s presentation, “Images of War, 1989-2003,” and Christopher Morris presents “My America.” Before the mid-day break, Joachim Ladefoged will present his work followed by John Stanmeyer’s “Tsunami.” Peter Howe will moderate a symposium to open the afternoon session with all the VII photographers as panelists on the topic, “Is Anyone Out There Listening? The Relevance Of Photojournalism Today.”

Lauren Greenfield and James Nachtwey will present their work following the symposium, and after a reception hosted by Canon USA there will be a screening of the film, “War Photographer.”

Sunday’s schedule opens with Susan Moeller, a photojournalist who is now an assistant professor of journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, who will moderate a symposium on “Photojournalism and Human Rights.” She will be joined by a panel that includes selected VII photographers along with Samantha Power, a journalist, lawyer, and human rights activist who is an adjunct lecturer in public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and Hurst Hannum, a professor of international law at The Fletcher School of Tufts University.

Gary Knight will then present his work “Evidence,” followed by a presentation by Alexandra Boulat. Antonin Kratochvil will present “Vanishing,” and then there will be three breakout discussions with VII photographers. The afternoon concludes with a Canon digital demonstration followed by a book signing by the Agency VII photographers.

For more information please see the Agency VII Web site page that is dedicated to the Seminar. The page includes online registration, maps, and contact information for hotels located close to the event.


UNC Multimedia Bootcamp Is A Hands-On Experience

The fourth annual Multimedia Bootcamp, a six-day intensive course in audio, video, and Flash Web development, will be held May 7-13 2005 at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC.

The workshop features presentations by leading producers from The New York Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, USA Today, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and The Poynter Institute for Media Studies. The sessions will feature detailed instruction in multimedia storytelling. Classroom sessions taught by leading professionals include audio and video storytelling and editing, advanced Adobe PhotoShop techniques, Web design and usability, and Flash techniques for journalists. The workshop is limited to 20 participants on a first-come basis.

The Bootcamp will open on Saturday evening, May 7, with a traditional North Carolina barbecue followed by a presentation by Howard Finnberg, "The Future is Here… It’s Just Not Widely Distributed." Finnberg currently directs News University, the Poynter Institute’s e-learning project. He has more than 30 years of experience in journalism and new media at the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Arizona Republic, as well as consulting on issues of new media and technologies.

On Sunday through Friday, hands-on classes meet throughout the day in the School’s state-of-the-art multimedia lab. Each student will have an Apple G5 workstation and access to digital audio and video content gathering and editing hardware. The classes include lectures, demonstrations and hands-on exercises, and are taught by some of the leading multimedia journalism practitioners and educators in the industry.

Each day, the classes break from noon to 2 p.m. for a catered lunch and a presentation by a leading practitioner. The speakers include: Juan Thomassie, senior designer, USA Today; Don Wittekind, graphics director, South Florida Sun-Sentinel; Tom Kennedy, managing editor for multimedia,; Geoff McGhee, enterprise editor,; and Ashley Wells, senior producer, MSNBC.

The workshop is open to anyone who has an interest in multimedia storytelling. Because of the large number of faculty members and the limited enrollment, participants work at their own pace and receive as much personal attention as needed. Participants work on individual and team projects and the faculty is readily available to answer questions. All class sessions also include detailed handouts that will be invaluable for taking lessons back to individual newsrooms.

For more information and registration materials please see or contact UNC professor Rich Beckman [email protected] for details.


Brenda Ann Kenneally Wins The 2005 NPPA-Nikon Documentary Sabbatical Grant

By Donald R. Winslow 
News Photographer magazine

Brenda Ann Kenneally, a freelance photojournalist from Brooklyn, NY, is the winner of the 2005 NPPA-Nikon Documentary Sabbatical Grant, committee chairman Bill Luster announced today. Kenneally’s ongoing essay, “Legal Guardian: The Long Arm of the Law Reaches Inside America's Most Vulnerable Families,” won over 36 other entries. Matt Black, a freelance photojournalist from Lemoncove, CA, was the runner-up.

Kenneally is the first two-time winner of the honor. She also won in 2000 for "Money, Power, Respect: Real Life Stories from the Hip-Hop Generation,'' about the legacy of drug use from generation to generation in her Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn.

“This grant means that I can continue to be a photographer for another year!” Kenneally told News Photographer magazine today. “It means I can keep working. I’ve been walking around saying that I would quit my job, if I only had one! No, really, it’s harder now than ever to do these kind of long-term projects, especially one based in America. It’s a time when we’re turning our interests to other countries, like Iraq and the war, and away from this kind of story that used to be a mainstream story here in the States. So now I can keep working on it for another year.”

The Sabbatical comes with a $15,000 stipend so that working photographers can afford to take time to work on their essay unencumbered by daily assignments.

“Brenda's work is very fascinating and indicative of the commitment of a concerned photographer, one who not only cares deeply about her work but also about her subjects,” Luster said. “She’s first class in every way."

"The final two entries, Brenda's work and that of Matt Black, the runner-up, were tough choices for the judges. The judges felt that Brenda's work was very intimate, and that carried the day,” Luster said.

Judging was done in Washington, DC, on February 5 at the offices of U.S. News & World Reportmagazine. The judges were Kathy Moran, an illustrations editor at National Geographic magazine; David Griffin, former creative director ofU.S. News & World Report who is now the senior editor of photography and illustrations for National Geographic magazine; and Todd James, an illustrations editor at National Geographic magazine.

About Kenneally’s essay, Moran said "It's so rare to find anyone that engages that much with the subject. This entry is total immersion." James agreed. “This is a level of intimacy and commitment to documentary photojournalism that one does not see often.”

Nikon, along with the National Press Photographers Association, created the award in 1985. It was first won by photojournalist April Saul of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Over the years two winners have gone on to win the Pulitzer Prize: John Kaplan's project, which showed the diversity of lifestyles among 21-year-olds in transition to the adult world, won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography; and David Peterson’s essay “Shattered Dreams – The Iowa Farm Crisis” for The Des Moines Registerwon the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. Both essays resulted from their ongoing work after receiving the NPPA-Nikon Documentary Sabbatical Grant.

“I’d like to thank everyone at Corbis and especially Brian Storm, Maria Mann, and Christina Cahill," Kenneally said today. "And also to thank Kathy Ryan at The New York Times Magazine who initially gave me the assignment for the first family, and writer Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, author of the book Random Family, who wrote the Times magazine story.”

Kenneally was a Soros Criminal Justice Media Fellow, and she attended the University of Miami where she earned a BS in sociology and photojournalism. She also has an MA in studio art from New York University. Her work has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Ms. magazine, among other publications.

In 2000 she won the NPPA-University of Missouri POY Community Awareness Award and in 2001 she was awarded the International Prize for Photojournalism in Gijon, Spain. Her essay on her Brooklyn neighborhood has also received the support of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, the Mother Jones Documentary Fund, and the Open Society Institute.

Last year's winner was Felicia Webb, a United Kingdom freelancer associated with the Independent Photographers Group agency (IPG), for her project "Fat Times in the USA." Webb was the first non-American to win the sabbatical. The 2003 winner was Jon Lowenstein for his project "From Guerrero to Gringolandia and Back: Day Labor, Family, and the New Global Economy." Lowenstein, who lives in Chicago, IL, specializes in long-term, in-depth documentary photographic projects which strive to challenge the status quo.


Houston Chronicle's Kerwin Plevka, 54, Found Dead At His Home On Friday

By Donald R. Winslow 
News Photographer magazine

HOUSTON, TX  – Kerwin Plevka, 54, the assistant director of photography for theHouston Chronicle, was found dead in his home late yesterday afternoon. The staff learned of Plevka’s death from the newspaper’s executive vice president and editor, Jeff Cohen, after their long-time coworker uncharacteristically failed to show up at the office on Friday and did not answer his phone.

Kerwin Plevka photographCohen told the staff that assistant managing editor for graphics Ernie Williamson asked a police officer to go by Plevka’s house to check on him and that’s when he was found dead. A Harris County sheriff’s deputy at the scene told the newspaper that there were no signs of trauma and that the medical investigator would inspect the scene. A cause of death has not been determined.

“I’ll remember Kerwin as someone who elevated the visual journalism of the newspaper,” Cohen wrote in a note to the staff. “He went out of his way to help everyone around him – editors, photographers, page designers. On top of that, he was a damn nice guy. We’ll miss him.”

Houston-based sports photojournalist Robert Seale, who shoots forSporting News, wrote on the Web site, “Kerwin won many awards during his career and was well liked by all who had the pleasure of working with him, shooting alongside him, or having an after-work beer or motorcycle ride with him.”

Seale toldNews Photographermagazine tonight, “I was an intern at theChroniclein 1992 and Kerwin took me under his wing. He took care of me and he taught me how to shoot baseball. He used to enjoy telling me a story about when he was a United Press International stringer back in Kansas and, at some point, someone took him to a world series game and put him in the first base pit next to the great baseball shooter Rusty Kennedy, who was shooting for the Associated Press. Kerwin said it was a make-or-break moment for him, but he did okay that day and ended up getting the UPI job.”

Chroniclestaff photojournalist Karen Warren worked with Plevka and tonight she said, “He always brought an air of professionalism to everything he did. They broke the mold with Kerwin. He was a fabulous guy, a lot of fun to be around, and before he was our assistant director of photography we shot together all the time and he was fun and intense.” As a photographer Plevka won many awards, including a 1999 National Headliner Award for a picture of a bar boxer taking a last drag off a cigarette while the referee inspected his boxing gloves at the start of the match (photograph at bottom of page). He also won Texas Associated Press Managing Editor Awards, and has a photograph in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

“A few weeks ago he went to great pains to throw a birthday party at the house for his daughter, Olivia, 15, who's a freshman in high school,” Warren said. “He just doted on her, she lives with her mom but he wanted to have this great party for her. He was talking about how much he spent on this huge cake and what fun it was.”

In addition to his daughter he is survived by his mother, Eileen, of Belleville, KS; his former wife, Ingrid; and his brother, John Plevka, who is the associate managing editor for news at thePeoria Journal Starin Peoria, IL.

“Kerwin was into his Harley motorcycles,” Warren said, “and he belonged to a club and went on weekend rides. A couple of years ago he took two weeks of vacation and rode up to Kansas, where he’s from, to see his mother, and then rode back. And he was also into astronomy, and he had a camera connected to a telescope and he loved doing that too.”

Plevka was a Kansas State University graduate who was a newspaper photographer in Missouri working for theBlue Springs Examinerand theIndependence Examiner, as well as theWestport Truckermagazine. He also worked for UPI in Kansas City, MO, and later in Dallas before moving to theChroniclein 1987. He photographed baseball legend Nolan Ryan delivering his 5,000th career strikeout pitch of his career against batter Rickey Henderson of the Oakland A’s on August 22, 1989, in Arlington Stadium.

In 1993, Plevka and Associated Press photographer Rick Bowmer were arrested and held at gunpoint face-down, their film confiscated, by Texas state troopers near the scene of the Branch Davidian cult compound in Waco, TX, a few days after the compound’s fire killed 85 cult members. Plevka and Bowmer were trying to walk in closer for a better vantage point,Chroniclereporter Paul McKay wrote the next day, and the duo thought they were much farther away from the site than they were. But when they walked out of the woods, they were about a half-mile to a mile away, Plevka said. The two photographers were charged with "interfering with the duties of a peace officer," a misdemeanor, and booked into McLennan County Jail.

Eight years later Plevka was nearly killed when he was swept away by storm water on his own street after covering the aftermath of Tropical Storm Allison in 2001.Chroniclereporter Allan Turner wrote on July 14 that Plevka was headed home around 3 a.m. after working all night shooting storm damage when his sport utility vehicle’s engine died while crossing through hubcap-deep water. Plevka grabbed his camera bag and got out, starting to walk home. He apparently fell, and with the heavy bag being swept along with him by the fast-moving water he became trapped neck-deep in a drainage ditch. He had to let go of the bag, filled with his cameras and lenses and all of his day’s work, and cling to a tree for more than an hour while he waited for rescue and as the water continued to rise.

Turner reported that a passing motorist heard Plevka’s calls for help and, using a ski rope, pulled him to safety. Twenty-two people died in Southeast Texas during Tropical Storm Allison’s rampage, but Plevka narrowly escaped being one of them.

There will be a memorial service on Wednesday, February 16, at 2 p.m. at the Calvary Hill Cemetery and Funeral Home, 21723 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, TX. A second memorial service will be held in Belleville, KS, at the United Presbyterian Church at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 19, with the family meeting with friends one hour before the service.


Best Of Photojournalism 2005 Still Photography Judges Named

DURHAM, NC – Harry Walker, chairperson of the Best Of Photojournalism 2005 contest committee for the National Press Photographers Association and director of the Knight Ridder/Tribune Photo Service, today announced the panel of judges for this year's Best Of Photojournalism still photography contest.

The judges this year are Victor Vaughan, assistant managing editor for presentation for The Arizona Daily Star; Gary Hershorn, news editor for pictures, the Americas, for Reuters based in Washington, DC; Bonnie Jo Mount, deputy managing editor for presentation and online for the News & Observer in Raleigh, NC; Hal Buell, retired chief editor for photography for the Associated Press; and Ruth Fremson, a staff photographer for The New York Times.

The Best Of Photojournalism contest committee that Walker leads has as its members Joe Elbert, the assistant managing editor for photography for The Washington Post; Kenneth F. Irby, the visual journalism group leader for The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in Saint Petersburg, FL; and Terry E. Eiler, director of the School of Visual Communication (VisCom) at Ohio University in Athens, OH.

Today was the last day photographers could enter Best Of Photojournalism 2005. Still photography and Web site judging will take place at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in Saint Petersburg, FL, from March 20 through 25, 2005. Photo editing judging will take place at the School of Visual Communication (VisCom) at Ohio University in Athens, OH. Television judging begins on March 13.

Best Of Photojournalism 2005 picture editing judges and television judges will be announced shortly.


SFSU Journalism Department Says Student Photojournalist Omar Vega's Case "Mishandled"

By Lemery Reyes & Richard McKeethen
Golden Gate [X]press, Special to News Photographer magazine

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - The chair of San Francisco State University's journalism department held a press conference on campus today defending the First Amendment rights of a photojournalism student arrested for photographing an alleged burglary.

“We believe that this case has been mishandled,” said department chairman John Burks. “We’re here today in support of photojournalism student Omar Vega.”

Omar Vega At Press ConferenceOn Wednesday, police arrested 18-year-old photojournalism student Omar Vega just moments after he left a class in Burk Hall. The San Francisco Police Department issued an arrest warrant for Vega because of an incident that occurred in October 2004 when Vega photographed a group of five people who police claim broke into a car parked on Lake Merced Blvd. and then stole CDs and cash. Vega was arraigned on misdemeanor charges of second-degree burglary and tampering with a vehicle for his alleged role in the break-in. Police also issued arrest warrants for the four other students involved in the October 24 incident. A fifth person seen in Vega's photographs has not been identified.

Burks said that Vega was acting as a journalist when he photographed Nicole Dion, John Macrery, Blake Street, Steven Stodola, and one other unidentified male. But the San Francisco district attorney's office charged Vega with burglary and tampering with a vehicle, both misdemeanors.

According to Vega, he was working on a photographic essay assignment for SFSU's campus newspaper, the Golden Gate [X]press, documenting freshman life in the dorms when the incident took place. During the Friday noontime press conference, Vega stated that he simply photographed the incident and that he was not a participant in the alleged burglary.

The Editorial Board of [X]press initially declined to publish Vega's pictures in the student-run newspaper when they failed to get a unanimous board vote in favor of publishing. The images of the car incident were then published on a Web site. A discussion thread on the Web site titled "Beheading The Messenger..." details Vega's account of what happened next. But some of the images from the car incident are now online on the [X]press Web site.

Vega also contends that Mary Park Hall staff members have consistently harassed him over his work as photojournalist, violating his First Amendment rights until they evicted him in January 2005. “They’re making an example out of me,” said Vega at the press conference as his attorney, Emilia Mayorga, sat beside him. Mayorga is an associate at the San Francisco firm of Kerr & Wagstaffe, who say on their Web site that they are intervening in Vega's case "on behalf of a college student in a First Amendment controversy involving freedom of the press." James M. Wagstaffe, a partner and co-founder of Kerr & Wagstaffe, is an adjunct professor in constitutional law and civil procedure at Hastings College of the Law and in media law at SFSU.

“It was so humiliating,” said Vega on Wednesday an hour after his release from jail. “It was right after class and my ex-roommate Michael and fellow classmates saw me get arrested and taken away in handcuffs.”

SFSU journalism department chair Burks said he supports Vega’s right to photograph events as they occur, including the incident that led to Vega’s arrest this week. Burks also questioned why the San Francisco district attorney’s office issued a warrant to arrest Vega over what Burks sees as nothing more than a student photographer reporting on life in the dorms.

Ken Kobre, photojournalism professor and faculty advisor to the student-run [X]press, also said that he believes that Vega was just doing his job.

“Omar Vega was doing exactly what a photojournalist should do,” said Kobre. “He was taking his camera and he was recording the world around him. The people that run the dorm have tried to block him from taking those pictures. They tried to do that almost from the time he arrived.”

Vega is a native of Stockton, CA, and is studying photojournalism on a scholarship he received to attend SFSU. His arrest Wednesday arose from the alleged auto burglary he photographed. University police reports indicate a group of four SFSU students and one unidentified male found a set of car keys on campus. The group searched and eventually located a 2002 Ford Mustang belonging to Karimah Arnold, another SFSU student. Documents from the district attorney’s office indicate that one SFSU student in the group, John Macrery, removed a CD from the vehicle.

As of Thursday afternoon, Vega and the other students had either been arrested or had turned themselves in to police. According to one of the students involved, Vega did not take anything from the vehicle.

“He (Vega) just took the pictures and posted them online,” said the student just after his release Thursday night at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco. “We never stole anything. He made it all up. We all have to be in court on Monday,” the student added.

Students Dion and Stodola still live in the dorms. Dion has declined requests for comment and Stodoloa said Vega never entered the car. Macrery and Street no longer reside on campus and the sixth participant in the incident still remains unidentified.

Phone calls to the San Francisco district attorney’s office were not returned by press time.

[X]press reporter Daniel Jimenez contributed to this story.


Reuters Wins Six Top World Press Photo Awards; American Photojournalists Do Well In The Competition

The World Press Photo of the Year 2004 has been awarded to Reuters photographer Arko Datta for his iconic picture of the human suffering caused by the Asian tsunami, World Press Photo announced in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, this morning.

The photograph, taken by Datta in India on December 28, 2004, shows a woman crouched on sandy ground, her mouth open in a wail and her palms turned to the sky, the arm of a tsunami victim visible in the corner of the image. The picture also won first prize in the spot news singles category. It has become one of the most widely published images of the year-end global disaster.

World Press jury member Kathy Ryan, picture editor of The New York Times Magazine, said in the judges’ comments that Datta’s photograph "is a graphic, historical, and starkly emotional picture." Jury chairman Diego Goldberg, a photographer from Argentina, said the photograph was "a true spot news picture with a strong photographer’s point of view."

Datta, an Indian national, has worked as a Reuters photographer since 2001. He has covered stories in conflict regions like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kashmir and was one of Reuters' team of Asian photographers on the ground covering the devastating effect of the tsunami.

Thomas Szlukovenyi, the global picture editor for Reuters based in London, said, "The first time you looked at Arko's picture you knew it's a winner. Beside Arko's personal achievement of winning the World Press Photo of the Year and the first place in the Spot News, it's especially gratifying to see the variety of the range of categories that Reuters has won, which really reflects the diversity and excellence of our team of photographers."

"This is a tremendous achievement and generated a great buzz among our photographers and editors. This brings the total of major awards we have won this year to twenty, a recognition of the outstanding work produced everyday by our pictures team. This is why Reuters is number one in news photography," Szlukovenyi said.

Gary Hershorn is the news editor for pictures, the Americas, for Reuters. "From the moment I saw Arko's picture I knew immediately it was something special. It conveyed all the emotion of the tragedy of the tsunami. Many people told me that they stared at that woman trying to understand the emotion she was feeling," Hershorn said today. "Arko is a gifted photographer who covered an emotionally draining story in his home country of India with the utmost of professionalism. His pictures amazed me."

Reuters photographers dominated the news categories with four other World Press Photo awards for their images. In the Spot News category, Reuters photographer Juan Medina won third place for his image of the rescue of illegal immigrants off the Canary Islands. An honorable mention in Spot News was awarded to photojournalist Daniel Aguilar of Mexico for a sinister image of a suspected Aristide assassin being held with a boot pressed against his face in a car in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Reuters photographer Paul Vreeker won second prize in the People in the News singles for his image of an Iranian with his mouth and eyes sewn together as he protested Dutch government plans to expel 26,000 failed asylum seekers. In the Nature Singles category, Reuters photographer Pierre Holtz (who is based in Senegal) was awarded second prize for his picture of a swarm of locusts in Dakar.

"This is a great recognition of our photographers’ talent and Reuters commitment to stay a leader in the picture business," Reuters editor-in-chief Geert Linnebank said today. "I'm specially proud of Datta and the whole team who covered the tsunami story."

This was the 48th annual World Press Photo contest. Datta will receive his award during ceremonies in April in Amsterdam. Photo of the Year honors carry a cash prize of 10,000 Euro and a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II camera.

Other winners in the competition include some American photojournalists. NPPA member Carol Guzy of The Washington Post won third place in People in the News Stories for her essay on pair of cojoined twins, Faith and Hope. David Swanson, of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who won second place in General News Singles for a photograph of a U.S. soldier after an ambush in Iraq.

John Moore, of the Associated Press, won third place in General News Singles for a picture of a detainee in solitary confinement at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. And in General News Stories, James Hill won first place for a series of photographs he shot for The New York Times in the days and weeks following the Beslan, Russsia, school massacre.

Kristen Ashburn of Contact Press Images won first place in People in the News for a photograph of a sniper victim in a morgue in Gaza, and Christoper Morris of VII won first place in People in the News Stories for coverage of the George W. Bush presidential re-election campaign.

In Sports Features Singles, NPPA member Renee Jones of the Minneapolis Star Tribune won third place for coverage of a community wrestling tourney. In Sports Action Stories, David Burnett of Contact Press Images won first place for his Olympic Games portfolio shot for Timemagazine, and Donald Miralle Jr. of Getty Images won second place for his Olympic Games portfolio. Al Bello of Getty Images won third place.

James Nachtwey of VII won first place in Contemporary Issues Singles for a picture shot forTime magazine of a refugee woman caring for her son in Darfur. David Guttenfelder of the Associated Press won first place in Daily Life Singles for a picture of Afghan women at a polling station, and Krisanne Johnson won second place for an image shot for U.S. News & World Report magazine of an Old German Baptist girl playing basketball in the snow outside a barn in Ohio.

NPPA member Jahi Chikwendiu of The Washington Post won first place in Nature Singles for a picture of a sandstorm moving across an open desert in Chad. In Portraits Stories, Adam Nadel of Polaris Images won first place for "Darfur Portraits" and Nina Berman of Redux Pictures won second for portraits of U.S. veterans of the Iraqi war shot for Mother Jones magazine.

The winning photographs and a complete list of awards is online at


Three Entries In WHNPA's "Eyes Of History 2005" Contest Lead To New Guidelines; Andrea Bruce Woodall Is POY Again

By Donald R. Winslow 
News Photographer magazine

In the aftermath of the judging of the White House News Photographers’ Association’s "Eyes of History 2005" contest this last weekend at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the organization’s president and contest chair have set forth new contest guidelines "in an attempt to clarify what ‘digital darkroom’ tools and PhotoShop methods are acceptable for photographers who enter the annual competition."

The WHNPA executive board and the contest committee have agreed that the new guidelines become a permanent part of the WHNPA’s annual contest’s rules.

The rapid move to publish and draw attention to the guidelines came after internal WHNPA discussions regarding three separate issues that arose from the judging, including two entries that were disqualified – one for digital alteration, and one for not meeting contest rules – and responding to a complaint lodged following the judging about "overuse" of PhotoShop techniques in an image in the winning portfolio of the WHNPA Photographer of the Year, Andrea Bruce Woodall of The Washington Post.

It’s the second time Woodall, 31, has won WHNPA’s top honor; her first POY title came in 2003. She’s been a staff photojournalist at the Postsince 2001. This year she also won first place in the Picture Story/News, Feature, and Portfolio categories. Portfolio second and third place honors also went to Washington Post photojournalists, Jahi Chikwendiu and Michael Robinson-Chavez. Liz O. Baylen of The Washington Times won the Political Photo of the Year category, Pablo Martinez Monsivais of The Associated Press won the Presidential category, and Douglas Graham of Roll Call won first place in the On Capitol Hill category.

Carol Guzy of The Washington Post won first in Picture Story/Feature, Charles Dharapak of The Associated Press won first in Portrait/Personality, and Jay L. Clendenin of Polaris Images won first in Pictorial. Michael Connor of The Washington Times won first place in the Campaign 2004 category, Robinson-Chavez won first place in International News, and Juana Arias of The Washington Post won first place in Domestic News.

Chuck Kennedy of Knight Ridder/Tribune won first place in the Inauguration 2005 category, Gary Hershorn of Reuters won first place in Sports Feature/Reaction, and David Burnett of Contact Press Images for ESPN won first place in Sports Action.

WHNPA contest chair Pete Souza of the Chicago Tribune said that WHNPA contest organizers had three separate incidents to contend with in this year’s competition. One issue was the digital alteration of an image, the second issue was eligibility of an entry, and the third issue revolved around an accusation of "overuse" of PhotoShop in one of the winning photographs.

"We had a picture where someone had cloned – apparently, accidentally – where you could see a second, cloned, shoulder of a Marine. It didn’t improve the photograph, but it did alter the content. We disqualified it," Souza told News Photographer magazine today. "I called the photographer and told them about it, and they were surprised. I really don’t think it was intentional."

As a result of this picture, one of the newly adopted WHNPA contest guidelines reads, "The content of a photograph must not be altered in PhotoShop or by any other means. No element should be digitally added to or subtracted from any photograph. Only retouching to eliminate dust and scratches is acceptable. Any photograph entered in violation of these standards will be, at a minimum, disqualified."

The second incident revolved around the timing of when the photographs in an entry were shot. "Because we’re a member-only contest, there’s a rule that you can only enter pictures after you become a member. An editor entered a picture story for a member that was shot six months before she became a WHNPA member," Souza said, "And it won first place in feature picture story. It was beautiful, it deserved first place, but by our rules it was not eligible. After the judging we learned that it was not an eligible entry. It was shot during the year -– but it was shot six months before she became a member. Then we checked with the editor and found out that she knew it was not an eligible entry when she entered it. In a member-only contest, the photographer needs to be responsible for their entry, not an editor."

Discussions about this entry led WHNPA to adopt another new guideline: "All entry forms must be signed by the photographer. We will no longer allow a second party to submit entries and sign entry forms on behalf of a photographer. If an editor prepares entries for a photographer, it is still the photographer’s responsibility to submit the entry and sign the form. If a photographer is out of the country or on assignment, an eMail ‘signature’ from the photographer to the contest chair will suffice."

Souza explained, "We now have a profession that allows editors to enter contests for the photographers, and maybe the editors are not members of WHNPA. To me it's the photographer who needs to be held accountable for the entry, not an editor. In terms of toning, and PhotoShop too, to me this clause is almost more important than the other issues. We're writing a letter to the editor of the publication that knowingly entered an ineligible entry, because it was done with intent."

The third problem contest organizers dealt with stemmed from a complaint about one of the photographs in Woodall’s Photographer of the Year-winning portfolio. The complaint came after the judging was already done. "Someone brought it to my attention that maybe the PhotoShop ‘presentation’ had gone a little too far," Souza said. "The photograph is not altered. It does not meet the definition of ‘altering’ content. It’s by no means clear-cut. Did the image go too far with PhotoShop? I think that’s for us to discuss – and that’s why we’re doing this. We’re trying to be the first major contest to establish guidelines for what’s acceptable."

Woodall’s image of a fisherman in a blue denim shirt holding up a fish he’d caught along the Potomac River, shot from behind him, with the Jefferson Memorial in the background under a cloudy sky, was not questioned during portfolio judging. The judges "had gone home" before it was brought up, Souza said. "The pictures in a portfolio end up being projected on the screen for about three seconds. It wasn’t up there long enough to warrant any discussion during the judging. Even talking to the judges after the fact, it’s still sort of a gray area as to whether the ‘PhotoShop presentation’ was too much or not," Souza said.

The judges this year were John Kaplan, a 1992 Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist who is now a teacher at the University of Florida; Colin Crawford, assistant managing editor for photography for the Los Angeles Times; and Annie O’Neill, a staff photojournalist for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. There were also "rotating" judges who served as a "fourth judge" in judging some categories, including Bill Luster, a senior photographer and associate photography editor for The Louisville Courier-Journal; Leah Bendavid-val, a senior book editor, writer, and curator of photography books for National Geographic; Frank Van Riper, photography columnist and critic for The Washington Post; and former Associated Press photographer and editor Charles Tasnadi.

Joe Elbert, assistant managing editor for photography for The Washington Post, told News Photographer magazine today, "As far as The Washington Post is concerned, the photographer has done nothing wrong in terms of enhancing or improving an image for the WHNPA contest. She did not go beyond the bounds."

Elbert said Woodall is on assignment in Mexico this week.

"It comes down to taste versus ethics," Elbert said. "Ethically, nothing in the content was altered in the picture. But in toning, it was poorly executed by a picture desk technician when the photograph was published in January 2004. The picture was first published on The Washington Post’s Web site. And the way our workflow is established, a night technician then pulls images from a digital holding basket and tones them for use in the newspaper. Instead of doing the toning on a copy of the original, the technician toned the original file."

"So now it’s archived that way. For the contest Andrea didn’t have the original, so she pulled it from the archive and submitted it to the contest. Someone who saw the original on the Web site and then saw the one entered in the contest complained," Elbert said. "They assumed that Andrea juiced up the image to enter it in the contest, and that’s just not so."

Discussion of Woodall’s image after the judging led WHNPA to adopt another new contest guideline: "Reasonable adjustments in PhotoShop are acceptable. These include cropping, dodging and burning, conversion into grayscale, and normal toning and color adjustments that restore the authentic nature of the photograph. Excessive changes in density, contrast, color and saturation levels that alter the original scene are not acceptable. Backgrounds should not be digitally blurred or eliminated by burning down or by aggressive toning. The contest chair will inform the contest judges of these guidelines."

Souza added, "The important thing for WHNPA is that we have discussed it, and we chose not to disqualify it (Woodall’s image) because she did not alter the picture’s content. It's a murky area, what can and cannot be done in PhotoShop. In the time that I’ve been the contest chairman this has happened before. Usually, it's a black and white issue – either it's altered or it's not. I think we've done our part, and we’ve made our decision on this picture."

Woodall’s Photographer of the Year portfolio, along with the other winning "Eyes of History 2005" images and a complete list of winners, are online on the WHNPA Web site at

In a written announcement of the new contest guidelines, signed by WHNPA president Susan Walsh of The Associated Press and contest chair Souza, it says, "Our intention is to be an industry leader in setting forth these guidelines for our contest. It has become too easy to digitally manipulate photographs. We are concerned that without parameters, people will push the envelope further and further."

Souza came up with some of the new guidelines more than a year ago when concerns arose about what’s acceptable and not acceptable use of PhotoShop. "It was the result of what happened because of Brian Walski’s cloned Iraq photograph, and with the contest photographs of Patrick Schneider in North Carolina," Souza said. "We were trying to stay ahead of the fray. We had some of these guidelines a year ago, but for this year’s contest I didn’t put them into the rules – and I should have."