News Archive

Kentucky News Photographers Association Contest/Seminar, Jan. 23-24

The Kentucky News Photographers Association will hold its annual Photographer of the Year Contest and Seminar January 23-24 at the Marriott East Hotel in Louisville, KY. Speakers this year include Joe Elbert of The Washington Post, Gabriel Tait of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Matt Detrich of The Indianapolis Star, and Denny Simmons of the Evansville Courier & Press.

Contest judging is open to the public on Friday, January 23. The speakers are during Saturday's day-long seminar, which includes vendors from Nikon and Canon. For more information please see


Chinese Court Rejects Photojournalist's Appeal: Seok Jae-hyun Remains In Prison

Seok Jae-hyun
Word has come out of China that the Shandong Superior People's Court in Shandong Province rejected an appeal by South Korean freelance photojournalist Seok Jae-hyun to overturn his conviction on charges of "trafficking in persons."
South Korean photojournalist Nayan Sthankiya, an organizer of the group Resolution 217 which was formed specifically to win the release of Seok from Chinese prison, told News Photographer that Seok remains in detention after the rejected appeal and that the court said he is to finish his two-year sentence. The original verdict on May 22 included a fine of 5,000 Yuans, the confiscation of all his film and cameras, and a lifelong banishment from China at the end of his sentence.


"Seok took the news of the appeal denial very hard," Sthankiya said. "But the Korean Vice Council has said that there is a possibility of an early release, possibly January 16 due to that fact that he is a foreigner and special circumstances." Seok's wife, Kang Hye-won, in Seoul, South Korea, received a telephone call from the South Korean High Consul in Beijing on the night of December 19 with the news that her husband's appeal had been denied.

Seok, whose photographs appeared regularly in The New York Times, was arrested January 18, 2003, while covering North Korean refugees who were attempting to flee China on boats bound for South Korea and Japan. He was working on an ongoing project documenting the plight of North Korean refugees in China, a story that has openly irritated Chinese officials in the past. "There seems to still be some hope that he will be released sooner than later," Sthankiya said. "However, the conviction does mean that he will not be allowed back into China and he will lose all of his camera equipment."
Friends who have been working from the States for Seok's release also took the news with disappointment. "This is horrible news," Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist John Kaplan said. "We'll just have to keep the faith that he'll be released before two years are up." Kaplan, who is now an associate professor at the University of Florida teaching photography and international journalism to undergraduate and graduate students, suggested that it might be time for friends and supporters to start a fund to help Seok's family.
Journalism organizations and human rights groups have been calling for Seok's release ever since his arrest. The hearing was originally set for June, postponed until mid-July, and then further delayed with no explanation. "The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns the continued detention of Seok," Abi Wright of the CPJ said December 23 in a statement. "By keeping him in prison, China's leaders are threatening all foreign correspondents who report on issues that may be embarrassing for the Chinese government," said CPJ's Deputy Director Joel Simon. "Seok was simply carrying out his journalistic duty and should be released immediately and unconditionally.
"When Seok was arrested, so were a South Korean aid worker, two Chinese nationals, and a North Korean who were present during the boatlift Operation. They were also sentenced to two to seven years on similar charges.
According to Wright at the CPJ, 38 journalists are currently in prison in China, although Seok is the only foreigner on that list. In August, two South Korean journalists, Kim Seung Jin and Geum Myeong Seok, were detained in Shanghai while filming North Korean refugees who were attempting to gain asylum by entering a school run by the Japanese government. Kim and Geum were released and deported from China three weeks later. Meanwhile, Seok remains in prison.

Photojournalist's brother killed in fire

Tragedy struck the family of freelance photojournalist David Sokol, an NPPA member based in Wakefield, MA, on Wednesday December 17, when a two-alarm fire destroyed Sokol's parents' home and killed his 16-year-old brother Peter, who was the youngest of eight children. The fire left the family, who are well known in the Wakefield community where they've lived with their children for twenty years, homeless and without possessions. Peter, a Wakefield High School junior, was one of eight children of Laurie and Steven Sokol.

Sokol rushed to the scene Wednesday when he received a page to cover a house fire while on assignment for the Wakefield Daily Item. It turned out to be his family's home. Toni Carolina, a photographer for Massachusetts Community Newspaper Company, arrived at the scene shortly after Sokol. "David said when he got the page he was praying that the number of the house was wrong," Carolina said. "He was in shock when I got there. They lost everything."

According to a story in the Boston Herald, fire investigators suspect that Peter Sokol was playing with a flammable liquid in the back yard of the home and accidentally caught himself on fire. The story says Wakefield police believe that he panicked and ran into the house for help, catching the house on fire in the process. Siblings who were home at the time ran outside calling for help, witnesses said. Firefighters found the youth's body in the living room of the home two hours later after the fire was extinguished. The structure was destroyed, leaving the family with nothing.

Peter Rossi, who is editor of the Daily Item in Wakefield, told News Photographer that Peter delivered the Daily Item at one time and that his sister, Jennifer, is currently one of their newspaper carriers. Rossi also said that David began his photographic career with the Daily Item and that his photographs appear in several of the area's publications now, including the Wakefield newspaper.

A fund to assist the family has been established by the Daily Item at The Savings Bank in Wakefield. According to Rossi, the current goal is to meet the family's immediate needs such as housing, clothing and food. The Savings Bank is also accepting donations of food, clothing and gift certificates. "Peter's parents will have direct access to the fund," Rossi said, "and the bank is also accepting donations of food, clothing, and gift certificates."

Contributions can be sent to:
The Peter Sokol Memorial Fund
c/o The Savings Bank
PO Box 30
Wakefield, MA 01880

John Cornell Wins Run-Off Election

NPPA National Secretary T.C. Baker announced today (December 22, 2003) that John Cornell has won the special run-off election to fill the vacant position of NPPA Past President on the Executive Committee. "The votes have been counted and verified," Baker said, "and the results are John Cornell, 13; Manny Sotelo, 7." Baker said one ballot was cast after the voting deadline and that one board member did not vote. "Both candidates have been notified and are aware of the results," Baker said in an eMail to the Board.

The run-off election became necessary when the first balloting ended with 8 votes for Sotelo, 7 votes for Cornell, and 5 votes for David Handschuh. NPPA Bylaws call for the winner to be a "majority vote of the Board of Directors," and Roberts Rules defines majority vote as "more than half." The vacancy on the EC was created by the resignation of NPPA Immediate Past President Michael D. Sherer.


Run-Off Election Necessary

NPPA National Secretary T.C. Baker reports today that ballots to fill the vacant position of NPPA Past President have been counted and results verified. The vote totals created the need for a special run-off election that will be held immediately.

NPPA bylaws call for the winner to be a "majority vote of the Board of Directors." Roberts Rules defines a majority vote as "more than half." None of the candidates had enough votes to satisfy the definition of a "majority" of the twenty votes cast. Of the 22 Board members eligible to vote, 20 voted and 2 abstained.

The votes were Manny Sotelo, 8; John Cornell, 7; David Handschuh, 5.

"To fill the position fairly with a majority vote and to follow the bylaws, there will now be a run-off election between candidates Manny Sotelo and John Cornell," T.C. Baker informed the Board.

Only Board members are eligible to vote. A new ballot will be sent to Board members Tuesday morning, December 16. Board members have until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, December 19, to cast their run-off ballot. The National Secretary will certify the vote at that time.

If you have questions please contact your Regional Director or Associate Director.




Sherer Resigns From Executive Committee

NPPA Immediate Past President and Executive Committee member Michael D. Sherer resigned from the Executive Committee on November 24 in protest of their vote to go forward with a bank application for a line of credit. "This does not mean that I am giving up on the NPPA," Sherer wrote. "I will remain an active participant as long as anyone will have me. For what it might be worth, I just had to make this change in my service. I hope you all understand."A special election is being held this week to replace Sherer on the EC. Only Board members are eligible to vote on the replacement. If you have questions, please submit them to your Regional Director or Associate Director.Sherer posted this eMail to the EC and Board of Directors online: "It is with a deep sense of sadness that I submit my resignation from the EC. After tonight's vote to go forward with a $100,000 line of credit application to cover the devastation of our reserve fund, I can no longer support the direction that the leadership is taking."

Sherer resigned only from the EC, not the NPPA.


AP appoints three new photo chiefs

The Associated Press has named Santiago Lyon as its new Director of Photography to replace Vin Alabiso, an AP vice president who was appointed director of global business development/photos last August. Two senior photo managers in New York, J. David Ake and Michael Feldman, were also appointed as deputy directors of photography. The announcement came from AP senior vice president and executive editor Kathleen Carroll, who will be Lyon's new boss.

Lyon is a well-known and respected photojournalist with two decades of experience covering news and sports around the world. He worked for Reuters and UPI covering 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.

Santiago joined AP in 1991 in Cairo, Egypt. He was the AP's photography editor for Spain and Portugal from 1995 until this year, when he accepted a Nieman Fellowship for one year at Harvard University. The Nieman post continues until June. Carroll said that Ake and Feldman begin their new posts immediately and will be joined by Lyon this summer.

Feldman has worked for AP for almost half of his thirty-year career, including running AP's London-based international photography operations. Ake has twenty years experience in photojournalism and most recently has run AP's national photo coverage.


December Deadline Approaching For NPPA-Nikon Sabbatical Entries

Bill Luster, chairperson of the annual NPPA-Nikon Sabbatical program, reminds photojournalists that the entry deadline for the 2004 NPPA-Nikon Sabbatical competition is December 28, 2003, and that's quickly approaching.

Luster has seen a lot of proposals during his stewardship of the Sabbatical. "The good ones stand out immediately. A lot of people get tossed out of the competition early because they have not followed the rules, because they have not done enough research, and because they have poor photographs -- and especially poor captions -- in their proposals."

From his years of stewardship of the Sabbatical, Luster offers his personal lists of do's and don't's for entering the Sabbatical:

  • Read and follow the rules. Do not send your entries on a CD. You must send prints or printed material that does not exceed 8 1/2 x 11. Copy machine prints and materials are encouraged, as are duplicate slides.

  • Have a well-researched proposal on the topic "The Changing Face of America." Back up your proposal with facts and figures. Clearly show the reason why this proposal follows the Sabbatical's theme, and how your photographs will enlighten readers about the subject.

  • Provide details on how you plan to execute the project. If possible, present a budget plan on how you will spend the $15,000 stipend that comes with winning.

  • Have portfolio photos that exhibit excellent compositional and aesthetic quality and commitment to content.

  • If you have already started shooting on the proposal topic, be sure to include these pictures in your presentation.

  • Proofread the proposal. Grammatical errors and misspellings convey sloppiness. From the judges' perspective this competition is about 75 percent proposal oriented and 25 percent photo oriented.

  • Write thoughtful captions for your photographs. Include the basic necessary information as well as any additional information that will enhance the caption and the judges' understanding of your images.

  • Make the deadline. No entries will be accepted after the deadline of December 28, 2003.


Regional Election Results

The results of the Regional elections for odd numbered regions are in and T.C. Baker, NPPA national secretary and EC member, has verified the vote. For the first time in NPPA history the election was held online with only two members requesting paper ballots. The polling closed at 9pm Eastern time Sunday, November 30. Newly elected regional officers will assume their duties January 1, 2004, and their new contact information will be posted online in the Regional officer's directory at that time. Here are the winners and vote totals:

Region 1DirectorSean Elliot101
Michelle McLoughlin2
Bob Thayer1
John Walker1
Associate DirectorMichelle McLoughlin43
Keith Nordstrom33
Jamison Bazinet16
Todd Ziemek16
John Walker1
Region 3DirectorLinda Epstein148
Robert Michaud19
Associate DirectorJim Caiella97
Barry Reeger69
Matt Rainey1
Region 5DirectorRon Stover61
Lloyd Young43
Devin Miller3
Mark Hertzberg1
Greg Shaver1
Associate DirectorGreg Shaver59
Vince Munyon49
Region 7DirectorPatricia Holloway43
Jeff Stead19
Teak Phillips1
Charlie Riedel1
Associate DirectorJeff Roberts47
Ben Krain17
Region 9DirectorRay Meints58
Todd Hougaard6
Associate DirectorEric Blumer37
Scot Kingsley25
Laura Inns1
Doug Van Reeth1
Region 11DirectorTony Overman53
Chris Pietsch15
Associate DirectorKurt Austin37
Russ Kendall32
Chapters' Board RepresentativeDennis Tennant2

College Scholarships Available From NPPF

 If you're a full time college photojournalism student, or are returning to college to finish a photojournalism degree, it's not too early to start apply for National Press Photographer Foundation scholarship awards. The deadline for all applications is March 1 each year.

NPPF scholarship awards are given to encourage those who have talent and dedication to photojournalism and who need financial help to continue their studies. One scholarship is reserved exclusively for a photojournalist pursuing an advanced degree.

There are multiple annual scholarships available for still and television photojournalists and they are all administered by the NPPF, a foundation associated with the NPPA. For complete rules and information, portfolio, and application details, see