News Archive

Best Of Photojournalism 2004 Still Photo Winners Announced; Carolyn Cole and Alex Majoli are Photographers of the Year

Judging in the National Press Photographers Association's Best Of Photojournalism 2004 Contest has wrapped up at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, FL, today and Carolyn Cole of the Los Angeles Times and Alex Majoli, Magnum Photos for Newsweek, have been named Newspaper and Magazine Photographers of the Year.

Carolyn Cole of the Los Angeles Times is theNewspaper Photographer of the Year.Secondis Jahi Chikwendiu of The Washington Post, andthirdis Michael Robinson-Chavez of The Washington Post. Honorable Mentions went to Cheryl Diaz Meyer, of The Dallas Morning News; Mark Zaleski, of The Press-Enterprise; and David Leeson, of The Dallas Morning News.

Alex Majoli, Magnum Photos for Newsweek, is the Magazine Photographer of the Year. Second is James Nachtwey, VII for TIME Magazine, and third is Yuri Kozyrev of TIME Magazine.

"More than 30,500 photographs were entered in this year's Best Of Photojournalism contest, up from more than 26,000 last year, and that's a new record," said NPPA Executive Director Greg Garneau. This is the third year for the NPPA Best Of Photojournalism contest and for the judging to be held at Poynter.

For the first time in BOP history, still photography winners were announced daily as judges finished up with each day's categories. Previously all winners had been announced at the end of the contest.

Sunday's judging began withPictorial(Category PIC). First place is Jeff Hutchens, The National Geographic Channels International; second is Jeff Widener, The Honolulu Advertiser; third is Taylor Jones, The Palm Beach Post. Honorable Mentions went to Eric Mencher, The Philadelphia Inquirer; Alex Majoli, Magnum for Newsweek; and Patrick Tehan, The San Jose Mercury News.

InPortrait and Personality(PAP), first place is Elaine Skylar, The Concord Monitor; second is Dominic Chavez, The Boston Globe; third is Romain Blanquart, The Detroit Free Press. Honorable Mentions went to Aristide Economopoulos, The Star-Ledger; Vincent Laforet, The New York Times; and Michael Tercha, The Chicago Tribune.

InConceptual Illustration(COI), first place is Patrick Tehan, The San Jose Mercury News; second is Darren Gibbins, The Forum; third is Reza A. Marvashti, The Free Lance-Star. Honorable Mentions went to Damon Winter, The Dallas Morning News, and Bill Greene, The Boston Globe.

InThe Arts(ART), first place is Ann Johansson, Freelance; second is Aristide Economopoulos, The Star-Ledger; third is Chris Schneider, The Rocky Mountain News. Honorable Mentions went to Sylwia Kapuscinski, The Detroit Free Press; Alan Berner, The Seattle Times; and Fred Squillante, The Columbus Dispatch.

Judging Monday began withComputer Illustration(CII). First place is Glen Wexler, Time Magazine; second is Jim Weber, The Commercial Appeal; third is Michael Elins, Time Magazine. An Honorable Mention went to Glen Wexler, Time Magazine.

InNature and Environment(NAE), first place is Todd Heisler, The Rocky Mountain News; second is Jeff Hutchens, The National Geographic Channels International; third is Jessica Tefft, The Washington Times. Honorable Mentions went to K.C. Alfred, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and David McNew of Getty Images.

InDomestic News(DON), first place is Sean Hiller, The Daily Breeze; second is Gina Ferrazi, Los Angeles Times; third is Matt Miller, The Omaha World-Herald. Honorable Mentions went to Patrick Raycraft, The Hartford Courant; Jim MacMillan, The Philadelphia Daily News; and Lara Cerri, The St. Petersburg Times.

InGeneral News(GNN), first place is Dai Sugano, The San Jose Mercury News; second is Brad Loper, The Dallas Morning News; third is Fred Zwicky, The Peoria Journal Star. Honorable Mentions went to Thomas Boyd, The Register-Guard; Joe Cavaretta, Associated Press; Rob Ostermaier, The Daily Press; and Max Schulte, The Democrat and Chronicle.

InInternational News(INN), first place is Dominic Chavez, The Boston Globe; second is David Leeson, The Dallas Morning News; third is Cheryl Diaz Meyer, The Dallas Morning News. Honorable Mentions went to Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times; John Moore, Associated Press; Jahi Chikwendiu, The Washington Post; Kuni Takahashi, The Boston Herald; and Andy Rogers, The Gazette.

InIndividual Sports Action(SAI), first place is Preston Keres, freelance for Sports Illustrated; second is Al Bello of Getty Images; third is Jeff Gritchen, The Long Beach Press-Telegram. Honorable Mentions went to Thomas Kienzle, Associated Press; Brian Kersey, freelance; Daron Dean, freelance; and Jonas Lindkvist, Dagens Nyheter.

Monday's judging ended in the evening withMagazine Feature(MAF). First place is Spencer Platt of Getty Images; second is Roger Lemoyne, Redux Pictures; third is Scott Nelson of Getty Images. Honorable Mentions went to Peter Parks, Agency France Press; Roger Lemoyne, Redux Pictures; and Roger Lemoyne, Redux Pictures.

Judging Tuesday began withFeature(FEA). First place is Michael Lutzky, The Washington Post; second is Al Diaz, The Miami Herald; third is Todd Heisler, Rocky Mountain News. Honorable Mentions went to Chris Oberholtz, The Kansas City Star; Thomas Boyd, The Register-Guard; and Gary Porter, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

InSports Picture Story(SPS), first place is Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post; second is Janet Jensen, The News Tribune; third is Damon Winters, The Dallas Morning News. Honorable Mentions went to Michael Novotny, Lidove noviny; Lene Esthave, freelance; and Natalie Behring-Chisholm, freelance.

InNature and Environment Picture Story(NPS), first is Nicole Fruge, The San Antonio Express-News; second is Tom Reese, The Seattle Times; third is Timothy D. Sofranko, Colgate University. An Honorable Mention went to Josh Meltzer, The Roanoke Times.

InMagazine Portrait & Personality(MPP), first is Harry Benson, for Newsweek Magazine; second is Jason Bell, for Time Magazine; third is Brenda Ann Kenneally, New York Times Magazine. Honorable Mentions went to Marcus Bleasdale, IPG-Harpers; George Lange, USA Today Weekend Magazine; and Callie Shell, Aurora.

InMagazine News(MAN), first is Ghris Hondros, Getty Images; second is Chris Hondros, Getty Images; third is Roberto Schmidt, AFP. Honorable Mentions went to Yuri Kozyrev, Time Magazine; Stephanie Sinclair, Chicago Tribune; Atta Kenare, AFP; and Alexander Joe, AFP.

InSports Feature(SPF), first is Barry Chin, The Boston Globe; second is Manny Chrisostomo, The Sacramento Bee; third is Ross Taylor, The Durham Herald-Sun. Honorable Mentions went to Seth M. Gitner, The Roanoke Times; Vincent Pugliese, The Evansville Courier & Press; and Darren Hauck, Associated Press.

InTeam Sports Action(SAT), first is Mike Longo, Associated Press; second is Bob Rasato, Sports Illustrated; third Kevin Clark, The Washington Post. Honorable Mentions went to Chip Litherland, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune; Al Diaz, The Miami Herald; and Charles Cherney, The Chicago Tribune.

InFeature Picture Story(FPS), first is Paul Hansen, Dagen Nyheter; second is David Hoegsholt, Berlingske Tidende; third is Mark Zaleski, The Press-Enterprise. Honorable Mentions went to Betty Udeson, The Seattle Times, and Mark Zaleski, The Press-Enterprise.

InInternational Picture Story(INS), first is David Leeson, The Dallas Morning News; second is Tyler Hicks, The New York Times; third is Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times. Honorable Mentions went to Vincent Laforet, The New York Times; Rodrigo Abd, Associated Press; Cheryl Diaz Meyer, The Dallas Morning News; Jacob Ehrbahn, Politiken; and Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times.

InDomestic News Picture Story(DNS), first is Brian Vander Brud, Los Angeles Times; second is Mike Morones, The Free Lance-Star; third is Dai Sugano, San Jose Mercury News. Honorable Mentions went to Gina Ferazzi, Los Angeles Times, and Alan Spearman, The Commercial Appeal.

InMagazine News Picture Story(MNS), first is Marcus Bleasdale, IPG-Harpers; second is Christopher Morris, VII-Time Magazine; third is Chris Hondros, Getty Images. Honorable Mentions went to Robert Nickelsberg, Time Magazine; James Nachtwey, Time Magazine; Yuri Kozyrev, Time Magazine; and Philip Blenkinsop, Time-Asia Magazine.

InSports Portfolio of the Year(SPY), first is Bill Frakes, Sports Illustrated; second is Jim Davis, The Boston Globe; third is Ezra Shaw, Getty Images. Honorable Mentions went to Evan Semon, Rocky Mountain News, and Simon Bruty, Sports Illustrated.

Clyde Mueller, director of photography at The Santa Fe New Mexican who is also the NPPA liaison to Poynter, said "We are delighted to be able to judge our contest here under the auspices of The Poynter Institute. Their sponsorship of the contest has been critical to its success."

"There are lots of high quality images and the judging is (therefore) much more difficult," said Harry Walker, the NPPA BOP Contest Committee chairperson who is also the director of the Knight Ridder/Tribune Photo Service. "I am very pleased with the number of entries in this year's contest."

The still photography judges were: Heidi de Laubenfels, assistant managing editor of graphics, photography, and technology for The Seattle Times; Michele McNally, photography editor for Fortune magazine; Janet Reeves, director of photography for the Rocky Mountain News; Clarence Williams, a freelance photojournalist; and Gary Hershorn, director of photography in the United States for Reuters."

Judges in the interactive and Web categories were Mindy McAdams, who is the Knight Chair Professor of Journalism at the University of Florida; Cheryl Diaz Meyer, a photojournalist at The Dallas Morning News; and Anne Conneen, the design editor and an adjunct faculty member at The Poynter Institute.

NPPA BOP Contest Committee members this year were Joe Elbert, of the Washington Post; Kenneth Irby, of The Poynter Institute for Media Studies; and Terry Eiler, director of the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University in Athens, OH.

Judging in the television categories wrapped up on March 12 and the complete list of winners are posted online at www.nppa.org and www.poynter.org. The Ernie Crisp Television Photographer of the Year is Ted Nelson of WTVF, Nashville, TN. Brian Weister of KMGH, Denver, CO, was named Editor of the Year. Nashville's WTVF was also named winner of the large market Station of the Year honor. WAVE of Louisville, KY, was the medium market Station of the Year, and WHO-TV of Des Moines, IA, was the small market Station of the Year.

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Best Of Photojournalism 2004 Picture Editing Contest Results Announced

By Stan Alost

Entries in the Best Of Photojournalism 2004 Picture Editing contest were judged at the Ohio University School of Visual Communication by three judges, several alternates, assisted by a team of OU volunteer students. They sifted through more than 1,400 entries and what they found among the magazines and newspapers, in addition to the winners, was an abundance of good work. "What impressed me overall about the editing division was that good photography, and in cases great photography, existed in every circulation division," recalled judge George Olson. "And in some of the biggest winners were smaller papers."

The Individual Newspaper Picture Editor of the Year is Bruce Moyer, of The Hartford Courant. Second is Mark Edelson, The Palm Beach Post, and third is Tim Rasmussen, of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Awards of Excellence went to Dan Habib, of The Concord Monitor, and Brian Masck, of The Flint Journal.

The Team Newspaper Picture Editing Award went to the Los Angeles Times. Second is The Hartford Courant, and third is The Palm Beach Post. Awards of Excellence went to The Herald, of Jasper, IN, and The Spokesman Review.

The Magazine Picture Editor of the Year is Maryanne Golon, of Time Magazine. Second is James K. Colton, of Sports Illustrated, andthird is Carol Nakagawa, of The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest Magazine.

Best Use Of Photography in newspapers with circulation of 75,000 and over was awarded to The Hartford Courant. Second is The Spokesman Review, and third is The Virginian-Pilot. Awards of Excellence went to The Plain Dealer, and to The Detroit Free Press.

Best Use Of Photography in newspapers with circulation of 75,000 or less was awarded to The Howard County Times. Second isThe Albuquerque Tribune, and third is Education Week. Awards of Excellence went to The Concord Monitor, and to The Herald, of Jasper, IN.

Best Use Of Photography in a magazine went to Time Magazine. Second is also Time, and third is Newsweek. An Award of Excellence went to The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest Magazine.

The judges were Thea Breite, of the Boston Globe; Mark Edelson, of the Palm Beach Post; and George Olson, of Sunset magazine. The alternate judges included Bruce Strong, Larry Lambert, Marcy Nighswander and Larry Nighswander. The alternates stepped in when any of the judges had an entry, or a competitor's entry, under consideration.

"We did see a good number of effectively told picture stories (not all won awards - contests have their limits) and that's a good sign," observed Edelson. "It seems the shrinking news hole is not necessarily killing off the opportunity to deal with subjects in breadth, if not always depth." On the other hand, the judges noticed the sameness among many of the entries.

"It's always a battle to convince editors that surprising readers won't automatically chase them away; that in fact taking new or unusual approaches might actually excite them," Edelson said. "Unfortunately we didn't see much of that."

What did become evident was the thoroughness of the judge's consideration. From the first category to the last, they methodically examined entries, looked at each image, read text, and discussed at length how effective the presentation was for readers. "Watching and listening to the judges dissect each layout, and scrutinize every photo was incredible," said Ohio University graduate student and volunteer Erin Fredrichs. "I was able to see the standards for excellence in photojournalism being set."

Yet, the contest wasn't without hitches. Now in its third year, the contest is still feeling growing pains.

Confusion over entry preparation meant some entries were submitted in tear sheet and digital format, some only as tear sheets, and some only in digital form. In the end, no entries were excluded. The judges viewed tear sheets when possible and digital form only when there was no other choice.

All of the judges indicated that the contest would be better if entries were tear sheets only. Trying to read and maneuver through PDF's was laborious at best. Unlike viewing images digitally, the editing division entails reading captions and text to better understand the stories and evaluate the images. Scrolling through PDF's, and in some cases files with not enough resolution to read the text, was ineffective. More importantly, the judges agreed, the contest is about what the reader saw.

"The spirit of the competition is to judge the editing and presentation in final publication form, at the reader saw it," Edelson stated. "So looking at the real paper is preferable. In any case, it should be either/or. The combination (of tear sheets and PDF's) makes the playing field unequal and annoying."

There were other ideas: have fewer categories; drop the individual editing category; and clarify some of the categories. Each of the suggestions has been passed on to BOP contest chair Harry Walker and the BOP contest committee. Even with the minor hiccups, the entries garnered admiration.

"I couldn't help but be aware that at the top levels of competition, the editing and use of photography was so powerful and effective that papers were simply neck and neck at the finish. That's a good sign for both the photographers and the readers," said Olson.

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NPPA Best Of Photojournalism 2004 Still Photo And Web Judging Underway; Winners Announced Daily

Judging in the National Press Photographers Association's Best Of Photojournalism 2004 Contest in the still photography and Web categories is underway at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies at St. Petersburg, FL, and continues through March 26.

"More than 30,500 photographs were entered in this year's Best Of Photojournalism contest, up from more than 26,000 last year, and that's a new record," said NPPA Executive Director Greg Garneau at the end of the second day of judging. This is the third year for the NPPA Best Of Photojournalism contest and for the judging to be held at Poynter.

Clyde Mueller, director of photography at The Santa Fe New Mexican who is also the NPPA liaison to Poynter, said today "We are delighted to be able to judge our contest here under the auspices of The Poynter Institute. Their sponsorship of the contest has been critical to its success."

For the first time in BOP history, still photography winners will be announced daily as judges finish up with each day's categories. Previously all winners were announced at the end of the contest. Judging for Magazine Photographer of the Year is scheduled for Thursday afternoon and evening, and judging for the Newspaper Photographer of the Year is scheduled for Friday morning.

"There are lots of high quality images and the judging is (therefore) much more difficult," said Harry Walker, the NPPA BOP Contest Committee chairperson who is also the director of the Knight Ridder/Tribune Photo Service. "I am very pleased with the number of entries in this year's contest."

Before the judging began this year Walker said, "I am pleased to announce that we have assembled a diverse and talented group of judges in the still photography categories. They are: Heidi de Laubenfels, assistant managing editor of graphics, photography, and technology for The Seattle Times; Michele McNally, photography editor for Fortune magazine; Janet Reeves, director of photography for the Rocky Mountain News; Clarence Williams, a freelance photojournalist; and Gary Hershorn, director of photography in the United States for Reuters."

Judges in the interactive and Web categories are Mindy McAdams, who is the Knight Chair Professor of Journalism at the University of Florida; Cheryl Diaz Meyer, a photojournalist at The Dallas Morning News; and Anne Conneen, the design editor and an adjunct faculty member at The Poynter Institute.

NPPA BOP Contest Committee members this year are Joe Elbert, of the Washington Post; Kenneth Irby, of The Poynter Institute for Media Studies; and Terry Eiler, director of the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University in Athens, OH.

Sunday's judging began with Pictorial (Category #13). First place is Jeff Hutchens, The National Geographic Channels International; second is Jeff Widener, The Honolulu Advertiser; third is Taylor Jones, The Palm Beach Post. Honorable Mentions went to Eric Mencher, The Philadelphia Inquirer; Alex Majoli, Magnum for Newsweek; and Patrick Tehan, The San Jose Mercury News.

In Portrait and Personality (Category #12), first place is Elaine Skylar, The Concord Monitor; second is Dominic Chavez, The Boston Globe; third is Romain Blanquart, The Detroit Free Press. Honorable Mentions went to Aristide Economopoulos, The Star-Ledger; Vincent Laforet, The New York Times; and Michael Tercha, The Chicago Tribune.

In Conceptual Illustration (Category #16), first place is Patrick Tehan, The San Jose Mercury News; second is Darren Gibbins, The Forum; third is Reza A. Marvashti, The Free Lance-Star. Honorable Mentions went to Damon Winter, The Dallas Morning News, and Bill Greene, The Boston Globe.

In The Arts (Category #14), first place is Ann Johansson, Freelance; second is Aristide Economopoulos, The Star-Ledger; third is Chris Schneider, The Rocky Mountain News. Honorable Mentions went to Sylwia Kapuscinski, The Detroit Free Press; Alan Berner, The Seattle Times; and Fred Squillante, The Columbus Dispatch.

Judging Monday began with Computer Illustration (Category #15). First place is Glen Wexler, Time Magazine; second is Jim Weber, The Commercial Appeal; third is Michael Elins, Time Magazine. An Honorable Mention went to Glen Wexler, Time Magazine.

In Nature and Environment (Category #17), first place is Todd Heisler, The Rocky Mountain News; second is Jeff Hutchens, The National Geographic Channels International; third is Jessica Tefft, The Washington Times. Honorable Mentions went to K.C. Alfred, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and David McNew of Getty Images.

In Domestic News (Category #8), first place is Sean Hiller, The Daily Breeze; second is Gina Ferrazi, Los Angeles Times; third is Matt Miller, The Omaha World-Herald. Honorable Mentions went to Patrick Raycraft, The Hartford Courant; Jim MacMillan, The Philadelphia Daily News; and Lara Cerri, The St. Petersburg Times.

In General News (Category #7), first place is Dai Sugano, The San Jose Mercury News; second is Brad Loper, The Dallas Morning News; third is Fred Zwicky, The Peoria Journal Star. Honorable Mentions went to Thomas Boyd, The Register-Guard; Joe Cavaretta, Associated Press; Rob Ostermaier, The Daily Press; and Max Schulte, The Democrat and Chronicle.

In International News (Category #5), first place is Dominic Chavez, The Boston Globe; second is David Leeson, The Dallas Morning News; third is Cheryl Diaz Meyer, The Dallas Morning News. Honorable Mentions went to Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times; John Moore, Associated Press; Jahi Chikwendiu, The Washington Post; Kuni Takahashi, The Boston Herald; and Andy Rogers, The Gazette.

In Individual Sports Action (Category #19), first place is Preston Keres, freelance for Sports Illustrated; second is Al Bello of Getty Images; third is Jeff Gritchen, The Long Beach Press-Telegram. Honorable Mentions went to Thomas Kienzle, Associated Press; Brian Kersey, freelance; Daron Dean, freelance; and Jonas Lindkvist, Dagens Nyheter.

Monday's judging ended in the evening with Magazine Feature (Category #23). First place is Spencer Platt of Getty Images; second is Roger Lemoyne, Redux Pictures; third is Scott Nelson of Getty Images. Honorable Mentions went to Peter Parks, Agency France Press; Roger Lemoyne, Redux Pictures; and Roger Lemoyne, Redux Pictures.

Judging in the television categories wrapped up on March 12 and the complete list of winners are posted online at www.nppa.org and www.poynter.org. The Ernie Crisp Television Photographer of the Year is Ted Nelson of WTVF, Nashville, TN. Brian Weister of KMGH, Denver, CO, was named Editor of the Year. Nashville's WTVF was also named winner of the large market Station of the Year honor. WAVE of Louisville, KY, was the medium market Station of the Year, and WHO-TV of Des Moines, IA, was the small market Station of the Year.

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Seok Jae-hyun Released From Chinese Prison

South Korean freelance photojournalist Seok Jae-hyun, 34, was released from Wei Fang prison in China today after serving 14 months of a two-year sentence for his conviction on charges of "trafficking in persons." His wife, Kang Hye-won, and friend and fellow photojournalist Nayan Sthankiya, were waiting for him at the airport in Qingdao, China, as police delivered Seok to the tarmac next to his departing flight back to Inch'on, South Korea, which is west of Seoul.

[Seok Jae-hyun Released: Photojournalist Seok Jae-hyun, 34, answers a reporter's question as his wife, Kang Hye-won, looks on upon their arrival in Inch'on airport, west of Seoul on March 19, 2004. China on Friday released Seok, who was arrested in January 2003 in the port city of Yantai while covering an attempt by activists to help North Koreans flee to Japan and South Korea in fishing boats, South Korea. Photograph by Lee Jae-won courtesy of Reuters.]

"The Chinese were very particular about not allowing the media to see Jae on Chinese soil. When the police moved him onto the tarmac and everyone started taking pictures, they promptly put him back into the car until the area was cleared," Sthankiya told Stephen Paul Gilbert, who was monitoring Seok's release from back in Vancouver. Sthankiya and Gilbert co-founded the group Resolution 217, which was organized specifically to win the release of Seok from prison.

Chinese police arrested Seok, along with around 80 North Korean refugees, on January 18, 2003, in the port city of Yantai, opposite the Korean peninsula.

Today Gilbert said, "Seok didn't know he was going to be released until 10 in the morning when Kang came to the prison with his plane ticket and clothes for the return trip. She saw him briefly and then wasn't allowed to see him again until he stepped on the plane. Kang went on ahead (to the airport) in a taxi, while Jae followed later in a police van."

"Seok was surprised by the amount of media waiting for him at Inch'on airport. He gave a brief statement, answered a few questions, and then was on his way back to his home town of Daegu," Sthankiya told Gilbert. Sthankiya also said that Seok "looks okay, somewhat wasted and tired, but still all right. He is bald from having his head shaved in prison and his hands are kind of frostbitten, but nevertheless he is in very good spirits."

[Seok Jae-hyun Released: Seok Jae-hyun, answers a reporter's upon his arrival in Inch'on airport on March 19, 2004. China on Friday released Seok from prison after serving 14 months. Photograph by Lee Jae-won courtesy of Reuters.]

In a statement released this morning, the press freedom groups Resolution 217 and Reporters Without Borders said, "We welcome the release of South Korean photojournalist Seok Jae-hyun from Wei Fang prison in China today with nothing short of jubilation. While being ecstatic that Seok is back with his family and friends in South Korea, we remain equally outraged he was ever arrested at all. His release is a pyrrhic victory."

"When the Chinese police rounded up the refugees in Yantai, five people were arrested along with them: Seok, Jae Young-hoon (another South Korean, a humanitarian aid worker), two ethnic Chinese-Korean workers, and Jo Yong-su (a North Korean who organized and led the attempted boatlift). The others are still in a different prison than the one Seok was in. No one knows what happened to any of the 80 or so refugees, including Jo Yong-su's family," Gilbert said.

Mr. Chun Ki-won, a Christian minister who works in refugee aid and was arrested for his activities in China in 2001, said most if not all of them had been sent back to North Korea.

Seok, whose photographs appeared regularly in The New York Times and GEO magazine, was arrested while covering North Korean refugees as they attempted to flee China on boats bound for South Korea and Japan. He was documenting the plight of North Korean refugees in China, a story that has openly irritated Chinese officials.

Earlier this year the Shandong Superior People's Court in Shandong Province rejected an appeal by Seok to overturn his conviction. 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 Jae-hyun Released: South Korean photojournalist Seok Jae-hyun (center), 34, chats with a friend as his wife Kang Hye-won (left) accompanies when they arrived in Inch'on airport west of Seoul March 19, 2004. Photograph by Lee Jae-won courtesy of Reuters.]

Vincent Brossel, head of the Asia-Pacific Desk of Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières) in Paris, this week said, "After almost 15 months in jail, Seok will be released mainly because of South Korean and international pressures. Finally, Beijing recognized that he was a media professional merely doing his duty. We hope that South Korean and foreign journalists will not stop covering the terrible situation of North Korean refugees in China, because of Seok's long jailing." RSF had launched an online petition calling for the photojournalist's release and the dropping of all charges. RSF presented the petition to the Chinese embassy in France around the time of Chinese president Hu Jintao's official visit to Paris on January 27-28.

"The faculty and students at Ohio University are overjoyed at the prospects of Jae's release," said Terry Eiler, director of the Ohio University School of Visual Communication where Seok received his master's degree in Visual Communications. "He is an exceptional visual journalist and a gentleman who has suffered greatly to tell the world a human story." OU students organized a print auction to raise money for the imprisoned journalist, who is a South Korean citizen.

"We're grateful to everyone worldwide who worked so passionately for justice for Jae," John Kaplan said. "The Committee to Protect Journalists, the Overseas Press Club, Reporters Without Borders and especially Resolution 217, the group that was founded to bring a voice to Jae's imprisonment, were all tireless in their call for his release." Kaplan is one of Seok's long-time supporters and friends who worked behind the scenes for his freedom. Kaplan is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist who is now an associate professor at the University of Florida.

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Seok Jae-hyun To Be Released From Chinese Prison

South Korean freelance photojournalist Seok Jae-hyun is scheduled to be released from prison in China in only two days, a spokesperson for the group Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières) confirms this morning from Paris. Vincent Brossel, head of the Asia-Pacific Desk of RSF, said this morning, "We can confirm that the South Korean Consul in Beijing, Lee Young-baek, told Seok's wife, Kang Hye-won, that he will be released on Friday, March 19. She is flying there to get her husband back home. We are really happy with this news." RSF said the Consul called Kang on Tuesday with the news.

 

Photo courtesy of Geo Magazine

 

"After more than 15 months in jail, Seok will be released mainly because of South Korean and international pressures," Brossel toldNews Photographermagazine. "Finally, Beijing recognized that he was a media professional merely doing his duty. We hope that South Korean and foreign journalists will not stop covering the terrible situation of North Korean refugees in China, because of Seok's long jailing." The group had launched an online petition calling for the photojournalist's release and the dropping of all charges. RSF presented the petition to the Chinese embassy in France during Chinese president Hu Jintao's official visit to Paris on January 27-28.

 

Seok, whose photographs appeared regularly in The New York Times and GEO magazine, was arrested January 18, 2003, while covering North Korean refugees as they attempted to flee China on boats bound for South Korea and Japan. He was documenting the plight of North Korean refugees in China, a story that has openly irritated Chinese officials. "The conviction means that he will not be allowed back into China and he will lose all of his cameras," photojournalist Nayan Sthankiya said. Sthankiya, a freelancer based in South Korea, is the cofounder of the group Resolution 217 that was formed specifically to win the release of Seok from Chinese prison. Sthankiya is traveling to China today or tomorrow to be there when Seok is released from prison.

 

Earlier this year the Shandong Superior People's Court in Shandong Province rejected an appeal by Seok to overturn his conviction on charges of "trafficking in persons." After the rejected appeal the court said Seok was 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 at the time. "But the Korean Vice Consul has said that there is a possibility of an early release, possibly due to that fact that he is a foreigner and special circumstances."

 

Terry Eiler, director of the Ohio University School of Visual Communication where Jae received his master's degree in Visual Communications, said this morning when he heard the news, "The faculty and students at Ohio University are overjoyed at the prospects of Jae's release. He is an exceptional visual journalist and a gentleman who has suffered greatly to tell the world a human story." Eiler was one of Jae's former professors at OU. Students there had organized a print auction to raise money for the imprisoned journalist, who is a Korean citizen.

 

"We're grateful to everyone worldwide who worked so passionately for justice for Jae," John Kaplan said. "The Committee to Protect Journalists, the Overseas Press Club, Reporters Without Borders and especially Resolution 217, the group that was founded to bring a voice to Jae's imprisonment, were all tireless in their call for his release." Kaplan is one of Seok's long-time supporters and friends who worked behind the scenes for his freedom. Kaplan is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist who is now an associate professor at the University of Florida, teaching photography, design, and international journalism.

 

Kaplan said Seok "was merely a passionate journalist working to tell an important story. My hope now for Jae is that he will be able to rest for a time, and that he'll be able to retain the heart and soul that helps make his photography so memorable. I hope that he and his wife, Kang, will be able to return to their everyday routine, and to forgive."

 

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. In August, two South Korean journalists were detained in Shanghai while filming North Korean refugees attempting to gain asylum entering a school run by the Japanese government. They were released and deported from China only three weeks later.

 

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An open letter from NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism Contest Committee member Joe Elbert in response to an online petition which calls for a rejoining of the University of Missouri and NPPA's annual photojournalism contests

The breakup of Missouri and NPPA seems to hit folks at a personal level. I'm truly sorry for that, but some background might help make this more understandable.

Where to begin? During NPPA's 1997 convention I was asked to be the contest liaison between NPPA and the University of Missouri. I'd been a judge for two years, knew the folks at Missouri, and knew that relations weren't exactly warm and fuzzy between Missouri and NPPA. My first official duty was to have lunch with Bill Kuykendall, Canon and Kodak to discuss their sponsorship. For the next hour Bill and I heard how they felt the contest didn't give them the visibility they wanted and they were considering dropping out.

Bill and I worked at getting more sponsors. We brought the Newseum on board to host the awards ceremony. We failed to bring Apple on board but we replaced Kodak with Fuji. Missouri was spending around $220,000 to run the contest (I have a budget from the 1998 contest). NPPA was spending around $100,000 on the book, running promotions in the magazine, and providing the mailing list. Bill and I knew having only two big sponsors was incredibly dangerous and put us in a vulnerable position. I wanted to go for smaller donations from more sponsors.

In 1999 I attended World Press and interviewed their leadership hoping we might be able to take a page from their playbook. Wow, if we were a small country and our only claim to fame were Tulips, we'd have it made. Seriously, with sponsorships from the government, national airlines, Canon and national newspaper groups we'd be sitting pretty. Bill and I talked about strategic partnerships with American Airlines and other organizations such as Federal Express. We kept getting slapped down and didn't get anyone on board. Also, the recession was just starting and businesses were pulling back on sponsorships.

By 2000 things were desperate. Bill Kuykendall couldn't pass up an incredible retirement package. Before leaving he put together a very frank mid-year report to NPPA and University (available for background). If all the positions were gutted, Missouri would still need around $92,000 to hold the contest.

The University of Missouri covered the 2001 contest expenses and that's when things started going South. I remember a sense of desperation in the air at the awards ceremony at the Newseum. As if things weren't bad enough, the Newseum was also closing down in March 2002.

Later in the year the University asked NPPA to consider charging for entries. NPPA's elected leaders felt this was unfair to the membership since their membership dues included the contest. At the same time, the country was in recession, salaries were being frozen and departments were being downsized. NPPA members needed our help. NPPA leadership explained this to the University. The University came back with a counter proposal that the contest would be free if NPPA would come up with $90,000. We didn't have that kind of money and we said we couldn't do it. Clyde Mueller, President of NPPA at this time, asked me what I thought and I felt the contest could be run for $30,000. NPPA's leadership offered Missouri a 'one-time grant' of $30,000 hoping to keep the partnership and contest running. The final communication took place in November 2001 when Missouri informed NPPA the contract was terminated. We were fired.

It's November 2001 and we're covering the most historic year since 1941. No contest? A group of us got together and decided we would have a contest, which would be free, and it also would be inclusive. With no advertising we had our first contest and it cost us $30,000. So much for the $90,000 Missouri said it would cost. And we had the same number of contest images entered as Missouri.

We had sponsors and we moved the contest to a true digital environment. For the first time in any photo contest all of the images were available for viewing. Entries could be submitted via FTP.

Earlier I mentioned the goal of being inclusive. Teachers all over the world are using the NPPA Web site and contest entries to teach photography. Photography textbooks are no longer necessary. NPPA has received letters praising the availability of the images.

The NPPA contest continues to grow. The caliber of entries and winners this year is just amazing. Just this week NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism's top award winners won both the Feature and Spot News Pulitzers (Carolyn Cole, David J. Leeson and Cheryl Diaz Meyer).

We all remember entering our first contest and wondering if we were competitive. With the entries online photographers can see their entries, can see other photographers' work and learn from the experience. It's more about seeing the entries than seeing the winners.

I don't feel there was anything personal with the breakup. Missouri fired us and we moved on. POYi had 26,000 images in their contest this year; NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism had nearly 31,000 entries. We have sponsors lined up and we're getting our house in order. In three years, NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism has grown by 26%.

I understand tradition, and I won a few POY awards myself. At the same time I want to help the young generation to be better. To do that, we need a contest that is available to everyone.

- Joe Elbert
April 8, 2004

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Two CNN Employees Gunned Down In Iraq

CNN is reporting that two of their employees were killed and a third was wounded on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 when the unmarked cars they were traveling in came under gunfire south of Baghdad, Iraq, while returning from an assignment in the south in Hillah. CNN says the cars were ambushed on the outskirts of Baghdad.

Killed were producer and translator Duraid Isa Mohammed, 27, and driver Yasser Khatab, 25. They died of multiple gunshot wounds, CNN said. Photojournalist Scott McWhinnie, who was in a different vehicle than Mohammed and Khatab, was reportedly grazed in the head by a bullet.

CNN said that a single gunman armed with an AK-47 was seen standing in the sunroof of a rust-colored Opel that approached the CNN cars from behind, and that he opened fire on the lead vehicle striking it at least five times. A security adviser in that car returned fire and they managed to escape. Correspondent Michael Holmes, producer Shirley Hung, a security adviser and a second driver were in this car with McWhinnie. They were reportedly unhurt.

The second CNN car, with Mohammed and Khatab inside, spun around on the median and drove off the highway and was disabled, according to the CNN witnesses. The CNN crew in McWhinnie's vehicle drove to an Iraqi police station and asked officers to go back to the scene to help Mohammed and Khatab. The crew then drove to a forward operations base of the U.S. 82nd Airborne, where McWhinnie was treated, and the U.S. military sent a team to find the missing CNN employees.

Iraqi police found the car with the bodies of Mohammed and Khatab. CNN correspondent Michael Holmes, quoted in the CNN report on the attack, said "This was not an attempted robbery, they were clearly trying to take us out. There is no doubt in my mind that if our security adviser had not returned fire, everyone in our vehicle would have been killed."

Mohammed and Khatab joined CNN one year ago, their story said.

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Jeep Hits, Injures 3 Deseret Morning News Staffers

A car struck three Deseret Morning News employees on a sidewalk near the newspaper's offices in Salt Lake City on Tuesday morning, January 24, critically injuring two of them, according to the News. Assistant photo editor Chuck Wing, photographer Keith Johnson, Web developer Gary McKellar, and News employee Mark Reece were walking on a sidewalk near the newspaper's offices when they were struck by a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by a 75-year-old man. Reece said it looked like the driver of the SUV was trying to parallel park when the vehicle jumped the curb at a high rate of speed, plowed over a parking meter, and then hit the men.

Wing and McKellar were pinned between the car and a building wall, according to a Deseret Morning News story written by Pat Reavy, and Reece and Johnson were pushed out of the way. Wing and McKellar were taken to LDS Hospital were they were initially reported to be in extremely critical condition. By that night they were upgraded to serious and fair conditions, respectively.

[Johnson: Deseret News photojournalist Keith Johnson is attended by EMS workers after the Jeep dragged him into the street. Photograph by Francisco Kjolseth - Salt Lake Tribune]

Wing, 36, had his leg amputated above the knee, according to family members. The newspaper reported that McKellar, 38, had several hours of surgery to repair his right leg. Johnson, 34, was taken to the University of Utah Medical Center where he was treated and released Tuesday night with a cast on a fractured left ankle. The newspaper says that a trust fund has been established for all three men at the Key Bank.

Reavy reported that Wing's wife, Julie, told photography editor Ravell Call on Tuesday night that Wing was out of surgery, awake and talking, and she described him as "amazingly upbeat, considering what has happened."

Reece said that after the initial impact with the men and the building, the driver got out of the Jeep and appeared to be in shock. Reece told police that the car was "revving pretty hard" before the ignition was turned off. Reavy reported that Johnson, Reece, and a bystander then tried to move the Jeep and that Johnson finally reached inside the Jeep and started the engine again. Reece said Johnson was able to put the car in reverse but that it raced backward, dragging Johnson 10 to 15 feet before he fell off. The Jeep stopped after crashing into the entrance of a parking structure.

[Worried Coworkers: Deseret News employees Marjorie Cortez (left) and Christie Jackson comfort each other after their coworkers were struck by an SUV andpinned between the truck and the building. Photograph by Francisco Kjolseth - Salt Lake Tribune]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salt Lake City police are investigating whether the vehicle malfunctioned or the driver was at fault, according to the newspaper, but the police have said that at this time the cause of the accident is unknown. The driver, whose name was withheld by police, was described only as a "75-year-old local businessman" who was questioned but not arrested. Police described the driver as "extremely upset" by the accident. Salt Lake City police have a standard procedure of drawing blood samples for toxicology testing in auto-pedestrian accidents, but a police spokesperson said that there were no immediate signs of alcohol or drug use as a factor in the accident and that toxicology results will take several days to be finalized.

Wing has been an NPPA member since March, 1987. McKellar was a member until 2001 and Johnson was a member until September, 2003. Wing has been with The Deseret News since 1997, according to the newspaper, and Johnson interned there in 2000 and returned as an employee in 2001. McKellar has been with the News since 1986 and was a photojournalist for the newspaper before making the transition to Web developer.

[Aftermath: A police accident investigator photographs the Jeep where it came to rest inside the entrance to a parking garage. Photograph by Francisco Kjolseth - Salt Lake Tribune][Aftermath: A parking meter knocked down by a speeding Jeep on its way onto the sidewalk where it struck three Deseret News employees. Photograph by Francisco Kjolseth - Salt Lake Tribune]

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Legendary Helmut Newton, 83, killed in LA car crash

Legendary photographer Helmut Newton, 83, died in Los Angeles this afternoon following a single-vehicle car crash. Reports say his 2004 silver Cadillac SRX sped out of control in the driveway of the Chateau Marmont hotel, jumped a curb, and crashed into a low wall and high shrubs across the street. Police spokesperson April Harding said Newton, who was the driver and was alone in the car, was transported by the Los Angeles Fire Department EMS to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he died a short time later.

Harding said it was not known whether Newton was ill before the crash or whether other factors caused the wreck. Photographs of the scene by well-known Los Angeles freelance photographer Ann Johansson, which moved on the Associated Press news wire, show relatively major front-end damage to the vehicle. The pictures show little or no damage to the driver's area or to the passenger compartment much past the dashboard or to any back area of the late-model car.

Police would not comment on whether the vehicle's air bags were, or were not, deployed in the accident, or whether Newton was wearing a seat belt, or answer any other questions about the vehicle other than to say that the accident "is under investigation."

Newspaper reports say that people were walking on the sidewalk in front of the hotel driveway and that Newton's car brushed a photographer heading into the hotel before hitting the wall. Johansson, called on Friday night by News Photographer, confirmed that she is the photographer that Newton's vehicle nearly missed hitting, but she did not want to provide any other information about the incident at this time.

Newton will be remembered for his dramatic and often erotic black and white photographs of nude women. His work has appeared in Vogue, Elle, Playboy, and countless other magazines around the world, as well as in oversized hardbound books and gallery exhibits.

Born in Berlin in 1920, Newton fled the Nazis in 1938 by moving to Singapore and later became an Australian citizen. On October 22, 2003, he donated more than 1,000 of his photographs and his archive to the city of Berlin. News reports at the time quoted Newton as saying, "I'm very proud that my photos are returning to the city where I was born. Not just the nudes, but also the portraits, landscapes and snapshots I love to take." The donated images are scheduled to go on display in a gallery in western Berlin that Newton "fell in love with," he said. Newton financed renovation of the gallery building, which is also to be used to showcase the work of young photographers.

Newton is survived by his photographer wife, June, who works under the name Alice Springs. The Newtons live in Monte Carlo, but they have spent their winters in Los Angeles for more than the past two decades living at the Chateau Marmont. She married Newton in Melbourne, Australia, in 1948 and in 1970 in Paris she became a photographer herself, changing her name to Alice Springs.

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Colin Crawford Named Assistant Managing Editor Of Photography For The Los Angeles Times

Colin Crawford has been appointed assistant managing editor of photography at The Los Angeles Times and the title is a newly created "masthead" position for the newspaper. Crawford has been the acting director of photography at The Times since 2001 and an NPPA member since December, 1983.

(photo of Colin Crawford)

The announcement was made this week by editor John Carroll and managing editor Dean Baquet. In his new role as assistant managing editor, Crawford will report to Baquet.

"This appointment is a testament to Colin's leadership over the past two years," Carroll and Baquet said in a joint statement. "As acting photo director, he has invigorated the department, now widely regarded as among the most ambitious in the country. Under his guidance, the photography staff produced a remarkable three Pulitzer Prize finalists -- and one winner -- last year. The photo staff has clearly earned representation on the paper's masthead." (In addition, Times staff photographer Rick Loomis was the 2003 NPPA Best Of Photojournalism Newspaper Photographer of the Year).

Crawford joined The Times in 1983 as a freelance photographer. He became a photo assignment editor at the Orange County Edition in 1986 and director of photography in Orange County in 1989. He was named associate director of photography for Los Angeles and director of photography for the regional editions in 1998. He became acting director of photography in Los Angeles in 2001. Crawford holds a BA in political science from UCLA.

Also in their announcement the newspaper's top editors said, "This appointment is an acknowledgement of the powerful role photography has come to play at The Times. From Iraq to the Middle East, the paper's photographers have done striking and courageous work on big projects and daily coverage. They have been crucial to the rebuilding of the California section, and to all the features sections."

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