Dates Set For Final Judging, Best Of Photojournalism

ATHENS, OH (April 5, 2013) – Final judging is set to begin on April 18 in both the Photojournalism Editing and Still Photojournalism categories of NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism competition, contest chair Terry Eiler said today.

The Primary set of 38 judges working online from around the world have narrowed down more than 32,000 images to the finalists. And now six judges will convene in person on campus at Ohio University's School of Visual Communication to select the winning Still Photojournalism and Editing entries from the finalists.

Eiler said the Editing judges will begin the night of Thursday, April 18, and will finish by the night of Saturday, April 20. Photojournalism judges will begin on Friday, April 19, and will be finished by the night of Sunday, April 21. Winners will be announced at the completion of judging.

Each of the Primary judges were asked to look at four categories, and each category had at least five judges assigned to it, Eiler explained. It took a vote of at least three judges to keep an image in the contest, and judges were asked to vote for their top 50 images. In a few of the smaller categories, judges were asked to vote for their top 20 or fewer images. The images voted into the top group, with at least three votes each, moved on to the Final round of in-person judging in Athens.

Photojournalist Bill Frakes, one of the Primary round judges, today said, "Now more than ever the world needs great visual storytellers that report with veracity, accuracy, and passion. I was delighted by a number of the images I saw ... confused as to why many images I know were made this year were not entered." In the four categories Frakes judged, he was instructed to narrow the entries down to 50, 20, 10, and 5 finalists (depending on the overcall category size; some had as many as 1,700 images in the category). "I'm always honored to be part of the process," he said. Frakes was also one of the World Press Photo judges this year.

There will be six judges for the Final in-person round, Eiler said, three for the Still Photojournalism categories and three for the Editing entries. Before they come to VisCom for the Final round, these six will have an opportunity to view the semi-finalist entries and consider the images beforehand.

"We want to maximize their time in Athens," Eiler (at right) explained. "We want them to spend their time here discussing the ranking and the images, not going 'in' or 'out' through the entries."

For the Still Photojournalism finalists the judges are photojournalist Amy Sancetta of the Associated Press; Jack Gruber, a staff photojournalist for USA Today; and Boyzell Hosey, the director of photography and multimedia for the St. Petersburg Times.

For the Editing finalists the judges are picture editor Molly Roberts of Smithsonian magazine in Washington, DC; photojournalist Matt Moyer, a Knight Fellow and National Geographic contributor (who is a replacement for judge Steve Jessmore, who has a family emergency); and photography director Bert Fox of The Charlotte Observer..

"Compared to last year, all of the judges have been very supportive of the idea that we're using software that they know," Eiler said today. Eiler has been coordinating the Still Photojournalism categories and VisCom associate professor Stan Alost coordinates the Editing contest.

To manage and display the contest entries the Best Of Photojournalism contest coordinators at VisCom have been using PhotoMechanic as well as Adobe Bridge (for its ability to read PDF format book files). "And instead of having to learn new software, we shared folders with the judges through DropBox," Eiler said. "Everything is being handled as much as possible electronically. It also really helped using the Cloud. And for the semifinalists, we'll move the material into PhotoShelter, and that will be an alternative way the judges will be able to view the final images."

This year the Final judging at VisCom will be streaming live for viewers to watch around the world. Eiler has been testing software and now plans to use Google Hangout to broadcast the judging, using two different Hangouts (one for Still sessions, one for Editing sessions). 

"We're using Hangout because in testing we found the image quality was higher than it is in Adobe Connect," Eiler said.

Links to the Google Hangout sessions will be posted on the NPPA Web site in the days immediately preceding the live judging in Athens, as well as shared on NPPA's Facebook page and on Twitter.

Still Photojournalism and Photojournalism Editing are the last two divisions to be judged in this year's contest. In earlier Video judging, Doug Burgess of KING-TV in Seattle was selected as the Ernie Crisp Television News Photographer of the Year, and James Evans of CNN was picked as the Video Editor of the Year. In the Stations of the Year category, KING-TV in Seattle won for Large Market, WAVY-TV in Portsmouth, VA, won for Medium Market, and KCCI-TV in Des Moines won for Small Market.

In the Best Use Of Multimedia category, Alan Spearman's "Memphis Poverty" (which includes his short film "As I Am") won first place.

NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism is sponsored this year by Michigan State University and Ohio University's School of Visual Communication.