Ken Hackman, Mickey H. Osterreicher Honored With NPPA’s Sprague Award

This year's winners of NPPA's top honor, the Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award, are Ken Hackman (on left) and Mickey H. Osterreicher. Photographs by Stacy Pearsall (left) and Ron Sachs
This year's winners of NPPA's top honor, the Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award, are Ken Hackman (on left) and Mickey H. Osterreicher. Photographs by Stacy Pearsall (left) and Ron Sachs

DURHAM, NC (January 17, 2014) – The National Press Photographers Association’s most prestigious honor, the Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award, will be presented this year to two individuals who have been fervent advocates of photojournalism and photojournalists, as well as being mentors and teachers who have exhibited decades of exceptional leadership capabilities.

The 2013 Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award winners are Ken Hackman, known by many as “The Godfather” of military photojournalism and the longtime director of the Military Photographer of the Year program, and Mickey H. Osterreicher, NPPA’s general counsel who was a veteran newspaper and television photographer in Buffalo, NY, before he discovered his passion for protecting the legal rights of visual journalists.

Established in 1949, the Sprague Award is NPPA's highest honor. It recognizes individuals who advance and elevate photojournalism by their conduct, initiative, leadership, and skill, or for unusual service or achievement beneficial to photojournalism and technological advances. It honors Joseph A. Sprague, a press technical representative for the Graflex Corporation, who is credited with designing the Big Bertha, Magic Eye, and Combat Camera for the company as well as dozens of improvements and refinements to the original Graflex Speed Graphic 4x5 camera, which was once the press industry standard.

The Sprague Awards, along with NPPA’s other top honors, will be presented during at ceremony at NPPA’s Northern Short Course in Warwick, RI, in March.

With a career spanning more than six decades, Hackman started as an enlisted airman in the U.S. Air Force in 1955. His love of photography, discovered when he was 11, led to an Air Force photography career that began when he was 17. In 1960 after his first enlistment he became an Air Force civil service photographer with the Aerospace Audiovisual Service and spent the next three decades documenting Air Force and military action around the world, including the final atmospheric atomic test in 1962 (for which he was later recognized as one of the U.S. Atomic photographers at a tribute by the American Film Institute). He also joined NPPA in 1962, and is now a Life Member.

In 1971 Hackman founded and became the director of the Air Force Photojournalism Program, a post he held until 1995. Continuing into retirement he has been a guiding force in the annual Military Photographer of the Year competition. Hackman has coordinated, directed, and conducted the MPOY contest for more than 25 years, and the Video counterpart of that competition for 22 years.

During his career Hackman photographed the Vietnam War, Summer Olympic Games in Montreal, Los Angeles, Seoul, Barcelona, and Atlanta, and Winter Olympic games in Lake Placid, Calgary, and Lillehammer (last one being his favorite). He also took the official photographs of Air Force One from 1975 to 2000, and most Air Force inventory aircraft from 1960 to 1995. In 1995 his photographic work was featured in a one-man exhibition, "Photographic Nomad - A Forty Year Odyssey,” and in 2002 he was selected as an adjunct professor for Syracuse University’s study abroad program in London.

Osterreicher has been a tireless defender of photographers’ rights as a member of NPPA’s Advocacy Committee. He’s an experienced attorney in First Amendment, copyright, orphan works, cameras in the courtroom, and media law. He has participated in training and workshops to help police departments around the country draft guidelines for improved media relations. Osterreicher helped draft Amtrak’s photography guidelines during a time when photographers and the railroad’s security personnel were often clashing in the years following 9/11. And he has helped implement new police-press guidelines for the District of Columbia Metro Police and the Miami Beach Police Department, to name a few.

“I am deeply touched to receive this award, to be included among the list of past recipients who have given so much to the field of visual journalism is truly an honor,” Osterreicher said today.

“As I have said before – what I do is a labor of love and it is so gratifying to be able to give back in some small measure to our profession. It is particularly meaningful to receive this award along with Ken. As the father of an Air Force pilot I thank Ken, not only for all he has done for military photography, but for his service to our country.”


Osterreicher is of counsel to the law firm of Hiscock & Barclay and has been an adjunct lecturer in Photojournalism at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and an adjunct law professor in Media and the Law at the SUNY Buffalo Law School. He graduated cum laude in 1973 from SUNY at Buffalo with a Bachelor of Science degree in Photojournalism and Photography, and received his Juris Doctor cum laude from the University of Buffalo Law School in 1998. He is admitted to practice in New York State and the U.S. Supreme Court. Osterreicher is also a Trustee of the Alexia Foundation.

“The honors process is a huge challenge, but in the end it is extremely rewarding to recognize these leaders in our profession who have made such a difference in the lives and careers of so many,” NPPA past president Sean D. Elliot said. As past president, Elliot is chairman of NPPA’s Honors & Recognitions committee. 

“In Ken Hackman we honor a teacher and mentor who has proven his ability to make a difference in so many careers. The letters of nomination made it clear that Ken has touched many over his decades of work. Having earned the nickname ‘Godfather of Air Force Photojournalism’ does not appear to be a title bestowed in any jest, but a sign of the deepest respect from peer and protege alike. 

“And as assaults upon the First Amendment have mounted, we have seen Mickey Osterreicher raise his game to new heights. Mickey can be counted on to wade into any fight on the side of justice. No affront to the Constitution is too small to earn his attention.”


In addition to the Sprague Awards, NPPA’s other top honors and recognitions were announced today as well. 

Photojournalist John H. White (at left) is the recipient of this year’s Clifton Edom Award. In a career that includes a Pulitzer Prize, teaching, and being a mentor and inspirational force for hundreds if not thousands of Chicago-area college students, The Edom Award recognizes an individual in the tradition of Cliff Edom to inspire and motivate members of the photojournalism community to reach new heights.

Over the years, White has been an inspiration to everyone he encounters. The veteran photojournalist has worked for the Chicago Daily News, the Chicago Sun-Times, and he has taught at Columbia College Chicago and Northwestern University. White has also mentored students at the Eddie Adams Barnstorm Workshop.

It has been said of White that his life has served as an example of being the best that we can be, both as photojournalists and human beings. “There may be no photojournalist who more embodies the spirit of the Edom award than John H. White,” Elliot said. “Whether it be through his work or his teaching and mentoring, he has inspired generations to see their work as visual journalists not as a job, but as a calling.” (Photograph by Mark Hertzberg)

The Joseph Costa Award, named after NPPA’s founder, this year goes to Will Sullivan and Seth Gitner. The Costa Award is given for outstanding initiative, leadership, and service in advancing the goals of NPPA in Costa’s tradition. Sullivan and Gitner are being honored for their creation and ongoing shepherding of NPPA’s Multimedia Immersion workshop, an intense, five-day session of hands-on training for visual journalists who want to grow their multimedia skills using the latest technology. 

The Jim Gordon Editor of the Year Award is given posthumously to the late Bruce Moyer, the deputy director of photography for the Tampa Bay Times. An award-winning picture editor, Moyer, 52, died in early December 2013 after treatment for brain cancer. 

“Sadly, this award comes too late to be handed to Bruce in person,” Elliot said. “But perhaps he might have preferred it that way. Bruce was ever a humble man in his accomplishments. Proud of his job, proud of the photographers he had the pleasure and privilege to guide at publications from Bremerton to Hartford to Tampa, Bruce would have deferred this award to those around him. They would, in turn, of course, give Bruce all the credit.”

The Gordon award honors an outstanding newspaper, magazine, video, movie, Web, book, or other publications editor who supports and promotes strong photojournalism, best use of photography, and whose individual dedication and efforts have moved photojournalism’s standards forward. It is named after Jim Gordon, who was NPPA’s News Photographer magazine editor for 25 years until he retired in 2003.

The Robin F. Garland Educator Award goes this year to Bradley Wilson. The award is given to those who exhibit outstanding service as a photojournalism educator. Garland was a picture editor and war correspondent for the Saturday Evening Post until he joined Graflex Inc. as press technical representative after World War II. Wilson is the director of Student Media at Midwestern State University and he is also active in the Journalism Education Association and the National College of Media Conventions.

The Outstanding NPPA Student Chapter this year is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill chapter. In addition to providing guest speakers and other sorts of direct support for the UNC students this year, members of the chapter helped produce a video highlighting the work and words of a host of National Geographic photographers. The chapter also performed outreach during the year, creating programs with other schools in the area that might not have the same access to resources as the UNC students.

LIsa Krantz of the San Antonio Express-News will be presented with the John Durniak Mentor Citation for being a mentor in the finest tradition of NPPA. Mentoring is at the core of NPPA’s mission, and Krantz is being recognized for embodying this ethic. While covering San Antonio’s Sam Houston High School for a year-long newspaper project, Krantz met one of the inner-city school’s students, Bria Webb. The young girl sought direction and inspiration from Krantz, who encouraged her to pursue a career in photojournalism and supported her efforts to learn and to attend professional photojournalism programs.

Caroline E. Couig is the recipient of this year’s Samuel Mellor Award. Mellor was NPPA’s second national treasurer and he set an example of devotion to NPPA’s ideals and volunteerism. Couig serves as Region 3’s Associate Chair and she is a member of the Northern Short Course board of directors. She has been on the NSC board since 2007, served as the contest chair for two years, and works on the education committee. Over the years Couig has exhibited a commitment to giving of her time and energy for NPPA’s programs. For her dedication, NPPA hopes to say thank you for her efforts by presenting her with the Mellor award.

Carlos Miller of Miami, FL, is the winner of the Alicia Calzada First Amendment Award, an honor created to acknowledge those who stand up in the face of the growing number of assaults upon the First Amendment rights that we share as journalists. Miller might be said to be an “accidental activist” in that he started his Web site, “Photography Is Not A Crime,” after he was arrested for taking photographs in a public place. Originally meant to help him defray legal costs, he has developed his Web site into a national source of information and news. Miller sheds light on every new incident of First Amendment infringements that he uncovers, and he keeps those incidents in a spotlight while pushing for an outcome that brings about justice.

NPPA’s Kenneth P. McLaughlin Award of Merit is being conferred this year to four members of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine for their efforts to support NPPA in various First Amendment battles. Bob Corn-Revere, Robert Balin, Ronald London, and Alison Schary are also being honored for helping NPPA defend the Constitutional rights of photojournalists Mannie Garcia and Phil Datz, and for helping to establish improved police guidelines regarding the right to photograph and record in public.

NPPA’s Humanitarian Award goes to author, journalist, and filmmaker Sebastian Junger. After his dear friend Tim Hetherington was killed along with photojournalist Chris Hondors in Lybia in 2012, Junger turned his grief into action and founded the organization Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (RISC). It is dedicated to teaching journalists who work in conflict zones the basics of combat first aid, in the hope that never again would we mourn a journalist felled by a wound that could be survivable if the right help was at hand quickly enough.

Robert Hanashiro is the recipient of this year’s Morris Berman Citation. The Berman Citation is given to an individual for special contributions advancing the interest of photojournalism. In the early days of the Internet, Hanashiro built one of cyberspace’s early online communities with The Sportsshooter Newsletter via eMail. It eventually evolved into a popular Web site,, along the way spawning workshops and building a community of far-flung photographers.

The J. Winton Lemen Fellowship Award is presented to those who render continuing outstanding service in the interests of press photography, and for outstanding technical achievements in photography. Lemen was a charter member of NPPA and Sprague Award winner. After a career as a press photographer he established the photo press markets division of Eastman Kodak Co. 

There are three Lemen Fellowship Award winners this year: Mark Suban of Nikon Professional Services; Mike Mount of Canon Professional Services; and London-based freelance photojournalist John D. McHugh.

McHugh, an Irish photojournalist who has shot extensively in Afghanistan, developed and launched the App “Marksta,” which he hopes will help photographers retain control over their copyrighted work when they post photographs online. The App allows a user to quickly and easily post an image online while creating a watermark and embedding metadata. It is available in the iTunes App store, and you can follow McHugh on Twitter, @johndphoto.

Suban and Mount are being honored with the Lemen award for their consistent, ongoing  support of photojournalists and their gear. “When photojournalists are trying to learn the new skills of multimedia they often enroll in workshops, and when those workshops need technical support they turn to representatives from the manufacturers to help navigate the obstacles presented by the latest tools,” Elliot said. “For being the ‘go-to’ guys for support, and for sharing their knowledge with the rest of us to help us move forward during challenging times, NPPA honors Mark Suban and Mike Mount.”

NPPA Special Citations are being given this year to Daniel Morel, Cathaleen Curtiss, and Allen Murabayashi. NPPA Special Citations are awarded to an individual or organization for making significant contributions that advance the interest of photojournalism. 

Morel’s citation is for legally pursuing a judgement against corporations who have been found by a court to have infringed upon his copyright, protecting the intellectual property that is his photographs of the aftermath of a deadly Haitian earthquake. Despite the fact that the corporations are seeking to have the verdict and financial judgement overturned, Morel and his legal team have waged a good fight to not only protect his rights, but the rights of all photographers.

Curtiss’s citation her support of NPPA throughout her career, and for her advocacy and support of photojournalism, and for shepherding the NPPA Regional Monthly News Clip Contest through challenging times.

Murabayashi’s citation acknowledges his continued advocacy for photojournalism through his writings and support of NPPA.

NPPA’s annual awards and honors will be presented during NPPA’s Northern Short Course in Warwick, RI, in March