The National Press Photographers Association has made several significant announcements about its annual Best Of Photojournalism
contest, including a reorganization of the competition as visual journalism moves into a new era. Along with a new and easier way to enter, there's also some category revisions plus some new categories, and winners will be picked using a mixture of online and on-site judging.
"We've not only reorganized, but we're building on the steps of the giants before us," Best Of Photojournalism Contest Committee chair Terry Eiler said. He is the director of Ohio University's School of Visual Communication (VisCom) in Athens, OH.
"This is a significant, four-part contest. We're running stand-alone picture editing, Web and multimedia contests, photojournalism, and television photojournalism contests. No one else in the contest arena is touching this scope. It's not just Best Of Photojournalism; it's four applauded and separate divisions of Best Of Photojournalism. We recognize that visual journalism doesn't happen in a single flavor."
In the world's major annual contests, World Press Photo is a still photojournalism contest and Pictures of the Year International is a still photojournalism contest with some editing and multimedia categories. The Society of News Design contest, Photo District News's contest, the Pulitzer Prizes, the Robert F. Kennedy Awards, and the Webby Awards are all primarily still photography contests.
"Best Of Photojournalism is the core contest of all photojournalism ... still photography, motion, and editing," Eiler said. "It's an annual celebration of international excellence in all forms of photojournalism editing and visual reportage."
Eiler explained, "Within NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism we've defined four separate contests, and each contest is a separate event that's judged by a wide variety of specialists. Best Of Photojournalism has more than 100 categories focused on defining visual journalism's excellence, selecting and applauding the year's best work."
The four unique NPPA Best Of Photojournalism contests are:
• Best Of Print Photojournalism
• Best Of Television Photojournalism
• Best Of Photojournalism Editing
• Best Of Web Photojournalism
Eiler said that a new and easier way to enter the Best Of Photojournalism contests comes with this year's reorganization.
"We wanted to make it easier, more transparent, and to get it all in good order," Eiler said. "This new streamlined entry system has a better user interface, and there's a more intuitive uploading process. As always, you'll be able to view your entries to make sure that you've entered them in the right place."
The Best Of Photojournalism "Call For Entries" will go out on Tuesday, January 3, 2012.
The deadline for entries in the Television Photojournalism contest is Friday January 27, 2012. The deadline for entries in the Print Photojournalism, Photojournalism Editing, and Web Photojournalism contests is Friday February 3, 2012.
Eiler said a committee of "working photographers" has revised the Best Of Photojournalism contests' categories "to try to bring more clarity to the picture sets."
The new categories and rules
are posted on NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism Web site.
The new category additions include a "Contemporary Issues Story" that will have both a Domestic and International division. "This category will showcase current social concerns including, but not limited to, issues such as health, hunger, poverty, disease, and the human condition," Eiler said. "The contest will have more clarity by adding these new categories, and by redefining what goes into the Environmental and Natural Disaster categories."
Another new category is "Political Crisis." A category for a single image entry, this division seeks to "define a single image that has defined a political crisis and news event that has shaped the world's landscape, either internationally or domestically."
In the Web Photojournalism contest there is also a category addition for "Photojournalism Apps." This category will recognize the "best Apps or mobile delivery system for photojournalism," Eiler said.
The contests' entry rules have no significant changes this year, Eiler said, just adjustments to address the new entry system. However, in the Web Photojournalism contest the rules now say "each category allows a limited number of entries per entrant" (rather than "per publication"), and Audio Slide Show and Video Storytelling have now been combined into one.
As for the four individual contests' judging panels, Eiler said, "The vast majority will be online judging using a variety of specialty judges who are casting anonymous votes." Again this year, Best Of Photojournalism will use online judging technology developed last year with PhotoShelter, Eiler said. "Once the top level of images has been defined, respected judges will gather in person for a final discussion and ranking. We anticipate that all Best Of Photojournalism contest judging will be finished by the middle of April, 2012."
Last November, NPPA announced several changes
in the Best Of Photojournalism Contest Committee, including the fact that Eiler will now handle the overall chairmanship of the Contest Committee. Within the committee are groups responsible for overseeing the four Best Of Photojournalism contests.
The Best Of Print Photojournalism group includes Eiler along with Sherman Williams
of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Deanne Fitzmaurice
; Sports Illustrated photography editor James Colton
; and ZUMA Press founder Scott Mc Kiernan
The Best Of Television Photojournalism contest is overseen by Merry Murray
of KSNW-TV in Wichita, KS. The Best Of Photojournalism Editing contest is overseen by Ohio University VisCom faculty member Stan Alost
, and the Best Of Web Photojournalism contest is overseen by Regina McCombs
of The Poynter Institute for Media Studies.
NPPA's 2012 Best Of Photojournalism competition is sponsored by Ohio University, PhotoShelter, Camera Bits, and Canon. For more information about the contest please contact NPPA's Thomas Kenniff
.For sponsorship opportunities please contact NPPA executive director Mindy Hutchison