Shawn Gust – chief photographer
Sofia Jaramillo – staff photographer
Jake Parrish – staff photographer
Yakima Herald-Republic

FIRST: Rob Ostermaier, The Daily Press
SECOND: Jonathan Gruenke, The Daily Press
THIRD: Rob Ostermaier, The Daily Press
HM: Heather Rousseau, Roanoke Times

Submissions were really solid in the features category. The first place image was chosen for its whimsical, “slice of life” quality. Good color and quiet moment in the second place image was pleasing. Third place image was a success by making an ordinary moment stand out through a unique perspective. We give honorable mention the military students eating pizza while cheering because, although a good image, there was a bit more potential for that moment.

FIRST: Lathan Goumas, The News & Advance
SECOND: Shelby Lum, Richmond Times-Dispatch
THIRD: Jonathan Gruenke, The Daily Press

We felt this category could’ve been stronger. The first place image was a good example of a telling moment in a courtroom setting that conveyed the judge’s emotion. The image of the diver was unique, but prompted too many questions and lacked context,therefore not strong enough to place.

FIRST: Jonathan Gruenke, The Daily Press
SECOND: Rob Ostermaier, The Daily Press
THIRD: Shelby Lum, Richmond Times-Dispatch

The winning image in this category shows creativity in the approach. Good use of light and the reflection highlighted both the subject and her craft in a unique way. The second place image shows resourcefulness in the way the photographer utilized technical skill to deal with a difficult background effectively. Third place images was clean and aesthetically pleasing, but try to avoid cutting off limbs, i.e. feet.

FIRST: Aileen Devlin, Daily Press
SECOND: Daniel Lin, Daily News-Record
THIRD: Kristen Zeis, The Virginian-Pilot

First place image shows great peak action, capturing the competitiveness of the game. Great field position by the photographer went a long way in being able to capture the second place photo. We felt this was a unique football photo. The third place image was humorous and broke some of the traditional rules of sports photography. Bravo!


FIRST: Kristen Zeis, The Virginian-Pilot
SECOND: Daniel Lin, Daily News-Record
THIRD: Kristen Zeis, The Virginian-Pilot

First place story has full narrative arch with strong moments. Photographer was able to gain access on an intimate level that helped in making compelling images. Second place story showcased an interesting annual community event that included lots of emotion. Good variety of images. Third place was a nice story — good moments, nice portraits, and uniquely made images.


Kyle Grantham, Danial Sato, Suchat Pederson
The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal
FIRST: Rob Ostermaier, The Daily Press
SECOND: Jill Nance, News & Advance
THIRD: James Diem, Eastern Shore News
HM:  Austin Bachand, Daily News-Record
Strong category with some great frames. Lots of pictorials, of which the strongest rose to the top quickly. First place was well balanced and a good moment captured in silhouette. Second place another solid moment though we missed the kid’s leg. Third place another nice silhouette that needed some more room at the top of the frame to give the paddleboarder space to breath. Honorable mention to the Sunflower Bee. It needed something, we weren’t sure what – whether reframing or getting higher or lower. Just wasn’t quite there. Work that frame a little more.
FIRST: Jonathan Gruenke, The Daily Press
SECOND: Rob Ostermaier, The Daily Press
THIRD: Jonathan Gruenke, The Daily Press
Surprisingly weak category that featured a LOT of routine photos. First place had nice light and was a good moment with good expression. Second place was a nice silhouette with great light but needed to give some room to breath to the subjects. Third place was a different angle on a biker and had strong graphic quality but needed a little more separation.
FIRST: James Diem, Eastern Shore News
SECOND: Kristen Zeis, The Virginian-Pilot
Very weak category with few entries. Was easy to knock down when looking for actual portraits to award. First place was well executed from a number of angles – framing, different viewpoint, lighting. It was very well done. Second place was well executed and framed as well but needed something in that second layer of reflection. We did not award a third place image.
FIRST: Austin Bachand, Daily News-Record
SECOND:  Kristen Zeis, The Virginian-Pilot
THIRD: Lathan Goumas, News & Advance
Surprisingly weak category here. First place quickly rose to the top for it’s great moment and terrific execution. Well done. Second place has great light and a good moment but we cannot figure out where the focus point is. Looks like a hail mary that might have just missed. Third place was a good moment of an exhausted firefighter but we were hoping for a little more scene around him.
FIRST: Jill Nance, News & Advance
SECOND: Aileen Devlin, Daily Press
THIRD:  Rob Ostermaier, The Daily Press
HM. Lathan Goumas, News & Advance
Lots to choose from here but the winners rose to the top quickly. The Elvis tribute story was well worked, good moments and good execution. Tangier Island needed a tighter edit and a little more focus but the photographer really worked the assignment and gave us a sense of the place. The story on James was a good story to tell. Definitely needed a tighter edit, it got a little repetitive, but it was unique and executed well nonetheless. Honorable Mention to drag racing which just needed to be cut in half. Some great frames and some REALLY weak ones and unfortunately you’ll always be judged more by what you did include than what you didn’t.


Second quarter clip contest results, 2016

Judges: The News & Observer
Scott Sharpe, Director of Multimedia and Photography
Chuck Liddy, photojournalist
Robert Willett, photojournalist
Jill Knight, photojournalist


General comments on the category: ­ There were several really nice photos that probably could have done well in a features category. Judges were uncomfortable with the multiple exposure news photo.

1st, Kristen Zeis,The Virginian-Pilot
A very powerful image where the photographer captured a different emotional moment from a tragic incident. Hands down the best of the selections.

2nd, Kevin Morley, Richmond Times-Dispatch
A strong image made better by all of the different expressions of the family members.

3rd, Jay Westcott, The News & Advance
A nice simple moment shot nice and tight.


General comments on the category: ­ There were several strong images in the category that could have been stronger with better attention to cropping, sharpness and toning. Judges commented on several that the photographer just needed to get closer.

1st, Heather Rousseau, Roanoke Times
Excellent juxtaposition here. The girl’s expression is great and that it mirrors the painting behind her makes for an even better frame. Nice content on the edges of the frame makes for a strong, and energetic composition that directs the viewer through layers of good content.

2nd, Kristen Zeis, The Virginian-Pilot
Perfect angle for this shot to achieve great separation between kites and the sky.

3rd, Stephanie Klein-Davis, The Roanoke Times
Great reflection in the instrument. Would have been great to stick with the composition until the cheeks were puffed out with the air.


General comments on the category: ­ The vast majority of the entries would benefit from some very aggressive cropping. Many were cropped much too loosely. Would love to see more off-­the-field storytelling. As an aside, quite a few captions suffered from errors in grammar and/or punctuation. In the online world, there are often far fewer layers of editing between the photographer and the reader. Attention to detail in this area is essential.

1st, Jonathon Gruenke, Daily Press
Nice peak action, the expressions of each player and the composition of the action make for a winning photograph. A good crop would enhance the image and strengthen the elements for the audience.

2nd, Lee Luther Jr, Amherst New Era-Progress, freelance
An unusual situation captured at the peak moment, great reaction by the photographer.

3rd, Jonathon Gruenke, Daily Press
A clean background and the right lens selection helped make this celebration stand out from others. Pure joy. Experimenting with a crop could help enhance the connection with the audience.

HM, Shelby Lum, Richmond Times-Dispatch
Nice use of lens selection, and paying attention to happening after a sporting event produced a nice moment between winner and loser.


General comments on the category: ­ Some very nice winners here and a couple of shots that would have been stronger contenders with stronger, more aggressive crops.

1st, Jill Nance, The News & Advance
This is a wonderful photography that captures both moment and personality. I look at this photo and I want to meet this woman. Excellent composition, lens selection, and use of limited depth of field. To nitpick, a slight crop from the left would have eliminated a distracting bright vertical light near the edge of the frame.

2nd, James Diem, Eastern Shore news
We’re all presented with run­and­gun situations for portraits that aren’t always that dynamic. Nice use of the chain link fence to create a compositional element that helped compensate for a less than dynamic situation.

3rd, Aileen Devlin, Daily Press
Getting the assignment to photograph your winner of your newspaper’s reader poetry contest might not be the highlight of a photojournalist’s day, but this photo is excellent. Nice thought and execution including cropping. It’s great when you have a portrait subject that’s game to try something different and this photographer made the most of it with a simple but impactful photo.


1st, Jonathon Gruenke, Daily Press
A nice package of photos on the death of a man who had suffered from Alzheimer’s. There are some very strong images here and as a whole, the package would be stronger with some tighter editing. Obviously, a very tough story to shoot, but the photographer captured images that show love and dignity.

2nd, Jill Nance, The News & Advance
Some very nice moments in this package, and once again, tighter editing would help a great deal. The photographer did a nice job in varying camera angles and capturing moments. Nice crops throughout.

3rd, Rob Ostermaier, Daily Press
A short and simple package on the Golden Knights done well despite having to shoot much of it in the very tight confines of the jump plane. Nice moments and clean compositions really made the difference here.

HM, Shelby Lum, The Richmond Times-Dispatch
The photographer captured some very nice moments here, but here’s another piece that needed tighter editing. The focus seems to be more on the triplets, which may have been the story line, but we really wanted to see more of the parents and the impact of three kids of the same age on them. This would also help bring up the string of happy kid moments.





Sean Stipp – Staff / Tribune – Review
Barry Reeger – Chief Photographer Tribune – Review
Stephanie Chambers – Staff / Tribune – Review

FIRST: Kristen Zeis, The Virginian-Pilot
SECOND: Kevin Morely, Richmond Times-Dispatch
THIRD: Jonathan Gruenke, The Daily Press
1st place is an outstanding composition, all the elements came together very well. 2nd place is a great moment that made us all laugh and 3rd place is a beautiful image with great composition and color.

FIRST: Jay Westcott, The News & Advance
SECOND: Rob Ostermaier, The Daily Press
THIRD: Peter Casey, USA Today
HM: Daniel Lin, Daily News-Record
Easily the most competitive category with many great entires. 1st place is a quiet post-game moment with great body language. Second is awesome peak action but we felt like this frame could benefit from a tighter crop.

FIRST: Aileen Devlin, The Daily Press
SECOND: Jonathan Gruenke, The Daily Press
THIRD: Kevin Morley, Richmond Times-Dispatch
1st place is very dynamic with great composition and light with and active subject. 2nd place utilizes the harsh light in a creative manner.

FIRST: Jonathan Gruenke, The Daily Press
SECOND: Jill Nance, The News & Advance
THIRD: Aileen Devlin, The Daily Press
1st place is rock solid spot news coverage while 2nd place does a great job using great light and composition from a big news event. We struggled to pick a third place but choose it based on the the competent photography and news value.

FIRST: Erica Yoon, The Roanoke Times
SECOND: James Diem, Eastern Shore News
THIRD: Nikki Fox, Daily News-Record
1st place was the clear choice and is very well done. “Tonya Davison, low vision” develops a great narrative with each successive image and is tightly edited. We love the frame of Ms. Davison reading Stephen King. 2nd place “Alpacas” has meny quirky moments that convey the subject vey well. 3rd place is a nice package from a common community event.

2015 VNPA Contest: News Picture Story


HM NEWS PICTURE STORY: Jahi Chikwendiu, Washington Post—In 1965, nonviolent demonstrators endured billy clubs, cattle prods and clouds of tear gas as they protested for their right to vote. SelmaÕs ÒBloody Sunday,Ó a day of shocking violence and stirring courage, spurred passage of the Voting Rights Act, one of the most important achievements of the civil rights era. Fifty years after Bloody Sunday, the brutal, institutionalized racism that outraged much of the country is gone from Selma, but a canyon still exists between races. The city has been divided recently over whether to repair a monument honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Confederate general who later became the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. It’s schools have been effectively segregated since the early 1990s. Much of the outright, institutionalized racism has been replaced with murkier problems that cannot be repaired by a brave stand on a bridge or a single sweeping piece of legislation. Just 60 miles to the south, African-American officials in Shelby County, Alabama, are still fighting for voter rights.