Mykal McEldowney, Jenna Watson and Bob Scheer of the Indianapolis Star

FIRST:  Matt McClain, The Washington Post
SECOND: Aileen Devlin, Daily Press
THIRD:  Rob Ostermaier, The Daily Press
HM:  Kristen Zeis, The Virginian-Pilot

Three winners exemplified strongest moments of all news entries. This was a very strong category, photographers worked scenes well trying to find interesting way to shoot the mundane. Honorable mention might have placed higher if it had been entered as a portrait, it didn’t hold up content-wise against other news topics.

FIRST:  Jonathan Gruenke, The Daily Press
SECOND:  Shelby Lum, Richmond Times-Dispatch
THIRD:  Kaitlin McKeown, The Virginian-Pilot
HM: Kristen Zeis, The Virginian-Pilot

Many the posed portraits where subject was looking into camera felt forced or uncomfortable. First place portrait displayed the strongest aesthetic and composition, a beautifully executed sports portrait. The second and honorable mention portraits do a great job conveying mood with clean lighting and space to breath in compositions. Third place was fun, unexpected perspective that stood out.

FIRST:  Rob Ostermaier, The Daily Press
SECOND:  Erica Yoon, The Roanoke Times
THIRD:  Kristen Zeis, The Virginian-Pilot
HM: Aileen Devlin, Daily Press
HM: Aileen Devlin, Daily Press

There were many strong but repetitive sports features in this category—lots of mobs of players yelling. First place offered a truly unique and difficult to find moment from what can be a slower-paced, predictable sport. Second and third place captured clean peak action from perfect points of view. Honorable mentions were almost-there execution wise— Ball catch could be cleaner composition and we wish the huddle in the background was a quicker read.

FIRST:  Matt McClain, The Washington Post
SECOND:  Aileen Devlin, Daily Press
THIRD:  Jonathan Gruenke, The Daily Press

First and third place winners immediately stood out to judges aesthetically on first time looking through feature entries. Second place was a quick, think-outside-the-box moment that we crave in a feature image. Other similar entries were not quite as strong technically or offered less surprising moments.

FIRST:  Aileen Devlin, Daily Press
SECOND:  Matt McClain, The Washington Post
THIRD:  Jonathan Gruenke, The Daily Press

Something that judges always seem to bring up for multiple categories— When in doubt, edit tighter. First place offered the best balance of narrative, shot variety and sequencing. Sequencing was also beautiful in second place winner, an all-around attractive set of pictures. Third place offered thorough coverage of a daily news event, the photographer put in extra effort to work scene. Non-winning stories didn’t quite dig deep enough with subject. Non-winning daily assignment entries didn’t offer quite enough shot variety. We would have loved tighter edit of church renovation essay to show faster transition of before and after.

FIRST:  Kaitlin McKeown, The Virginian-Pilot
SECOND:  Kaitlin McKeown, The Virginian-Pilot
THIRD:  Shelby Lum, Richmond Times-Dispatch

First and second place were well-produced and had clean, interesting shots that kept our attention while carrying a narrative— Two opposite types of videos that displayed similar strong suits. Third place needed a tighter edit, we feel the story could have been told in 1 and a half to 2 minutes just as well. A close contender for third was the opening night of baseball season video, but we thought the music was distracting after about a minute, and the slow motion lingered too long on several shots losing our attention. Felt more like marketing content than journalism. As for surveyors trespassing video, we liked the effort and access, but thought there needed to be more strategy put into providing the viewer with the narrative to keep it moving along and make the topic clear sooner in the video. Most importantly, with a “controversial” issue like this, we need to hear from opposing party or at least include in a slide somewhere that they did not respond for comment, if that was the case.