Video Photojournalism

The Video Photojournalism division recognizes visual journalists who, working through the medium of video, tell stories that are relevant to their communities, helping them understand trends and issues so that they can make informed decisions. Judges will look at technical excellence as well as storytelling, but the key factor will be the journalism that is demonstrated.

Entries in this division are primarily made by individual journalists with the exception of the Station of the Year categories. Some categories in this division have further subcategories depending on the type of entrant: 

  • Solo Video Photojournalist — a journalist who films, reports, writes, tracks and edits video for a television news model on a daily basis. “Nat Sound” packages (stories without a reporter track) are not allowed. These categories are not for those who may film alone once or twice a week, but for those who are solo during a regularly scheduled work week.
  • Video Photojournalist — a journalist who may work as either a member of a newsroom staff or as an independent photographer

The work must have been made with the intent of journalistic distribution, either broadcast or online – work created as sponsored content or for a company, brand, team or other entity is not allowed. Entries must have been broadcast or published online.

In the Video Photojournalism division, there is a limit of four (4) entries per category in each of the individual story categories, per individual contestant. Compilation categories count as a single entry.

An individual can only submit one entry to the NPPA Photojournalism Award for Reporting and Ernie Crisp Photojournalist of the Year.  Each station can only submit one Station of the Year entry. 

For all individual Video Photojournalism entries (except those in the Team category), at least 90% of the video must have been filmed by the photographer.

If the photographer’s name is mentioned in the story entry, you can leave it in. For example, if the reporter’s outcue says, “With photographer John Doe…,” the photographer’s name DOES NOT have to be edited out of the entry. 

Please refer to the Guidelines section of the competition website for more details, and contact [email protected] for more information or questions about the contest.

Breaking News: An unscheduled and unfolding news event for which there was no opportunity for planning. This category recognizes the photographer’s ability to function in a stressful situation, keeping their photographic gear rolling to capture the overall scope of the scene, and zeroing in on individual reactions. This story must have been filmed, edited, and broadcast within 24 hours, and a minimum of 90% of the video must have been filmed by the entering photojournalist. Entries must be five minutes or less.

Deadline News: A Breaking News or General News story that may include a live aircheck presentation by a reporter or photojournalist. The goal of this category is to highlight television photojournalism under deadline pressure. The entry must be filmed, edited, and broadcast within four consecutive hours. This entry may be a stand-alone package, a package with a live shot, or a live shot with a VO or VOSOT. If the entry includes a live shot, the air check presentation must be submitted with no re-editing allowed. 90% of the video & live shot must have been filmed by the entering photojournalist. Entries must be five minutes or less.

Live: Any single camera live shot. That could include breaking news or something from a morning show live segment for example. Entries may include video rolled in, but will be judged solely on the live section of the entry.  Multiple segments from the same newscast/same topic may be entered together, as one entry. Edits must be clearly identified. Creativity counts. Judges will look for how well an entry conveys the scene visually. Entries must be five minutes or less.

General Assignment News – Hard: A daily, general assignment, hard news story that covers a planned or unplanned news event, an issue, or a person or topic of general interest and importance. It can be a follow-up or sidebar to breaking news. General news stories should contain no music, except where it’s part of the natural sound of the story. Stories must have been filmed, edited, and broadcast within 24 consecutive hours. 90% of the video must have been filmed by the entering photojournalist. Entries must be five minutes or shorter. Entrants will select and compete as either a Solo Video Journalist or a Video Photojournalist.

General Assignment News – Light: A general assignment, light news story that covers a planned or unplanned news event, an issue, or a person or topic of general interest and importance. It can be a follow-up or sidebar to breaking news. Stories must have been filmed, edited, and exported within 24 consecutive hours. If the story is held back due to breaking news, it cannot be re-edited before airing. The spirit of this category is a typical day-turn type of feature that likely didn’t have any advance setup or pre-planning. 90% of the video must have been filmed by the entering photojournalist. Entries must be five minutes or shorter. Entrants will select and compete as either a Solo Video Journalist or a Video Photojournalist.

48 Hour Feature: A planned story that appeals to the emotional side of the viewer. Features that score highly show imagination and creativity. Must be filmed and edited within 48 consecutive hours. This feature category involves a little more pre-planning, but must fit into the 48-hour window. Can be a light or serious feature story. 90% of the video must have been filmed by the entering photojournalist. Entries must be ten minutes or shorter. Entrants will select and compete as either a Solo Video Journalist or a Video Photojournalist.

News Feature – Hard: A planned hard news feature where the photojournalist puts considerable time and effort into the production of the story. Stories in this category should be more serious in nature. 90% of the video must have been filmed by the entering photojournalist. Entries must be ten minutes or shorter. Entrants will select and compete as either a Solo Video Journalist or a Video Photojournalist.

News Feature – Light: A planned light feature where the photojournalist puts considerable time and effort into the production of the story. 90% of the video must have been filmed by the entering photojournalist. Entries must be ten minutes or shorter. Entrants will select and compete as either a Solo Video Journalist or a Video Photojournalist.

Sports Feature: Any feature story about participants, athletes, coaches, fans, or those involved or interested in a sport or sporting event. The spirit of this category is to honor stories about the emotional, human side of sports, as opposed to direct coverage of a specific competition, or packages of highlights or postgame soundbites. 90% of the video must have been filmed by the entering photojournalist. Entries must be ten minutes or less.

Investigative: A planned story where the photojournalist puts considerable time and effort into the production of the story with an emphasis on investigative news. It may be divided into a series or successive days. If so, edit the individual parts together, leaving a second of black between each piece. 50% of the video must have been filmed by the entering photojournalist. Entries must be 30 minutes or shorter.

Team: Any story that was filmed by more than one video photojournalist. The spirit of this category is to reflect overall team effort, not an instance in which a sole video photojournalist films the majority of the story and is assisted for a limited b-roll or a single interview, for example. The story may be a planned, organized, multi-camera event or a story where a couple of journalists are working together. The story may be of any topic or fall into any of the other categories. Entries must be 10 minutes or less.

NPPA Photojournalism Award for Reporting: This award is to honor those reporters and field producers who, in collaboration with a television photojournalist, produce outstanding visual stories. Entrants must submit a compilation of three stories they have written from the individual categories. Please include a second or two of black or fade to black between each entry in the compilation. The first story must be General Assignment News – Hard. 

This is not only a writing category. The judges will be looking at overall visual storytelling and how the reporter/field producer contributed to the quality. At least one member must be an NPPA member or an entry fee is required. A Winner and Runner Up will be awarded. Entries must be 20 minutes or less.

Ernie Crisp Photojournalist of the Year: This award serves as recognition of an individual’s ability, one who goes above and beyond the industry standards. The winner must show a high level of skill and professionalism.

Anyone who enters at least six of the individual categories is eligible for the Ernie Crisp Photojournalist of the Year award. Entrants must submit those stories in a compilation reel. Judges reserve the right to not watch your composite in its entirety because they have already seen the stories in the individual categories. 

Also, to be considered a finalist, POY entrants must place in at least two of the individual categories (with the winning stories represented on the compilation reel).

A list of stories and categories must be attached. 

There is a limit of 4 entries in each of the individual categories, but for the POY composite, a maximum of two per category may be used, in the following order: 

  • Breaking News
  • Deadline News
  • Live
  • General Assignment Hard and/or Light ( the order doesn’t matter)
  • Investigative
  • 48-Hour Feature
  • Sports Feature
  • News Feature – Hard and/or Light (the order doesn’t matter)

The composite reel must include 2 of these 3 categories: 

  • Breaking News
  • Deadline News  
  • General Hard News  

90% of the video in each story must have been filmed by the entering photojournalist.

Stories entered in the individual categories must be entered under the same categories. Failure to do so will result in disqualification. On the online entry form, use only the date of the first story in the date field. Using text or a series of dates will cause an issue with the upload. No promotional material concerning the photographer or their station may be included in the entry. 

POY entries are limited to 30 minutes.

Station of the Year: The Station of the Year Award will be presented to three different television stations in three separate divisions based on 2021 Nielsen market sizes:

  • Large Market (1-34)
  • Medium Market (35-69)
  • Small Market (70-212)

You can find out the size of the market you work in on the Nielsen Media website.

This award recognizes a local broadcast station’s photography staff for their consistency in providing outstanding news photography coverage for and about the audience it serves. The award singles out an individual staff as one that has achieved a high standard of quality in photography that is unmatched by any other station in their division. Selection as Station of the Year honors excellence, and most importantly, it serves to raise the standards of the industry. 

For Station of the Year, if any division has less than six entries, it may be merged with whichever adjacent division has a smaller number of entries. For example, if the Large Market has 20 entries, Medium Market has four entries and Small Market has ten, the Medium and Small markets would be combined.

Stations must submit at least one story in two of the following three categories:  

  • Breaking News
  • Deadline News
  • Live

And may submit up to 3 stories in any of the categories below (solo or video photojournalist), in the following order (after breaking, deadline, and live):

  • General News Hard and/or Light (the order doesn’t matter)
  • Investigative
  • 48-Hour Feature
  • Sports Feature
  • News Feature – Hard and/or Light (the order doesn’t matter)

Team and solo entries are allowed in each category. Stories entered in the individual categories may also be a part of the Station of the Year entry, but they must be entered under the same categories. Failure to do so will result in disqualification. 

New this year: Philosophy Statement:

SOY Entries must be accompanied by a short statement that reflects the following items. This will be pasted into a field and should not exceed the length of one, single-spaced page: 

  • Staff philosophy on video photojournalism
  • How your staff tries to elevate the industry and think outside the box
  • How the staff contributes on a daily basis
  • How the staff contributed to the reel itself (how many photojournalists are represented, for example)
  • Philosophy of the SOY entry
  • How they went outside their comfort zone, for example.
  • Why you feel your staff should win the SOY.
  • And anything else you  want the judges to know about your staff, station, or reel. 

No promotional material concerning the photographers or their station may be included in the entry. 

SOY entries are limited to 40 minutes.

For stations with a photography staff of 15 or more, a minimum of one-third of the staff must have work represented in the Station of the Year entry. A single video photojournalist may not contribute more than 3 stories to a Station of the Year entry. For stations with a video photojournalist staff of 14 or fewer, a minimum of one-half of the station’s staff must be represented on the Station of the Year entry. No photographer can contribute more than 50% of the stories in the entry.