Video Photojournalism Division – 2024 Categories

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 are primarily from individual journalists, except for the Station of the Year categories.

Subcategories exist for different types of entrants:

  • Solo Video Photojournalist: Journalists responsible for filming, reporting, writing, tracking, and editing video for television news on a daily basis. “Nat Sound” packages (stories without a reporter track) are not allowed. This category is for journalists who work solo regularly during the work week, not for the occasional solo effort.
  • Video Photojournalist: Journalists working as members of a newsroom staff or as independent photographers.

Entries must have been created for journalistic distribution through broadcast or online channels. Sponsored content or work for companies, brands, teams, or other entities is not eligible.

Entry Limitation: A maximum of four (4) entries per category is allowed for individual story categories per contestant. Compilation categories count as a single entry. Individuals may submit only one entry for the NPPA Photojournalism Award for Reporting and Ernie Crisp Photojournalist of the Year. Each station may submit only one Station of the Year entry.

For individual Video Photojournalism entries, at least 90% of the video must be filmed by the entering photojournalist. If the photographer’s name is mentioned in the story entry, it can remain in the submission.

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

Deadline News: Breaking News or General News stories filmed, edited, and broadcast within four consecutive hours. The goal of this category is to highlight television photojournalism under deadline pressure.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 and live shot must have been filmed by the entering photojournalist. Entries must be five minutes or less.

Live: Any live broadcast shot by an individual photojournliast, which 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. This is not a team entry, all live video must have been controlled by the entrant. Entries must be five minutes or less.

Breaking News: Unscheduled and unfolding news events with no opportunity for planning. It must be  filmed, edited, and broadcast within 24 hours and a minimum of 90% of the video must have been recorded by the entering photojournalist. 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. Entrants will select and compete as either a Solo Video Journalist or a Video Photojournalist.

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 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, limited to 30 minutes.  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. 

Station of the Year: The Station of the Year Award will be presented to two different television stations in two separate divisions based on 2023 Nielsen market sizes:

We have made the change from small, medium and large markets to Market 1/Market 2 to reflect changes in these markets.

  • Market 1 (1-34)
  • Market 2  (35-210)

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. This is a compilation entry that is limited to 40 minutes.

For Station of the Year, 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 produced and Solo Video Photojournalist 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. 

  • A list of stories, who shot them, categories, run time and story order must be attached in a separate document, along with the number of photojournalists that are eligible to be counted for the staff minimums.
  • 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.

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.

For the purposes of counting staff sizes, anyone who regularly shoots video for your station, should be counted in your final numbers. This doesn’t include a producer who many occasionally shoot an interview or run a live shot. It also does not include video editors who don’t shoot on a regular basis. It does, however, include solo video journalists whose job it is to primarily shoot, write, report and edit.