By Shawn Brouwer
Columbia, Mo. (April 4, 2006) — The work of more than 25 Columbia Missourian photo editors and staff photographers and a recent Missouri School of Journalism student were among the top winners at the 63rd annual Pictures of the Year International (POYi) contest.
Considered one of the world’s largest and most prestigious photojournalism contests, POYi judges viewed more than 39,000 images submitted by more than 1,718 professional newspaper and magazine photographers and editors from 400 publications in 45 countries. Awards were given in 46 distinct categories by a panel of 12 of the world’s leading photographers and editors, who made the winning selections during 19 days of judging in February and March.
The steep global competition of the contest’s entries makes the Missouri Journalism wins even more significant.
“If this was Olympic diving, and we were being graded on difficulty, we would have won the gold,” said Rick Shaw, assistant professor and director of photography at the Columbia Missourian. “This puts us in the big leagues.”
The Missourian received an Award of Excellence in Newspaper Editing for a paper with a circulation of under 100,000, an “amazing feat” considering the photo editors were students working part-time, Shaw said.
The Missourian entry (“Newspaper Editing Portfolio: Circulation < 100,000“) was a portfolio covering three semesters of work produced by more than 25 students in Shaw’s Photo Desk Management class. The class members edited the daily images from the staff photographers.
Chris Detrick, BJ ’05, received second place in the “Sports Action” and “Sports Picture Story” category for photographs he took of Cory Owens, a greyhound trainer in Kansas City, Kan., as part of his photojournalism capstone course requirements.
The most difficult part was editing Detrick’s pictures before submitting them into the contest, said Rita Reed, his capstone professor.
“Chris demonstrated drive and determination in returning to the Kansas City racing track multiple times to build the rapport required to get beneath the surface and reveal the young trainer’s character as well as his commitment to and compassion for the dogs,” Reed explained.
In addition to the awards received by the Missourian and Detrick, POYi provides Missouri Journalism students with opportunities to learn what benchmarks experts use to determine what are the best photographs in the world.
“You become a better photographer by seeing good photography,” said David Rees, chair of the photojournalism sequence who also directed this year’s POYi, his fifth year to do so. “By attending the POYi contest, students are able to hear the opinions of the judges on all of these entries and see how they decide what makes a gripping photo by just looking at the screen for three to five seconds.”
Rees said he is proud some POYi winners have ties to the Missouri program.
Shawn Brouwer, a junior from Visalia, Calif., is majoring in media convergence. He has interned with a Gannett newspaper in his hometown, is currently an intern with Machine Shop Marketing and will be a summer intern with USAToday.com in Washington D.C. Brouwer serves as a Journalism Ambassador, volunteers with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and was philanthropy chair for his social fraternity. Following graduation, Brouwer plans a career in sports public relations or media law.