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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Reuniting the NPPA and POYi
Melissa Lyttle, Photographer
Fort Lauderdale | FL | USA | Posted: 11:25 PM on 04.05.04
->> For the last three years there has been a split between the National Press Photographer's Association and the University of Missouri's Pictures of the Year. The purpose of this letter is to begin a dialogue with the hope of bringing the two groups together and offering a united community to photographers who enter these contests.

There is such a fine tradition behind the original contest as it was affiliated with the NPPA. Members looked forward to this one contest as a way to measure their work amongst their peers. We believe that having two similar contests based in America dilutes the honors and ultimately does not serve the profession. Resources are limited, and duplicating the effort amounts to wasted time and money on all sides.

The original mission of the unified POYi competition was simply to recognize good work and to elevate the craft of visual storytelling. It is in this spirit that we implore the leaders of POYi and NPPA to out their egos aside and begin discussions to come together to forge a new relationship. This new beginning is something photojournalism will benefit from.

In order to do this, please take a moment and go to this link:

http://www.aphotoaday.org/petition.html

Add your name to a petition to show your support for this movement among photographers both in and out of the NPPA membership.

I sincerely thank you for taking time to address this issue. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please email them to petition@aphotoaday.org and we will try to address them.

We are stronger together than we are apart.

Thank You,

Melissa Lyttle, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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Jr Shedd, Photographer, Student/Intern
Grayslake | IL | United States | Posted: 11:42 PM on 04.05.04
->> Done..
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Jason Kaye, Photographer
Tacoma | WA | | Posted: 12:09 AM on 04.06.04
->> Great idea.
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Paul W Gillespie, Photographer
Annapolis | MD | USA | Posted: 12:27 AM on 04.06.04
->> Wasn't the whole split brought about by the POYi starting to charge NPPA members to enter the contest? This is why NPPA started their own contest, one that was free for members to enter. Has this changed? Can it be changed? With the money problems the NPPA is having can they afford to get rid of the free contest and want memebrs to pay for the POYi (plus increased dues), especailly when their is not even a book with the winners in it, just a magazine (meaning BOP). Does POYi produce a book?

I have no real opinion either way. I hardly enter contests. Just some questions I was wondering about.
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Steven E. Frischling, Photographer
Amherst | MA | USA | Posted: 12:44 AM on 04.06.04
->> signed
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 1:08 AM on 04.06.04
->> Done

why would one not sign?
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Jr Shedd, Photographer, Student/Intern
Grayslake | IL | United States | Posted: 2:53 PM on 04.06.04
->> Just keeping the thread alive...
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Brian Nicholson, Photographer
Ogden | Utah | USA | Posted: 4:38 PM on 04.06.04
->> I'm in

BN
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Allan Campbell, Photographer, Assistant
Salem (Portland) | OR | USA | Posted: 7:29 PM on 04.06.04
->> If I remember it was a drop off in support and an increase in cost of producing the book. They wanted more financial support from the NPPA to help cover the loss of income from the commercial sponsors
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Melissa Lyttle, Photographer
Fort Lauderdale | FL | USA | Posted: 8:41 PM on 04.06.04
->> thanks to those who have both responded and replied. the petition has had over 700 hits today, and about 350 signatures, so the word is definitely getting out. feel free to keep getting that word out though, (cut and paste my post on here if you want something to fill an email and send to your coworkers/friends/college chums) please pass it along to anyone and everyone. the more signatures the better, as far as being heard goes.

i think it's about time we all come together as one and do something productive and proactive for the future of photojournalism rather than just sitting around complaining about how things and waiting for someone else to initiate that change. and this is a nice first step...
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Thomas Boyd, Photographer
Eugene | OR | USA | Posted: 8:42 PM on 04.06.04
->> I'm hesitant to sign. I like things about both contests. One thing I don't like is paying $50 to enter POYi and not getting a book. If the contest would be free to NPPA members and the book was published, I would get behind this proposal.

I also like the way the results were released daily at BOP throughout the judging period. POYi holds the results until all judging is completed. Then, a select few Missouri insiders spread the word through the gossip mill before the results are posted.

I do somewhat agree with the basic premise that the U.S. should have only one contest. On the other hand, with two we get to see twice as many excellent photos.
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 2:41 AM on 04.09.04
->> FYI : NPPA's response to the petition:

"Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2004 13:38:03 -0600
Reply-To: Clyde Mueller
Sender: NPPA Discussion List
From: Clyde Mueller
Subject: NPPA Best of Photojournalism responce (sic)

An open letter from NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism Contest Committee member Joe Elbert in response to an online petition which calls for a rejoining of the University of Missouri and NPPA's annual photojournalism contests:

The breakup of Missouri and NPPA seems to hit folks at a personal level. I'm truly sorry for that, but some background might help make this more understandable."

To read the rest of NPPA's reaction to the petition:
https://listserv.cmich.edu:443/cgi-bin/wa.exe?A2=ind0404b&L=nppa-l&F=&S=&X=...
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Myung Chun, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 3:05 AM on 04.09.04
->> The link requires a Listserv login.
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 3:10 AM on 04.09.04
->> Oppps!

My bad!
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Matthew Minard, Photographer
Henderson | NV | USA | Posted: 11:21 AM on 04.09.04
->> Over 600 names now!
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 4:37 PM on 04.09.04
->> Here's Joe's Open letter:

An open letter from NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism Contest Committee member
Joe Elbert in response to an online petition which calls for a rejoining of
the University of Missouri and NPPA's annual photojournalism contests:


The breakup of Missouri and NPPA seems to hit folks at a personal level. I
*m truly sorry for that, but some background might help make this more
understandable.


Where to begin? During NPPA*s 1997 convention I was asked to be the contest
liaison between NPPA and the University of Missouri. I*d been a judge for
two years, knew the folks at Missouri, and knew that relations weren*t
exactly warm and fuzzy between Missouri and NPPA. My first official duty
was to have lunch with Bill Kuykendall, Canon and Kodak to discuss their
sponsorship. For the next hour Bill and I heard how they felt the contest
didn易t give them the visibility they wanted and they were considering
dropping out.


Bill and I worked at getting more sponsors. We brought the Newseum on board
to host the awards ceremony. We failed to bring Apple on board but we
replaced Kodak with Fuji. Missouri was spending around $220,000 to run the
contest (I have a budget from the 1998 contest). NPPA was spending around
$100,000 on the book, running promotions in the magazine, and providing the
mailing list. Bill and I knew having only two big sponsors was incredibly
dangerous and put us in a vulnerable position. I wanted to go for smaller
donations from more sponsors.


In 1999 I attended World Press and interviewed their leadership hoping we
might be able to take a page from their playbook. Wow, if we were a small
country and our only claim to fame were Tulips, we易d have it made.
Seriously, with sponsorships from the government, national airlines, Canon
and national newspaper groups we易d be sitting pretty. Bill and I talked
about strategic partnerships with American Airlines and other organizations
such as Federal Express. We kept getting slapped down and didn易t get
anyone on board. Also, the recession was just starting and businesses were
pulling back on sponsorships.




By 2000 things were desperate. Bill Kuykendall couldn易t pass up an
incredible retirement package. Before leaving he put together a very frank
mid-year report to NPPA and University (available for background). If all
the positions were gutted, Missouri would still need around $92,000 to hold
the contest.


The University of Missouri covered the 2001 contest expenses and that*s
when things started going South. I remember a sense of desperation in the
air at the awards ceremony at the Newseum. As if things weren't bad enough,
the Newseum was also closing down in March 2002.


Later in the year the University asked NPPA to consider charging for
entries. NPPA*s elected leaders felt this was unfair to the membership
since their membership dues included the contest. At the same time, the
country was in recession, salaries were being frozen and departments were
being downsized. NPPA members needed our help. NPPA leadership explained
this to the University. The University came back with a counter proposal
that the contest would be free if NPPA would come up with $90,000. We didn
易t have that kind of money and we said we couldn*t do it. Clyde Mueller,
President of NPPA at this time, asked me what I thought and I felt the
contest could be run for $30,000. NPPA*s leadership offered Missouri a
&one-time grant* of $30,000 hoping to keep the partnership and contest
running. The final communication took place in November 2001 when Missouri
informed NPPA the contract was terminated. We were fired.


It*s November 2001 and we易re covering the most historic year since 1941.
No contest? A group of us got together and decided we would have a contest,
which would be free, and it also would be inclusive. With no advertising we
had our first contest and it cost us $30,000. So much for the $90,000
Missouri said it would cost. And we had the same number of contest images
entered as Missouri.


We had sponsors and we moved the contest to a true digital environment. For
the first time in any photo contest all of the images were available for
viewing. Entries could be submitted via FTP.


Earlier I mentioned the goal of being inclusive. Teachers all over the world
are using the NPPA Web site and contest entries to teach photography.
Photography textbooks are no longer necessary. NPPA has received letters
praising the availability of the images.


The NPPA contest continues to grow. The caliber of entries and winners this
year is just amazing. Just this week NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism*s top
award winners won both the Feature and Spot News Pulitzers (Carolyn Cole,
David J. Leeson and Cheryl Diaz Meyer).


We all remember entering our first contest and wondering if we were
competitive. With the entries online photographers can see their entries,
can see other photographers* work and learn from the experience. It*s more
about seeing the entries than seeing the winners.


I don易t feel there was anything personal with the breakup. Missouri fired
us and we moved on. POYi had 26,000 images in their contest this year;
NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism had nearly 31,000 entries. We have sponsors
lined up and we易re getting our house in order. In three years, NPPA's Best
Of Photojournalism has grown by 26%.


I understand tradition, and I won a few POY awards myself. At the same time
I want to help the young generation to be better. To do that, we need a
contest that is available to everyone.






- Joe Elbert
April 8, 2004
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 5:55 PM on 04.09.04
->> Here's another open letter. This one from the POYs's David Reese:

> April 9, 2004
>
>
> A POYi Open Letter
>
> TO Friends of Photojournalism
>
> FROM David Rees, POYi Director
>
>
> POYi and NPPA have for years shared the same goal of fostering excellence in photojournalism. I regret that we parted ways three years ago. POYi's integrity and value as a competition to recognize outstanding photojournalism, editing and use was certainly enhanced through association with NPPA. My incentive to work with POYi is continually renewed in conversations with photographers who value POYi for the recognition it affords, the extra 'legs' it gives their work, for the validation of their photography and the people whose stories they're telling. POYi has not been just a contest - it has really helped to shape the profession in magazines and newspapers worldwide.
>
> The POYi / NPPA split occurred for financial reasons. We had lost support from corporate sponsors - dramatically - and we were faced with an economic imperative to start charging entry fees to all entrants. A significant issue we believed for the loss of corporate support was that the 2000 Best of Photojournalism book failed to make any mention of corporate sponsors or of the University, as was required in our contract. Additionally, we had seen the funding problem coming a couple of years before and had talked with NPPA leadership at their annual meetings in Memphis and Denver and had received encouragement from them to modify aspects of the contract which would enable us to charge entry fees to NPPA members. However, upon presenting the revised language to NPPA, they said it was no longer an option - a "non-starter" for them, and they then raised the possiblity of providing a grant to help fund the expenses that are inevitably a part of staging a contest - judges travel & housing & meals, stipends for hiring students to log and prepare entries, etc. They invited the proposal (which was $68,000) but ended up rejecting it. NPPA had never supported POYi financially in a direct way, though they did publish the book, Best of Photojournalism, of winning POYi images. In 2001 we instituted entry fees because we had to. NPPA started its own contest.
>
> We have continued POYi - and we will continue to do so. Now in our 61st year, we are working hard to fulfill the POYi Endowment which will provide a firm financial grounding, remove the need for entry fees, increase the educational outreach of POYi. Our plan is to publish a yearly annual. Though we are not currently able to publish a book, we do have all of the winning photographs on our website -
http://www.poyi.org - and we also have a CD-ROM of winning images that we send to the winners.
>
> I have had no hand in the current petition being circulated. On several occasions (the most recent just a year ago on April 17) I spoke with or wrote to NPPA leaders, asking if they would like to discuss possibilities of affiliating - but they indicated no interest in working with POYi. So, I have concentrated my efforts on improving POYi and raising money for the POYi Endowment. I am proud that POYi maintains the strength and vitality that it began with Cliff Edom's vision more than 61 years ago.
>
> We're busy getting ready for the 61st annual POYi awards and education program - next Friday and Saturday (April 16 & 17) here in Columbia. I'm sure that the petition will engender some discussions then, too.
>
>
> Best regards,
>
>
> David R.
>
>
> David Rees, Associate Professor
> Co-Director Missouri Photo Workshop
> Director Pictures of the Year International
> Missouri School of Journalism
> 106 Lee Hills Hall
> Columbia, MO 65211
> 573-882-3635
> reesd@missouri.edu
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 2:49 AM on 04.10.04
->> Thanks Mark!

These are very nice history lessons for everyone that hasn't been privy to the details of the split several years ago.

It is good for all of those concerned with this situation to have the background and current feelings of the two parties --- the University of Missouri and the National Press Photographers Association.

Having met both Joe (during my stint as a BOP judge) and David (as a judge at POYi a couple of months ago) and respecting both tremendously ... it would have been nice to see a consolatory tone or even a feeling that some movement could happen.

Obviously this is a *very* complicated and deep-rooted issue on both sides.

Melissa and Mike's petition drive has gone a long way in telling both Missouri/ POYi and the NPPA / BOP what the feelings are of a lot of you out there. They and the rest of the people involved with this campaign are to be applauded.

But it is up to NPPA and Missouri ...

Only time will tell.

The Kahuna.
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Michael McNamara, Photographer
Columbia | MO | USA | Posted: 3:00 PM on 04.11.04
->> I will be up front and say that I went to the University of Missouri and have attended POY judging since I was a freshman in college. I have had David Rees as a teacher, and that after the discontinuation of the Best of Photojournalism book, I let my NPPA membership lapse.

These two contests need to be reunited, and not just “for the sake of the kids.” Not only does our profession need it, but the NPPA and POY need it too. It simply makes sense for the world’s first school of journalism to partner with the country’s most visible photojournalism group in conducting the nation’s ultimate annual photo contest. Differences need to be worked out, concessions on both sides need to be made, and while the process may not be pretty, the result will be exactly what the profession of photojournalism needs.

The main purpose that annual contests serve is to give the profession a set of standards. With two contests and two sets of winners, we learn that what one set of judges like is sometimes completely different than what another set likes. And unless you look at Carolyn Cole who just won photojournalism’s “triple crown,” there is no definitive set of the best in photojournalism for the previous year.

Bert said a reunification “is up to NPPA and Missouri,” and he is right. But things like these petitions let them know the sentiment of the people who enter these contests. If this doesn’t work, maybe a boycott of one or both contests in the same year would get the point across.

The petition is up to almost 700 signatures. If you are a photojournalist who enters contests, it is in your best interest to sign your name. A signature from a photographer at the Carmel Pine Cone counts as much as one from a photographer from the New York Times. Please keep this going by signing your name to it.
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Paul W Gillespie, Photographer
Annapolis | MD | USA | Posted: 4:03 PM on 04.11.04
->> Just a thought I had about contests in general after reading Michael McNamara's post and his quote

"With two contests and two sets of winners, we learn that what one set of judges like is sometimes completely different than what another set likes."

Why should one set of judges be better than a couple of sets? If you should win both contests would that not be the ultimate in validation of a photographers work? If that is what you need for validation. If the contests are reunited I think that rather than having one limited set of judges, open the judging up to the PJ community at large like the SS monthly contest. That way you would know what the PJ community as a whole thinks and not the whim of what a few judges think.

Just some of my thoughts
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Michael McNamara, Photographer
Columbia | MO | USA | Posted: 11:28 AM on 04.12.04
->> This is what Mike Davis, the petition's first signer and an organizer of it, has to say about there being two contests, and how they leave us more good photos to look at.

"Presenting good work is certainly part of a contest's existence. But it's not the highest calling. Contests have the potential to lead our industry, to affect newsrooms, to touch people no publication does, to make all people think about photography in ways they haven't, to bring us together for unified causes on singular missions, to be a voice for the profession - in essence to elevate what we all do.

"How can they do this? By creating multimedia programs about the judging that we can use to educate newsrooms about visual storytelling, by launching national exhibits, by holding educational forums, by involving people from diverse media and many universities, by opening the judging to live participation, by recasting categories to reflect not just what has been done in the past year but with a vision toward recognizing compelling story telling in all its range.

"Neither POYi nor BOP can reach this potential as they are now cast so we're left with "seeing more work." It is time to recast the mold, to take what BOP teaches us, to build on the prestige and history of POYi, to unify behind one effort under the auspices of POYi."
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Thomas Boyd, Photographer
Eugene | OR | USA | Posted: 2:55 AM on 04.15.04
->> Upon further reflection from a persuasive email from a colleague, I have decided to sign the document in hopes the two sides will come together and talk about ways to involve NPPA in POYi.

When they do, I hope they talk about publishing a book and I want them to talk about discounting or waiving the entry fee for NPPA members.

If they get as far as talking about details, I would like to see them use the BOP method of releasing results at the end of each judging day. And, I would like the awards ceremony to be in Washington D.C. near the date of the White House News Photographers' Association awards banquet. That worked out really well in the past and it's a destination worth the expense.
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Thread Title: Reuniting the NPPA and POYi
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