January 2012 Clip Contest Results

Click here to see the winning images.


Weather shots, January in Wisconsin. I had to go put on a sweater just to judge this category. And kudos to everyone who got stuck with the weather assignment and came back with these images. (Weather ought to be a category by itself.)

Feature 1st – Star Wars Invasion (John Ehlke)
This was the toughest category, but I was continually drawn to the look on this kid’s face. I don’t know what he’s thinking, but he looks so overwhelmed.

So many good weather shots, but this one is framed perfectly and conveys a real chill.

Feature 3rd – Ron Page/The Post-Crescent
The challenge and perhaps disdain on this boy’s face are just great.

Feature HM – Michael P. King, Wisconsin State Journal

Feature HM – Terry Mayer CSI MEDIA LLC
The best of the postcard-perfect weather shots.


General News

So many good shots here!

General News 1st – Evan Siegle/Green Bay Press-Gazette
So many gay couples have been photographed on courthouse steps, or as a pair. This photo goes way beyond, and really brings home the family and parenting  issues. It’s clear the family trusts the photographer enough to conduct their normal life under his gaze. That shows an uncommon ability to become the fly on the wall.

General News 2nd – Olson House Fire (John Ehlke)
I’ve seen lots of “aftermath” shots. But I haven’t seen many I could almost smell.

General News 3rd Place – Wisconsin Recalls (John Hart)
Perfect framing and perspective elevates this shot beyond “angry face at rally.”

General News HM – Ron Page/The Post-Crescent
You can feel the cold in that woman’s goofy face.

General News HM – Wm. Glasheen/The Post-Crescent
Great expressions, and it show a real connection between teacher and student.



Portrait 1st – Wm. Glasheen/The Post-Crescent
I love this because of the weird perspective, perfect for a story about a photographer. I keep going back to it trying to figure out that silly little couch.

perfectly captured women from two different eras.

Portrait 3rd – Matthew Apgar/Herald Times Reporter
Reflection shots are tough to do, but the lighting here is just right. Good portraits set the tone, and this made me want to read the story.

Portrait HM – Welcoming Winter (John Hart)
Such a great moment, and from just another weather event. Bravo!



Another packed category with plenty of wonderful images.

Sports 1st – Evan Siegle/Green Bay Press-Gazette
Other photographers had shots of Kuhn’s flight into the end zone, but only this one makes it seem like he’s about to land in your lap. Sometimes the difference between good and great is where you happen to be standing.

Sports 2nd – Dan Powers/The Post-Crescent
Another situation where other folks had the same play. But this wide crop gives the shot a sense of enormity in keeping with the magnitude of the moment: A successful Hail Mary pass in the final seconds of the first half, a play that essentially broke the Packers and their fans. You can see that in their faces. This crop takes the action photo to another level.

Sports 3rd – Ron Page/The Post-Crescent
Probably not an obvious choice, but wrestling is so intensely personal and this enigmatic shot gives you a sense of isolation and exhaustion from the effort, without revealing whether he won or lost. It left me wanting to know more, elevating it beyond many other great action shots.


Spot News

Spot News 1st – Car fire (Sue Pischke/HTR)
Nothing like a little fire to catch your attention… and remind readers you are there when news happens.

Spot News 2nd – Matthew Apgar/Herald Times Reporter
Putting a face on tragedy, while the rescuers are all anonymous and obscured. Nicely done.

Spot News 3rd – Mark Hoffman
Good work finding the right angle.



Multiple 1st – Cyclocross Championships (John Hart)
The bicycles. What set this apart was the edit. A small group of photos that still showcased the action and some faces, with varying perspectives and techniques.

Multiple 2nd – Library Wedding (John Ehlke)
A sweet story, lovingly told. Could have used a tighter edit, though. I would have cut it to six photos.

Multiple 3rd – Michael P. King, Wisconsin State Journal
A great set of photos, but too heavy on the game action. Does show the shooter can do both well, but as an overall entry it needed to trim.

Judging by Mark Miller/Star-Ledger

John Ehlke 130
Evan Siegle 100
John Hart 95
Ron Page 75
Matthew Apgar 70
Wm. Glasheen 65
Sue Pischke 50
Michael P. King 45
Dan Powers 40
Mark Hoffman 30
Terry Mayer 15

8 Responses to “January 2012 Clip Contest Results”

  1. Can I make a suggestion for future months? It is based on the tradition and spirit of clip contests as I have always understood them.

    I think it’s imperative that our clip contest be judged monthly by a *panel* of judges, not just one person (as it appears it was this past month).

    It should be made absolutely clear to the judging publication when we send our clips to them, that we expect the judging to be done by multiple people.

    I don’t think January’s results should be voided or anything – it is what it is and let’s move forward – but I don’t think it’s proper for us to accept unilaterally-judged results.

    I’ve been a part of a lot of clip-judging panels and we’ve always ensured there was at least 3 people present. You need that variety of perspectives to further affirm or challenge those of an individual.

    Just my two cents.

  2. Matthew Apgar says:

    I agree with Michael — You hit the nail on the head with your last sentence. One person’s viewpoints, though appreciated, shouldn’t be the be-all, end-all of a contest.

  3. Doug says:

    While having multiple judges is ideal (and is requested), it should not be required because it eliminates a sub group of judges. This creates an inherent biased to the contest and I do not believe that forcing a biased onto the contest is appropriate.

    Not every news organization has three available judges for our contest. By eliminating all news organizations that have 2 willing judges or less, the contest would be eliminating a lot of news organizations with a small staff or who have had their availability cut. I believe that it is important to allow the possible opinion of all groups of visual journalists to be judges for the clip contest, because each can offer an opinion that others cannot.

    If we look at the National Press Photographers Association, they often have but do not require multiple judges (Region 2’s Nov. 2011 as an example). I agree that having multiple judges is better, I will make a point to push for this, however requiring it creates a definite bias in place of reducing a possible bias.

  4. Michael P. King says:

    I totally understand your points, Doug. I don’t bring this all up as an attack on the contest or you. I just think looking at this issue can help us improve things going forward. And I think having the discussion publicly on the site is important because I hope more members will chime in with their thoughts (ultimately, we serve them and we need to know what they think).

    I do think part of the value of a contest (for those who individually *are* the photo department, or those who are on a very small staff) is the ability to hear opinions of their work from *other* people… *multiple* people. It’s a way to get your work out of the vacuum of your small workplace.

    We’ve never required that all those on a panel be photographers, per se. I have seen clip contests where a managing editor or a publisher have chipped in to help a small photo staff get the job done. I think that’s great.

    Why? Because when you can tell that the staff put some effort into putting a judging panel together, it feels like they really cared. And for them to care, they must have felt like we would truly care about *their* opinions. It just struck me as really odd that a 300k+ circulation paper only had one person available.

    I understand that sometimes getting three panelists may be a burden. But I still think that contests should never be judged through just one person’s eyes. We would never do it for the annual POY or Student POY contest. It would not be acceptable. Making it acceptable for the monthly contest cheapens its value, in my opinion.

    Could we compromise and instruct our volunteer judges that a panel of three or more is always preferred, two is acceptable in a real pinch, but one is not?

  5. I am stunned to read that a single judge handled the contest. I’ve considered three (or four) the norm. I agree with Michael.

  6. Ron Page says:

    Good discussion. Thanks for having it. I agree with Michael’s last suggestion of a compromise that would keep us at a preferred standard unless facing some unexpected circumstance that might limit the number of judges but not fall below a certain level.

  7. Doug says:

    I agree with Ron. I like Michael’s idea of allowing non-photojournalists to supplement in the case of small or lower availability staff. The helps to reduce the biases of the judges without creating an even worse bias. Good idea Michael, that’s a great way to fix the problem.

  8. Dan Powers says:

    Great discussion. I too believe we need more than one judge and need to come up with a resolution. I know that when we have been asked to judge clip contests in Appleton, we would wait until we had three of us available to do it. It’s always been out of the photo department, but I could see pulling an editor into the situation too.

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