NABJ’s Visual Task Force restores the Moneta Sleet photo competition

After a five-year hiatus, the Visual Task Force (VTF) of the National Association of Black Journalists "revamped" The Moneta Sleet, Jr. photo competition by partnering with the Teripix mobile photo app. That partnership allowed off-convention site participation and remote judging, which was a first for the 25-year-old competition.

This year’s competition chair, Boyzell Hosey, director of photo and video at the Poynter-owned Tampa Bay Times, told Poynter that “the goal of the competition is to honor and preserve the history of Moneta Sleet, Jr., while upholding and promoting the values of visual journalism as it relates to our day and time.”

The contest was restored with a relevant and compelling thematic topic: “BlackLivesMatter” (in conjunction with the one year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death and several others that spurred the #BlackLivesMatter movement.) It was open nationally to NABJ members attending the Minneapolis, Minnesota convention and across the country.

Teripix is an app that gives clients the ability to capture images on their phones and upload them to a secure platform with a virtual location to search, view and download images. It was founded by photojournalists Lawrence Jenkins and Irwin Thompson.

This is a vast departure for the groups initial 20-year history, back when the contest was originally called the “VTF Shoot Out” and the Coca-Cola Company was the primarily sponsor and slide film was the method of entry.

“The winners represented the best efforts to translate the theme. Solid images that spoke to the full meaning of Black Lives Matter,” said veteran Journal Sentinel newsroom leader Sherman Williams.

Here are this year's winners:

1st place: Danese Kenon, assistant managing editor/visuals, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

[caption id="attachment_364561" align="alignleft" width="740"]Emmanuel Hogan explores the broken glass displayed at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Thursday, July 30, 2015. Emmanuel Hogan explores the broken glass displayed at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Thursday, July 30, 2015.[/caption]
 
2nd place: Jarrad Henderson, video producer/director at Virginia Tech University

[caption id="attachment_364563" align="alignleft" width="740"]Students, staff and community members lay on the first floor of the Squires Student Center to show support after the recent deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner in Blacksburg, Virginia on Thursday, December 4, 2014. Protests continued Thursday over a grand jury's decision not to indict NYPD police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner. After the silent protest, students joined the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Theta Iota Chapter to discuss their emotions and next steps to address both the injustices taking place against people of color and anonymous comments made on the mobile app Yik Yak in which students attacked other students of color on campus. Students, staff and community members lay on the first floor of the Squires Student Center to show support after the recent deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner in Blacksburg, Virginia on Thursday, December 4, 2014. Protests continued Thursday over a grand jury's decision not to indict NYPD police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner. After the silent protest, students joined the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Theta Iota Chapter to discuss their emotions and next steps to address both the injustices taking place against people of color and anonymous comments made on the mobile app Yik Yak in which students attacked other students of color on campus.[/caption]
 
3rd place: Danese Kenon, assistant managing editor/visuals, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

[caption id="attachment_364567" align="alignleft" width="740"]Mary Kenon says goodbye to her youngest grandchild Sunday, August 2, 2015. Mary Kenon says goodbye to her youngest grandchild Sunday, August 2, 2015.[/caption]
 
Honorable Mention: Boyzell Hosey, director of photo and video, Tampa Bay Times

[caption id="attachment_364569" align="alignleft" width="740"]Party goers dance at an all-white party in Cleveland, Ohio to celebrate the accomplishments of Carolyn and Dru Joyce on Sunday, August 2, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio Party goers dance at an all-white party in Cleveland, Ohio to celebrate the accomplishments of Carolyn and Dru Joyce on Sunday, August 2, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio[/caption]
 

The competition is named after Moneta Sleet, who was chosen to cover Dr. Martin Luther King's receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in 1965, also became the first African-American winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his feature photograph (Deep Sorrow) documenting 5-year-old Bernice King laying across Coretta Scott King's lap looking chagrined at the camera during King's funeral.

The panel of judges included Sherman Williams, assistant managing editor/visuals, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Irwin Thompson, interim director of photography, Dallas Morning News; Kimberly P. Mitchell, staff photojournalist, Detroit Free Press; and myself via Skype.

  • Kenneth Irby

    Kenny founded Poynter's photojournalism program in 1995. He teaches in seminars and consults in areas of photojournalism, leadership, ethics and diversity.

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