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
2nd place: Jarrad Henderson, video producer/director at Virginia Tech University
3rd place: Danese Kenon, assistant managing editor/visuals, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Honorable Mention: Boyzell Hosey, director of photo and video, Tampa Bay Times
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.