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Pictures of the Year International judging wraps up at MU

Monday, February 21, 2011 | 9:24 p.m. CST; updated 12:06 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 22, 2011
From left, Drea Cooper, Meg Theno, Mike Zerby and Kim Grinfeder judge the Newspaper Editing Portfolio category during the 68th Pictures of the Year International competition on Monday. The judging takes place at MU's Reynolds Journalism Institute and draws different photojournalists and filmmakers from around the world to judge tens of thousands of images over several days.

COLUMBIA — Seated about 10 feet from a screen, judges of the 68th Pictures of the Year International competition critiqued photos in about two seconds Monday as the images came and went.

"If it's a good photograph you can see it very, very quickly," judge Mike Zerby said. "Really fine photography, part of the reason it is fine is because it is easily seen, assimilated and digested."

This year's judges

  • Porter BinksSports Illustrated, photo editor
  • Drea Cooperfilmmaker
  • Katie Falkenberg — freelance photojournalist
  • Stanley Greene — NOOR Images
  • Kim Grinfeder — University of Miami, visual journalism
  • David Guttenfelder — Associated Press, chief photographer for Asia
  • Ken Lyons — The Denver Post, senior photo editor
  • Bill Marr — National Geographic, creative director
  • Mona Reeder— The Dallas Morning News, photojournalist
  • Meg Theno — Chicago Tribune, senior photo editor
  • Mike Zerby — University of Minnesota, visual communication and electronic photojournalism

Judging is open to public

The judging takes place in the Fred W. Smith Forum, on the second floor of MU's Reynolds Journalism Institute, on Ninth Street south of Elm Street. A schedule is on the Pictures of the Year website. The judging is also streamed on the web.



The annual competition started Feb. 7 and will go through Tuesday. Director Rick Shaw said 11 judges were brought in to critique and discuss photographs in 44 categories. Upwards of 40,000 images will have been displayed during the competition.

Each judge spent about five days in the Fred W. Smith Forum in the Reynolds Journalism Institute at MU critiquing news pages, photographs, stories, portfolios and multimedia pages.

On Monday, judges selected winners from the following categories:

  • Series and special sections for newspapers.
  • Series and special sections for magazines.
  • Portfolios for newspaper editing.
  • Portfolios for magazine editing.
  • Best use of photography for an online publication. 

Winners are listed on the event's website.

The room is kept dark and silent so the judges are able to focus on the images.

"It is very stimulating work to look at," Zerby said. "It's a good arrangement. We have a level of intimacy that is just stunning."

Judge Meg Theno said that the long hours in the dark don't bother her.

"This is in some ways sort of like a sabbatical," Theno said. "A five-day sabbatical where you get to just immerse yourself in great stories and great pictures, and it's a pretty special thing to be a judge."

Judge Kim Grinfeder, like some of his other judges, has had work judged in the competition. After experiencing the process, Grinfeder said he had a new respect for the judges.

"I poured my heart and soul into that work and to have it recognized means a lot, Grinfeder said. "And I have to give that same respect to entries that are here this year and make sure I recognize excellence."

Theno said she was disappointed that more work had not been entered.

"It would seem like we would have more interest in some categories," Theno said.  "I know there is good work being done out there."

On Tuesday, judges will select winners from the following categories:

  • Best use of a photograph in newspapers.
  • Best use of a photograph in magazines.
  • Documentary project of the year award.
  • Multimedia portfolio of the year award.
  • Angus McDougall Overall Excellence in Editing award.

Live streaming video of the judging is available on the Reynolds Journalism Institute website.


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