2018 Northern Short Course Contest Winners

Judging for the 2018 Northern Short Course in Photojournalism Contest was held on Jan. 26 and 27, 2018 at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York City. Our judges were Wajmah Yuqubi, Sandra Stevenson and Andrew Katz.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Northern Short Course 2018 Photographer of the Year
Steph Chambers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

(A selection of images from her portfolio entry)

Student Photographer of the Year
Sarah Silbiger , Boston University

Multimedia Photographer of the Year
Shelby Lum, Richmond Times-Dispatch


Feature Photo
Usually a “found” situation with strong human interest or a fresh view of the commonplace.

Pictorial Photo
A picture that exploits graphic, aesthetic qualities of the subject with an emphasis on composition.


A picture of a person that reveals the essence of the subject’s character, domestic or international.

Sports Action
A peak action picture that captures the competitive spirit – domestic or international.

Sports Feature
Sports-related feature picture, other than game action – domestic or international.

Sports Picture Story
Any domestic or international sports-oriented subject portrayed in a multiple-picture fashion. Pictures should be edited to convey a single theme.

1st, Steph Chambers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Louie, Louie! Rahger, Rahger!”

Western Pennsylvania certainly has its own dialect. But during football season, common play-call lingo echoes through the region’s steel towns and farm fields with its familiar Pittsburghese.

More than 100 high school football teams throughout the region practiced for their upcoming season, starting in the heat of July.

As far “Louie,” or left, as Washington County, to as far “Roger,” or right, as Westmoreland, and both north to Lawrence and south to Fayette, tradition is treasured here.

Between the pregame praying and the in-drill cussing are hearts that love the game and minds that drive to win.

It is Western Pennsylvania’s mentality. Football personifies its steel grit.

2nd, Matt McClain, The Washington Post.

Every year after the 4th of July, rodeos are plentiful in the western United States. Known as "Cowboy Christmas", participants can find a rodeo nearly everyday if they're willing to make the drive.

Historically, rodeos began as a test of skill among workers on cattle ranches. The roots of this tradition is still visible in one of the many weekly small town rodeos in Colorado and throughout the mountain west.

3rd, Pete Marovich, Independent

With the former steel towns surrounding Pittsburgh, Pa. still in a state of structural and economic decay, high school football in these towns is offering a metaphor for what can be achieved in the face of adversity. 

Many of these rust belt towns produce winning football programs, but two that continually rise above the competition come from the towns of Aliquippa and Clairton.

Aliquippa was home to the Jones and Laughlin steel mill that once spanned 7 miles along the Ohio River and jobs at the plant sustained a population of over 27,000 in the 1940's. The steel industry went into free fall in the late 1980s and the mill shut down for good in the early 1990s and the economy tanked. Since then the population has shrunk to around 9,200 by 2015 estimates. Few business operate along what was Aliquippa's booming shopping district.

Although there is still a US Steel coke plant operating in Clairton, the town has the same economic issues plaguing Aliquippa. When the Clairton Coke Works employed 5,000 workers and ran three shifts, Clairton had three movie theaters and four car dealerships. Now the plant employs 1,300 workers and residents must drive five miles out of town to buy food since there is no longer a grocery store in town. three-quarters of Clairton's main street is boarded up including the laundry, the grocery store, three out of five banks, the three cinemas, and most cafes and shops.

Additionally, Clairton has, according to the Allegheny County Health Department research, child asthma rates approaching 23 percent that many residents claim is due to the pollution from the coke plant.

Despite all of this, high school football thrives. 

HM, Patrick Smith, Getty Images

Johnny Quinn, 40, of Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania had no visions of becoming a professional bodybuilder as kid when his life changed dramatically 19 years ago. In 1998, while working as an auto-mechanic, a nearly fatal motorcycle accident paralyzed him resulting in no motor function below his chest. After a grueling first year, he began to get acclimated to life in a wheelchair and decided to go to the gym in hopes of counteract the muscle loss and weight gain that followed his accident. It was in an issue of ‘Flex Magazine’ where he learned about a novice wheelchair bodybuilding show.

In 2010, he became the National Physique Committee Wheelchair Champion. Winning this annual amateur contest earned him an elite classification as only 1 of 23 professional wheelchair bodybuilders on the globe through the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) - the highest level of bodybuilding in the world. As a result, Quinn has traveled worldwide to compete on the most respected stages in more than 30 events as he chases the ultimate high of appearing on the Mr. Olympia stage - the Super Bowl of bodybuilding. Surviving a horrific accident, and forming a new identity in the process, he vows to himself and others to never give up.


Spot News
A picture of an unscheduled event for which no advanced planning was possible. No photographs taken outside of the United States, Canada or Mexico are allowed.


Feature Picture Story
Any feature-oriented subject portrayed in a multiple picture fashion. Pictures should be edited to convey a single theme. This category is for stories produced in the United States, Canada or Mexico only.

1st, Matt McClain, The Washington Post

Forty years after his death, Elvis Presley is still very much alive in the hearts and minds of his many fans. Many made the pilgrimage to Memphis, TN for Elvis Week this year to mark the 40th anniversary of his death. There were also, scores of ETA's or Elvis Tribute Artists on hand to entertain the throngs of devoted fans.

2nd, Pete Marovich, Independent

In the 1980's, the steel industry that built Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and still dominated its economy, entered a death spiral. Now, thirty years later, the city has survived its deindustrialization, but the small towns, where the majority of the region's steel mills were located, are still struggling with unemployment, a decimated tax base and a crumbling infrastructure.

These towns are the suburbs that helped make Pittsburgh an industrial powerhouse. Driven by an influx of foreign-born workers at the turn of the 20th century. Immigrants helped fill jobs in the mills, where steel was forged for the aircraft and battleships that helped win two world wars. 

But if you visit these towns today, it's clear they have been largely forgotten. Once bustling shopping corridors are all but empty. The company homes where workers raised their families are showing their age, and residents still reminisce about the "good old days" before the mills shuttered.

Recently, presidential candidates campaigned in the region promising to bring the steel industry and other good jobs back to these towns. Donald Trump was elected on promises of bringing back the jobs.

The immigrants who came to these towns came with dreams of a better life. For a time it seemed as though those dreams would be found in the streets of their new home. Many of the people living there today are doubting that those dreams still exist.

3rd, Patrick Raycraft, The Hartford Courant

A hand-picked team of four men – all employees of Hoffman Auto Group in East Hartford – traveled from Connecticut to Puerto Rico on their own private relief mission in the wake of the devastation from Hurricane Maria. Elliot Matos and his crew loaded food, water, generators and clothing into a shipping container and sent the donated supplies to the island. Items packed with love and hope, in Connecticut, would be delivered to stranded residents throughout Puerto Rico by Matos and his team. Elliot Matos, at left, lifts Jimmy Velasquez off of his feet in celebration at the moment after opening the shipping container that the two realize that the team's supplies arrived intact to a warehouse in Caguas, Puerto Rico on Monday, Nov. 6. A Category 4 storm, Hurricane Maria leveled Puerto Rico on Sept. 20 leaving more than fifty people dead in its initial wake.

International Photo
A single picture captured in a country other than the United States, Canada or Mexico.

General News Photo
A picture of a scheduled event for which advanced planning was possible. No photographs taken outside of the United States, Canada or Mexico are allowed.

International Picture Story
A multiple picture package captured in a country other than the United States, Canada or Mexico. This category is for all international multiple picture entries: features, news, etc.

Judges did not award a winner in this category.

News Picture Story
Any general or spot news subject portrayed in a multiple picture fashion. This category is for stories produced in the United States, Canada or Mexico only. Pictures should be edited to convey a single theme.

1st, Ricky Carioti, The Washington Post

 Tyshaun McPhatter's father, Andrew, died on March 5, 2017 after being shot while in his car close to his house and outside Tyshaun's school. He was one of six gunshot victims that were shot on Wheeler Road in Southeast D.C. in the span of a week. Tyshaun, 8, spends time between his father's house with his grandmother and his home in Oxon Hill, Md., with his mom. 

2nd, Jabin Botsford, The Washington Post-2

Hurricane Harvey was the costliest Hurricane on record, inflicting approximately $125 billion in damage, as it ripped across the Texas coast and then sitting on and flooding the Houston metropolitan area.

3rd, David Maialetti, Philadelphia Enquirer

Ray Rivero, 33, a runner, sells “works” — clean syringes — at the foot of the Somerset El station in Kensington. He's known by locals as "Ray Rocz" the nickname given to him for a crack habit he’s had since 14 growing up this hardscrabble neighborhood.

Carol Yancer, 37,  Ray's girlfriend, prostitutes herself along Kensington Avenue when Ray is short on "get well" money. Together, they inject up to 30 bags of heroin a day.

Ray and Carol, who are homeless, met in their addiction along "The Ave" in a neighborhood whose plight has been ignored for decades as drugs have taken generations. 

Kensington is the epicenter of the opioid crisis in Philadelphia, PA. The city is on pace to top last year's totals with a projected 1,200 opioid related deaths.

Daily Multimedia, Individual
A single piece of work produced by a single journalist containing stills and/or video. Audio, text, graphics, etc. are allowed by not required. Entries in this category should have been shot in roughly a single shift. Maximum length three minutes.

1st Place, Steph Chambers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

2nd Place, Hadley Green, The Salem News

3rd Place, Shelby Lum, Richmond Times-Dispatch

HMShelby Lum, Richmond Times-Dispatch


Long Form Multimedia

Work produced by a single journalist containing stills and/or video. Audio, text, graphics, etc. are allowed but not required. Entries in this category must be produced by a single journalist but may contain multiple stories or a longer form single piece.

1st Place, Chris Janjic, Independent
My Angel Wing

2nd Place, Cameron Hart, Independent
It Takes A Village To Raise A Child

3rd Place, Andrew Russell, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Leechburg Chief Mike Diebold Is Making His Comeback
See winning video here >>

HM, Stephanie Strasburg, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Land Alcoa Damned

HM, Henrietta Biayemi, University of Maryland, College Park
Fostering New Lives


Team Multimedia
Work produced by a staff or team containing stills/and or video. Audio, text, graphics etc. are allowed but not required. Entries in this category can be produced by multiple journalists and contain multiple stories or a longer form piece. Not all team members are required to be NPPA members.

1st Place, The Washington Post, Sin Luz: Life Without Power
Team Members: Zoeann Murphy, Whitney Leaming, Arelis R. Hernández, Emily Yount, Seth Blanchard, Armand Emamdjomeh, Lauren Tierney, Jorge Ribas, Seth Blanchard, Kolin Pope, Reem Akkad, Kat Downs and Ann Gerhart
See winning video here >>

2nd Place, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Life and Death on Santron Avenue
Team Members: 
Steve Mellon, Stephanie Strasburg, Rich Lord and Zack Tanner
See winning video here >>

3rd Place, University of Maryland/College Park, Strength and Shame
Team Members: 
Henrietta Biayemi, Hannah Burton, Karen Castillo, Jojo Dominick, Danté Evans, Ryan Eskalis, Mya Green, Mackenzie Happe, Emily Kallmyer, Hannah Klarner, Josh Loock, Gabriela Martinez, Emily Olsen, Susann Shin, and Alexandra Simon.

HM, Staten Island Advance, Artie’s By The Sea

Team Members: Shira Stoll and Jan Somma-Hammel

Social Video
Short form news video produced to take advantage of various mobile/social platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, often including, but not limited to graphics, text and other visual elements, produced by an individual.

1st Place, Sarah Silbiger, Boston University
Never Too Late To Skate

2nd Place, Stephanie Strasburg, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Land Alcoa Dammed Teaser

3rd Place, Cameron Hart, Independent
Players Visit CHOP
See winning video here >>