The judging schedules are now available. We welcome and encourage visitors to sit in on the judging process.
Liz O. Baylen joined the Los Angeles Times as a staff photographer in 2007. Since arriving, she has immersed herself in multimedia projects, combining sound with imagery to give an added dimension to stories.
Most of Baylenâ€™s projects are homegrown â€“ important issues affecting the community in which she lives. With purposeful imagery and empathy, she makes the most difficult subjects visual while maintaining the dignity of the people she photographs. Although typically focused on domestic work, her assignments have taken her abroad to countries including Lebanon, West Africa, the Caucasus, Haiti and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
A native of Ohio, Baylen graduated from Ohio Universityâ€™s School of Visual Communications in 2001 and began her career at the Washington Times. During her five years there she concentrated on in-depth photo essays, specializing in covering psychological trauma. In the process, she became a leading chronicler of mental health issues. In 2005, she left Washington to pursue a freelance career in New York. Baylenâ€™s work has appeared in the New York Times, Financial Times and numerous European magazines.
Baylen was a Pulitzer finalist in 2009 for her contribution to the Los Angeles Times / ProPublica series â€œWhen Caregivers Harm,â€ a piece exposing gaps in Californiaâ€™s oversight of dangerous and incompetent nurses, which blended investigative scrutiny and multimedia storytelling to produce corrective changes. And she was also a Pulitzer finalist for her contribution to the Washington Timesâ€™ staff coverage of the D.C. sniper in 2002. Her work has been honored by the National Press Photographers Assn., Pictures of the Year International and the White House News Photographers Assn.
Patty Reksten was director of photography at The Oregonian for 12 years. She came to the newspaper in January 1998 after 14 years as a professor at the University of Montana School of Journalism. Her students placed in CPOY and the William Randolph Hearst Photojournalism Contest. She was recognized with the Robin F. Garland Award for outstanding teaching by NPPA in 1997. Before teaching Reksten worked as a reporter, photographer and editor at various newspapers.
During Rekstenâ€™s tenure, The Oregonian photographers and picture editors won numerous awards, including a Newspaper Photographer of the Year title and various picture editing awards in Pictures of the Year International (POYi). The newspaper itself was a runner up in the Best Use of Photography category. The Oregonian staff also regularly placed in national and regional SND, SPJ and ASNE competitions.
Reksten has taught at Stan Kalish Picture Editing Workshop, the Missouri Photo Workshop and the Mountain Workshops and has twice served as a judge for POYi.
She is now a member of the Board of Directors of the Northwest Center for Photography, a new organization that has recently opened the I Witness gallery.
â€œIf you learn to shoot with your heart, youâ€™ll move peopleâ€™s souls,â€ a good friend once told Eric. He thinks about that statement frequently as he works as a photo and video journalist for the Detroit Free Press.
A 1993 graduate of the University of Missouri, Eric worked for The State Newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina until 1999 when he joined the staff at the Detroit Free Press, the hometown paper he grew up reading and dreamed of working at.
Eric has covered Presidential campaigns, intifadas in Israel/Palestine and spent 5 months covering the war in Iraq. He has also covered several Super Bowls, World Series and NBA Finals and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In 2008, in addition to doing stills, Eric started shooting video features and projects for the Free Press and the CBS-Detroit morning show. Heâ€™s been recognized for his video story telling with a national Webby Award, Michigan Emmys as well as numerous state and national awards for his photojournalism.
Eric enjoys teaching at workshops, loving to mentor and teach others who are interested in this great profession.
Seals met his wife in the newsroom of the Maneater, the University of Missouri campus newspaper, they have two children, aged 11 and 6.
Joe Weiss has worked as a photojournalist, multimedia reporter, designer, programmer, producer and editor in print and online media since 1996. He is currently an independent interactive producer and the developer of Soundslides, a multimedia authoring application for journalists. Previously he was an interactive producer at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., the Director of Photography at The Herald-Sun in Durham, N.C., and worked for MSNBC.com as a multimedia producer in Redmond, Wash.
His multimedia reports have garnered national and international recognition including an Online Journalism Award from the Online News Association, multiple POYi and NPPA BOP multimedia awards, and two Digital Edge awards from the NAA. His work has also received a Gold medal in the Society for News Design's Interactive Design competition.
For his development of Soundslides, he was awarded the J. Winton Lemen Award from the National Press Photographers Association.
Weiss frequently speaks at seminars and workshops concerning the integration of photojournalism, audio reportage and multimedia technology.
He has served as a judge for numerous competitions including Pictures of the Year International, Society for News Design's Interactive Design Awards and the Online News Association's Online Journalism Awards.
Melissa Wiley is Deputy Editor for E-Publishing at National Geographic, headquartered in Washington, D.C. In this newly created position, she is helping direct the editorial efforts to extend NGâ€™s print publications into mobile formats. Prior to this, Melissa was Director of Photography and Video for nationalgeographic.com. During her time at National Geographic, she has helped her team win numerous Webby, POYi, and Ellie awards. Melissaâ€™s career also includes working as an Interactive Producer for Discovery Communications and the Digital Imaging Manager for U.S. News & World Report. Melissa holds a BFA in Photography from Syracuse University.
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