[Skip to Content]

The 2021 Best of Photojournalism:
Visual Journalism that Educates and Illuminates

For almost 75-years, the members of the National Press Photographers Association have worked tirelessly for the benefit of photojournalists by utilizing a range of advocacy and educational programs. Through our annual Best of Photojournalism competition, we proudly recognize the work of visual storytellers around the world.

Photojournalists bear witness to history on a daily basis. They stand on the sidewalks and sit in the living rooms of neighborhoods internationally with a shared mission to inform the public. Through well-researched stories and the documentation of life events, audiences rely on these journalists to ethically inform them of what is happening in their communities and to give understanding to why specific moments in time should matter to us all.

The Best of Photojournalism recognizes the ways in which this type of photography is produced and it proudly honors the journalists who do it. It also recognizes all of the steps it takes to execute compelling still and video imagery in the modern news era.

CALL FOR ENTRIES: The Best of Photojournalism competition will open for entries on Tuesday, December 22, 2020, and remain open until 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 7, 2021. (Note: The submission deadline has been extended due to ongoing national events.)

Entries for the 2021 Best of Photojournalism competition will be entered via this online portal. ALL ENTRANTS WILL BE REQUIRED TO HAVE A CONTEST ACCOUNT regardless of whether they are an NPPA member or not. If you entered in 2020, you will be able to use that account. (Your NPPA login credentials will not work on the competition submission site.)

All entries must have been made between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. Story category entries may contain images made in prior years but the majority of the work must have been made between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.

Entry is free for NPPA members in good standing and $75 for non-members. (To verify your NPPA membership, you will need to know your NPPA user ID – this is the login you use on NPPA.org.)

The NPPA has a long-standing tradition of leading the way when it comes to the ethics of our industry. All entrants will certify that the work being submitted conforms to the Code of Ethics all members ascribe to when joining.

All entries in the competition will be catalogued and permanently archived at UGA’s Special Collections Library, preserving what our industry believes is the most important work of the year.

The competition is divided into five primary divisions, each with content-driven categories. The Still Photojournalism division recognizes the work of photojournalists who tell stories either with single imagery or through the use of multiple image photo stories. The Picture Editing division recognizes the editors who hone the subject approach, sequence and help display works, while ensuring that audiences can access and process what is being shown.

The Online Video, Presentation and Innovation division recognizes individuals and teams that excel in promoting online visual journalism through web sites, galleries, multimedia presentations and other digital delivery means.

The Video Photojournalism division recognizes the work of visual journalists who work primarily in broadcast environments. The Video Editing division recognizes the unique role that editors play in the production of video narratives.

Across these five divisions, there are nearly 100 categories entrants can participate in, ranging from breaking news and sports to the unique challenges of presidential election cycles and current cultural events. The final mediums – be it print, digital or broadcast – are all recognized equally.

Judging is handled in two rounds after the closure of submissions. During the first round, more than 100 judges will work through all of the categories and perform an initial assessment – scoring each entry on a scale from one to ten. Every entry will have experts from a relevant field examine the work and the resulting scores will subsequently be averaged.

At the conclusion of the first round, separate panels of final judges, composed of varied information industry experts, will convene to discuss and rank the entries with the highest averaged scores. They will assess everything from the technical merits and aesthetics to the intended potential for impact on the local or international community.

At the end of this finalization process, the NPPA will announce what is the Best of Photojournalism – visual journalism that educates and illuminates.

The competition is supported through a partnership with the University of Georgia’s College of Journalism and Mass Communication and presented by Sony as its primary sponsor.

If you have any questions, send them to bop@nppa.org.



Dudley Brooks, Chair, Best of Photojournalism

Mark E. Johnson, University of Georgia