In focus: Ohio University photojournalists win (more) awards

Published: April 12, 2023 Author: Ken Klein

Scripps College of Communication graduate Ken Klein shares news about Scripps students, alumni and faculty via social media. Here is Klein’s recap of recent recognition honoring visual journalists from Ohio University.

From Alaska’s Bering Sea to Ukraine, photojournalists trained at Ohio University are winning top recognition and upholding a long tradition of competitive excellence.

“Every day, Scripps alums touch how we see the world,” says Stan Alost, a professor in the School of Visual Communication (VisCom) in the Scripps College of Communication.

  • On March 22, the Overseas Press Club in New York announced that photojournalist Marcus Yam of the Los Angeles Times won its prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal Award for coverage of the first 30 days of the war in Ukraine. Yam, a 2022 Pulitzer Prize winner, honed his craft as a VisCom graduate student.
  • In mid-March, the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) gave its Outstanding Leadership Award to VisCom graduate Boyzell Hosey. Hosey joined ProPublica In 2022 as senior editor for visual storytelling, after nearly 25 years at the Tampa Bay Times (formerly St. Petersburg Times) where he coordinated on multiple Pulitzer Prize winning projects. 
  • Sue Morrow (VisCom MA ’11), editor of News Photographer Magazine, received NPPA’s President’s Award. 
  • Steven G. Smith (VisCom MA ’93) was honored for long-form documentary at NPPA’s Northern Short Course seminar March 16-18, winning “Best in Show.” Pulitzer Prize winning Smith is a visual communication professor at the University of Connecticut.
Professor Steven G. Smith and Boyzell Hosey
Professor Steven G. Smith and Boyzell Hosey

When the national photographers’ group announced its Best of Photojournalism winners in late February, the list was loaded with alumni from OHIO’s School of Visual Communication.

Loren Holmes (VisCom MA ’07) of the Anchorage Daily News won first place in NPPA’s Science Story category, documenting impacts of climate change in the Bering Sea and Bristol Bay.

A crew member is shown in a fishing boat in the Bering Sea
In the Bering Sea, Eben Brown talks with crew as they break ice from a fishing boat (January 18, 2022). Photo by Loren Holmes, Anchorage Daily News

Photojournalist Holmes was also on the team that won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service (Anchorage Daily News examination of Alaska’s criminal-justice system in partnership with ProPublica).

Forty-three visual journalists from Ohio University have won Pulitzers, says Tim Goheen, director of the School of Visual Communication. 

Other Ohio University alums honored by NPPA’s 2023 Best of Photojournalism contest include:

  • Kevin Martin (VisCom MA ’07) of Minneapolis Star Tribune was recognized in two categories: Newspaper Picture Editor of the Year and picture editing for Digital Feature Story (“Call Her Captain”); he won second place in both categories.
Call Her Captain
Page layout by Kevin Martin, Star Tribune
  • The Washington Post won first place for picture editing of its national story on homicides, with photos by Ohio University graduates Maddie McGarvey (BSVC ’12) and Dustin Franz (BSVC ’10). McGarvey and Franz are Ohio-based freelancers.
  • Anne Farrar (BSVC ’93) of National Geographic won third place for Magazine Picture Editor of the Year.
  • Sam Owens (VisCom/Anthropology ‘14) of San Antonio Express-News won third place, Cliff Odom New America Award for coverage of the victims of the mass shooting in Uvalde, TX (“21 Angels”). 
A photo of a crowd in an outdoor stadium and a young woman holding up the number 21
Photo by Sam Owens, San Antonio Express-News

Ohio, Ukraine, Boston and beyond

Jeremy Wadsworth (BSVC ’98) of The (Toledo) Blade was named 2022 Clip Photographer of the Year by the Ohio News Photographers Association, which also honored Ohio University students Akash Pamarthy, Joe Timmerman, and Joseph Scheller.

On Feb. 24, 2023 — the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — National Public Radio (NPR) marked the milestone by posting photos and text by its photojournalist Claire Harbage (VisCom MA ’13). 

The six-state Boston Press Photographers Association named Erin Clark (VisCom MA ’18) of The Boston Globe its Photographer of the Year.

The reach of the Scripps College of Communication is global

Wonsuk Choi (VisCom MA ’14) of The Korea Times continues to win awards from the Korean Press Photographers Association.

Photo credits from the train wreck in East Palestine, OH, include Dustin Franz/AFP via Getty Images. Based in Cleveland, Franz gets assignments from top news and corporate clients; he earned a master’s degree from VisCom in 2010.

Reuters’ photo gallery of the California blizzard featured the work of Los Angeles-based David Swanson (BSVC ’88): an ice-covered communications tower in San Bernardino County, a collapsed roof in Crestview, desert flora covered in snow, a coyote in snow in Phelan and more.

In the national Hearst college awards program, recent Scripps grad Laura Bilson (Photojournalism-December 2022) won Second Place in the 2022-2023 Photojournalism Picture Story/Series category. After December graduation, Bilson joined The Post & Courier in Charleston, S.C.