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Two OHIO VisCom students among Hearst Journalism Award winners

Alex Koumas | Mar 27, 2012

Two OHIO VisCom students among Hearst Journalism Award winners

By Alex Koumas,

ATHENS, Ohio (March 27, 2012) – Two Ohio University Visual Communication students are among five college photographers from around the United States who have been named winners in a preliminary round of the Picture Story/Series Competition of the Hearst Journalism Awards Program, now in its 52nd year. This was the second of two photo competitions, in which 56 entries were submitted from 33 schools nationwide.

Most notably, junior Meg Roussos received first place in the initial competition and will receive a $2,600 award that will go towards her education. Roussos is currently studying photojournalism in the School of Visual Communications at Ohio University. Senior Madalyn McGarvey, also of Ohio University, won fifth place and a $1,000 award. Both are now qualified compete in the final portfolio section for the annual shoot-off.

“We have had the talent to qualify regularly for this event,” Terry Eiler, director the School of Visual Communication. “Meg’s work shows her skill and visual narrative and her ability to use light and moments to tell an excellent story. Meg will do a solid job in the competition and is a very talented senior, and her story is top-notch.”

The project that Roussos sent in to this awards program was focused on the Welch family that resides in Athens, Ohio inside of a school bus with no electricity or running water. Roussos tried to portray and capture images that conveyed the message of how content the Welch family was with the lifestyle they chose for their family of five.

“I submitted this essay because I feel their family’s story is an important one that needs to be addressed,” Roussos states. “As our society becomes more enamored with materialists things, we may forget the most important things in life are the relationships we have with other people. This family demonstrates what it means to live on the other side of the balance and value love above all else.”

Upon hearing the news of taking first place in this initial competition, Roussos was beyond thrilled gain exposure as an up-and-coming photojournalist. Although she still has another year of school to complete, the exposure that she has gained will provide her with a competitive advantage upon graduating next year.

“I feel so honored to have won this award,” Roussos states. “Winning this award to me is another opportunity to get the Welch family’s story out there for other people to be exposed to and connected with. The thing about contests is, there is so much competition and you are surrounded by so many talented people, you are never certain what the outcome will be.”

Western Kentucky also won the Intercollegiate Photojournalism Competition with the highest accumulated student points in the two photo competitions. It is followed by: Ohio University and University of Nebraska-Lincoln and seven other accredited universities. The top three winners earn $10,000, $5,000, and $2,500 respectively.

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program added photojournalism to the competition just ten years after being founded in 1970. The program includes five writing contests, three broadcast news competitions, and four multimedia competitions offering up to $500,000 in scholarships, matching grants and stipends. The top five winning schools receive matching grants.

The top five winners, along with the top five finalists in the first competition and the two overall highest scorers will then submit additional photos for the semi-final round of judging in May. Six finalists will then be chosen from that round to compete in the program’s National Photojournalism Championships in San Francisco this June, along with writing, broadcast and multimedia finalists.

Roussos isn’t sure what she’ll end up doing in her career, but knows she wants to work in photojournalism.

“As far as my career in photojournalism, it is up in the air, as it is with most people I know,” Roussos explains. “Ideally I would like to make a living producing pictures. Now, how am I going to be able to do that is whole other question in itself that I will hopefully figure out in the year before I graduate.”

To view Roussos’ work, visit her website at