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Two students of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication swept the first student awards given by the National Press Photographers Association.
Senior Elias Johnson finished first in the in-depth category and former student Ian Schwartz scored first and second in the weekly assignments category. The two categories are the first student awards in the association’s annual Best of Photojournalism competition.
Johnson’s winning story profiled Anthony Robles of Mesa, a one-legged wrestler who is trying out for the wrestling team at Arizona State University.
Schwartz’s stories focused on proposed development at Papago Park in east Phoenix and on last year’s massive immigration reform march in downtown Phoenix. Schwartz, who also was named the nation’s best television reporter for 2006 by the Broadcast Education Association, graduated from ASU in May 2006 and works as a reporter at WHOI-TV (ABC) in Peoria, Ill.
Commenting on the Papago Park story, the judges wrote that Schwartz “figured out that the way to make this story interesting was to show how people enjoy the park. We’ve seen professionals go out and shoot this assignment and come back with a bunch of real estate shots and shots of signs ... but no people. Seeing people use the park makes this story work.”
Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan applauded the students. “Elias and Ian found ways to capture compelling video of emotion and conflict to tell their stories,” he said.
The National Press Photographers Association is dedicated to the advancement of photojournalism and high ethical standards of professional performance. NPPA members include still and television photographers, editors, students and representatives of businesses that serve the photojournalism industry.