I watched a few different categories of POYi, including “feature picture story — newspaper” and “sports multimedia story.” During the feature picture story judging, I really appreciated how the judges awarded stories that were not crazy or new subject matter. Many of the stories were things I had seen before — stories about the military, cancer, blindness, etc. I liked their discussion about the Muslims in America story, which they called a broad subject matter, but said the visuals were not broad enough. I think this is important to remember when choosing our 30-day stories, especially if someone picks a story essay.
Most of the pictures taken in that story were in Dearborn, Michigan, or in New York City, which is where a lot of Muslims live. However, this story subject is about all Muslims in America, but a Muslim’s experience in a Muslim-centric area may not be the same for all Muslims, such as one in the Midwest or on the West coast. The judges also talked a lot about access and how difficult a story may be to obtain, and how that affects the story. This may have affecting their judging.
Sports multimedia was a small category, which was nice because there was room for a lot of conversations about the pieces. The pieces that were awarded had very strong subject matter, such as the geek fight club, and the death of a teammate on a high school basketball team. The editing was all over the place. California Is A Place’s fight club piece with heavy vignettes, experimental editing, and was in black and white. The “Death in Fennville” piece was very standard — talking head interviews, broadcast-style editing, but very strong narration and pathos.
I appreciated the all-over-the-place attitude with multimedia and how no two pieces were edited similarly or had similar elements. Some relied heavily on photos, others were entirely video. One piece, which did not place but had a strong story subject, was “outted” because one of the judges said it seemed more like a music video than a multimedia piece, due to the distracting music that mostly drove the piece.
What I appreciated most about this year’s POYi judging was the “tried and true” subject matter, which makes me realize that you may be doing a story that’s been done before, but that doesn’t make it any less important.