Month: February 2013

Pictures of the Year

I attended the judging of the 70th Annual Pictures of the Year on Tuesday, Feb. 19. It was the magazine editing division, and I went in without knowing what to expect.

I entered the dark lecture hall and saw that three judges were seated in front of a large projection screen. A moderator kept the conversation flowing while two students clicked through the entries. Each entry had multiple photos and were judged on storytelling and editing technique. The category was officially called news and issue story editing, which the judges joked was”everything” besides feature stories. As long as there was an issue or news peg, it was valid for the category.

Each judge was given a chance to “speak to” each work and explain their opinions. They narrowed the field to the top six, which all received awards of excellence. From there, they tried to narrow down a top three and later determine place.  Because the competition was so steep, the judges discussed if certain entries made the top photos stronger than others. The judges considered the effectiveness of design, headline and typography. As the judges continued discussing, they all began to agree on the top choices. The mentioned that there weren’t many breaking news pieces, but then decided that the spread on Egypt could be considered breaking news. National Geographic’s story on wild weather, a piece on Pine Ridge and wounded knee and pictures of the underground rock city of New York, along with the Egypt story were constantly being revisited.

I had no idea how many elements can be looked at when judging a photo.  I can tell when a photo is professional or good quality, but I have no idea how they decide which photos to keep and which to cut. I guess it just comes with time and more knowledge , but I’m glad I just got to enjoy the photos without the added pressure. The top six, as well as the three division winners can be seen here.

The judges looking at top four stories at POYi judging took place Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.

The judges looking at top four stories at POYi judging took place Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.


Signs displayed outside of the lecture hall where POYi judging took place Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.

Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler!

Happy Mardi Gras! To get you in the mood, play this while you’re reading.

I have to start this post with my favorite Mardi Gras quote by Chris Rose. He encapsulates the atmosphere I have such a hard time trying to explain to my friends who’ve never been to Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras has always been a family event for me. My mom, dad and I have been going to the same spot on St. Charles for years, and I love seeing new families with little kids starting the same tradition. I knew people knew about Bourbon Street, but I didn’t realize that was the only idea they had about Mardi Gras. It’s so much more than that. It’s going to parades with friends and family, but becoming friends with the people standing next to you on the parade route or in line for a bowl of red beans. It’s dancing to the wobble in the middle of the street between parades with a crowd of strangers. It’s costumes, music and kids playing catch and frisbee with old friends and new friends and just for a day friends. Mardi Gras is an atmosphere and an energy of friendliness and revelry.

“They got music always playing. Start in the daytime go all through the night.”

I saw DRUMLine Live tonight for one of my classes, and remembered how much I love marching and brass bands. I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but I didn’t know what to expect from the concert. While it had some forced dialogue, the band music was fantastic. It centered on the marching band culture of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which I know about through the battle of the bands. Every year, Grambling and Southern meet in the Superdome and perform huge marching band half time shows. The city is always packed, and it’s a huge tourist event for alums and students. While I’ve never been to the actual event, it’s too big for me to be totally oblivious.

I also grew up going to Mardi Gras parades, and marching bands are an essential part of each one.  Every local has a favorite high school band to see, and it’s always fun to have bands from out-of-town. New Orleans is such a music hub, it’s no wonder that we have good musicians teaching in high schools. The marching band sound crosses over into professional groups, like the Rebirth Brass Band. They’re often featured on HBO’s Treme, which really authenticates itself by using local actors and artists. Maybe I would have loved performance marching band music anyway, but New Orleans definitely fostered the interest and love.

The title come from “Down in New Orleans” by Dr. John from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog soundtrack.