From the contest coordinator’s notebook: change, evolution the constant in student photojournalism
By Bradley Wilson
CMR Managing Editor
Twice a year, photojournalists come to the College Media Association’s national conventions to share ideas, to meet other college photojournalists and to visit another part of the country. And twice a year about 60 of them choose to learn by doing, participating in the CMA Shoot-Out, an on-site photo competition and critique, an event that has helped students as they begin their work as visual communicators.
Mark Watkins, a participant when he was a student at Georgia College and State University said, “Winning ‘Class Favorite’ at the Shoot-out in Chicago in 2012 was the moment I decided to pursue photography as a career. It was a challenge, and I remember thinking not just how a photograph communicates something, but for the first time how I can communicate something through a photograph. It seems a small distinction, but I think it makes all the difference.”
When I first started helping out with the Shoot-Out, in 2004, students still used film. The contest was limited by how many rolls we could afford to develop, 30. So it didn’t take long to move to a digital paradigm. In 2005, to be precise. Kansas City. The theme for the contest was “Kansas City Portrait.” Then as now, we challenged students to “to get outside that box.”