NYC Shoot-out: Students of CMA

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Photographers given opportunity to reflect on conference attendees

By Bradley Wilson
CMR Managing Editor

I couldn’t be at the College Media Association convention in New York City this spring. It was just bad timing the week before our spring break. Yet I knew there would be an enthusiastic group of students wanting to participate in the Shoot-out. Jack Zibluk again stepped up to help with the administration.

Co-sponsored by the National Press Photographers Association

But I wanted to get a feel for what I was missing. So working with Brandon Stanton’s basic reporting concepts in Humans of New York, I tweaked the assignment to challenge the students so we could all have a little fun and learn a little more about our conference attendees as well.

Just based on the results, I’d say everyone had a little fun and learned something in the process. It was good to see that the students had time to get out of the hotel, visiting different parts of the city that never sleeps. The top entries made me feel like I was there.

But they went beyond that. The best entries also gave me some insight into the individuals who attended the convention. The write-ups didn’t take a shot-gun approach, telling me a little about a lot. They took an in-depth approach, as Stanton does, telling a lot about a tiny piece of the person’s life. If there was ever a time to exercise what a friend of mine used to say — “If you have five minutes to take a person’s photo, spend three minutes getting to know them and two minutes taking their picture. — this is it. Get to know them. Pick one interesting aspect of their life and tell me more about that.


  • First place and class favorite | Don Montrelle Green, Southern University, (Jermaine Poshee, adviser)
  • Second place | Kiarash Abhari, Missouri Western State University (James Carviou, adviser)
  • Third place | Kainan Guo, University at Buffalo (Jody Kleinberg-Biehl, adviser)
  • Honorable mention | Greg Babush, Moraine Valley Community College (Ted Powers, adviser)
  • Honorable mention | Juliana Wall, Cedar Crest College (Dannah Hartman, adviser)
  • Honorable mention | Michela West, University of Massachusetts Boston (Donna Neal, adviser)

THE ASSIGNMENT: Emulating the style of Humans of New York, your assignment is to document the visitors to New York City for the College Media Association conference. This is your chance to meet someone new. Get to know them. Tell their story in a new environment.

Go beyond the superficial.

There are three key components this adventure: getting to know someone, taking their photo and telling their story.

  1. Get to know someone new or someone from a new angle at the CMA conference (a student, an adviser or a staff member).
  2. Take a photo of them in the New York City environment, preferably not the hotel lobby. Visit the website and emulate that street photography style.
  3. Document a vignette of that person’s visit to NYC and write that up in a style similar to what Brandon might do. Put that information in the Description metadata field.

JUDGES: Amy Kilpatrick, Bonnie Dodwell, Bretton Zinger, Carole Babineaux, Cary Conover, Chuck Cook, Elena Jarvis, Ellen Banner, Eric Thomas, Hillary Hollis, Jamie Gilbert, Jim McNay, John Beale, Lauren Roberts, Leah Waters, Lois Weiss, Mark Zeltner, Matt Stamey, Michael Koretzky, Mitzi Lewis, Nils Rosdahl, Park Street, Pat Gathright, Peter Huoppi, Rich Riski, Sam Oldenburg, Sherri Taylor, Tara Haelle, Tom Hallaq