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STLPR launches Teen Photojournalist Prize 2023

High-school students from the Metro region are encouraged to apply by Mon., April 10th.

St. Louis Public Radio kicks off the 2023 STLPR Teen Photojournalist Prize competition this week.

The contest is open to high-school aged teens in our listening area — including the St. Louis, Quincy, Illinois, and Rolla, Missouri regions — who demonstrate a talent for documenting their world through photography.

The contest is now in its third year. In the 2022 contest, students submitted 202 entries from 48 schools across the region.

“St. Louis Public Radio had an incredible breadth of work submitted in last year's contest, including a mix of quintessential moments from the high school experience, stellar portraits, and storytelling sports images,” said Brian Munoz, STLPR photojournalist and multimedia reporter. “We look forward to students submitting their best moment-driven photographs in this year's contest to give the judges, and community, a glimpse into their world.”

Recognizing emerging talent

For teens entering the competition, the STLPR Teen Photojournalist Prize is a pathway to professional recognition, publicity, encouragement, hands-on training, and resources to further their academic development and career.

“We hope this contest can inspire and give students from across our region the confidence boost to continue pursuing careers and opportunities in journalism and visual storytelling,” Munoz said. “There's a critical need for diverse voices in the field of journalism and we want this to be a pathway in helping solve a small piece of that puzzle.”

Local schools and youth organizations throughout the listening area are encouraged to participate.

“I really hope our region's educators will encourage their students to enter the contest,” Munoz said. “A student doesn't need to be enrolled in a specific class or own a fancy camera to get recognized for their hard work and talent. This is a truly educational experience that we hope can provide a platform for students to further their passion and professional aspirations in photography and journalism.”

The 2023 Contest

Students entering the contest will submit an original photograph made between Tuesday, April 5, 2022 and Monday, April 10, 2023. The deadline for submission in this year’s contest is Monday, April 10, 2023 at 5 p.m.

Two girls embrace in a crowd.
Lainey Hogg
Kirkwood High School
2022 Best In Show: As they turn to each other, Lilly Verrill and Aubrey Wooten, seniors, celebrate their last pep rally at Kirkwood High School on April 13, 2021.

Judges will review entries for a Best in Show prize and seven First Place photo prizes in the following categories:

  • General News
  • Feature
  • Sports Action
  • Sports Feature
  • Portrait
  • Landscape
  • Animals and wildlife

Entries should include a title, caption, and a personal reflection statement from the photographer. No more than 3 photo entries are allowed per person. Please see the contest home page for complete contest rules and entry applications.

Contest Prizes

Contest awards include an $800 Best in Show prize and seven $200 First Place prizes for each of the photo categories. Honorees will have an opportunity to:

  • Participate in a photography master class with STLPR photojournalist Brian Munoz
  • Get their images published on stlpr.org and on St. Louis Public Radio’s social media channels
  • Have their work displayed on the Public Media Commons and at a public gallery exhibition at UMSL at Grand Center
  • Grand Prize and category winners will receive a framed print of their winning photograph

Winning images and their creators will be honored at the opening night of the 2023 STLPR Teen Photojournalist Prize gallery exhibit at St. Louis Public Radio on Wednesday, May 17 at 7 p.m.

The Judges

This year’s entries will be judged by a panel of award-winning local photojournalists and visual storytellers, including but not limited to:

  • Robert Cohen, award-winning staff photojournalist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and a member of the Scripps-Howard Editorial Hall of Fame. His work in Ferguson following the police shooting death of Michael Brown contributed to the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography. He was also a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for his work documenting the plight of homeless families living in suburban motels during the recession. 
  • Neeta Satam, freelance photojournalist, Associate Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, and National Geographic Explorer based in St. Louis and Mumbai, India. Her work explores the themes of cultural assimilation, the human condition, and the environment.
  • Brian Munoz, staff photojournalist and multimedia reporter at St. Louis Public Radio. Munoz has previously reported on topics such as national politics, sports, education, immigration and rural issues, across the country. His work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, USA TODAY, and The Atlantic.
  • Brian Heffernan, interim executive editor and digital/special projects editor at St. Louis Public Radio. Heffernan has served as reporter and photojournalist for publications including Al Jazeera America, BBC, St. Louis Magazine, Riverfront Times, San Francisco magazine, and the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette newspapers in South Carolina.

For a look at last year’s winners or for more information on the contest, visit stlpr.org/prize.

As the Communications Specialist for St. Louis Public Radio, Fontella gets to showcase the award-winning local reporting, original programming and community engagement that make STLPR a beloved regional institution.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.