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St. Louis Public Radio 2024 Teen Photojournalist Prize

The STLPR Teen Photojournalist Prize has stopped accepting entries for 2024. Winners will be announced on Thursday, April 18, 2024.

The St. Louis Public Radio Teen Photojournalist Prize provides professional recognition, publicity, encouragement, hands-on training, and resources to area high school students who demonstrate a talent for documenting their world through photography.

The competition is open each spring to teens in Quincy, Ill., St. Louis, and Rolla, Missouri. Local schools and youth organizations throughout our listening area are encouraged to participate.

Sponsored by


Best in Show — $800 Visa gift card

First Place Categories — $200 Visa gift card each

All contest winners receive:

  • Master class with STLPR photojournalist Brian Munoz (as space allows)
  • Publication on stlpr.org and on STLPR social media
  • Display on Public Media Commons big screen
  • Exhibition at UMSL at Grand Center
  • A framed print of their winning photograph

The Contest

  • Students will submit original photographs made between Tuesday, April 11, 2023 and Monday, April 8, 2024.
  • Entries should have a title, caption and personal reflection as outlined on the entry form.
  • Deadline: Monday, April 11, 2024 at 12:00 p.m. (noon)
  • No more than 3 photo entries per person.
  • Entries will be judged by a panel of award-winning local photojournalists and visual storytellers
  • Winners will be honored at the opening night of the gallery exhibit at St. Louis Public Radio on Tuesday, May 14 at 7 p.m.
  • See the full contest rules

Contest Categories

Judges will review entries for the following categories:

  • General News

    An issue-based or general news photograph. If you’re a photographer for your school publication — you can include photos created for student media in this category.

  • Feature

    A photograph that captures the human interest of daily life.

  • Sports Action

    A photograph that captures the spirit of a sports competition — individual or a team — through peak action.

  • Sports Feature

    A photograph that captures peak emotion by an individual, or team, through game reactions or emotions related to sport.

  • Portrait

    A photograph that captures a unique aspect of a person’s character or personality. You are able to pose or direct your subject in this category.

  • Landscape

    A photograph that captures the spirit of a natural environment but could also focus on human-made features or disturbances of landscapes.

  • Animals and Wildlife

    A photograph showing the beauty, detail and character of an animal or other wildlife. Please do not put yourself in danger while capturing these images.

Students can view excellent examples of these categories on the National Press Photographers Association contest page.

Contest Resources

Teachers and youth organizations can download these digital assets for handout and display:

Quincy area flyer

Rolla area flyer

St. Louis area flyer

So, what separates photojournalism from simply taking pictures?

Photojournalists can tell a story or make a statement through a single image. The images they capture have the power to transport viewers into a moment in time and show insight on a broader subject.

These images celebrate times of joy, capture times of anguish and find the beauty in everyday life. They also allow someone at home to not only know what is happening elsewhere but see it, too. Photojournalism requires patience, creativity and most importantly, curiosity.

2023 Prize Winners

2023 Teen Photojournalist Prize Best in Show

Gemma Speichinger / Marquette High School

Marquette High School Football Coach Michael Stewart leads the team in a victory cheer on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, after a 42-14 win over the Seckman Jaguars during a MSHSAA Class 6 District 1 football semifinal at the school in Chesterfield, Mo.

Senior Noah Schell playing in a concert. He is seen past another student holding a violin.

Best General News

Dana Zafarani / Parkway West High

Noah Schell, a Parkway West High School senior, focuses on the notes on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, during the school orchestra’s annual winter concert at Parkway West High School in Ballwin, Mo. Schell learned to play at age 8 from Mr. Wheeler, his elementary orchestra teacher.

A woman walks through the park. The lighting of the evening causes the rain to glow yellow

Best Landscape

Matthew Gilliard / Hazelwood West High School

My mom walks across Forest Park in the rain on Saturday, August 20, 2022, in St. Louis.

Best Feature

Chase Golem / Edwardsville High School

Special Education teacher Kayla Magruder endures a bucket of ice water dumped by her student sophomore Taleyia Grayer on Friday, March 10, 2023, at Edwardsville High School in Edwardsville, Ill. More than a hundred EHS students gathered outside to see their favorite teachers shiver as part of the Polar Plunge, a fundraiser that raises money for the Illinois Special Olympics. Magruder raised $200 out of the school's $3,982.

Best Portrait

Andrew Poertner / Francis Howell North High School

Fort Zumwalt North Senior Frank Marchesi stands next to his dog on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in front of his family’s property in St. Paul, Mo. Marchesi was diagnosed with Giant Cell Myocarditis on March 29 and had to receive a life saving heart transplant later that year, and then decided to take senior pictures to remember the tough year he had. He also wanted to celebrate being happy and healthy upon graduation.

Best Animal and Wildlife

Madeline Awad / Ladue Horton Watkins High School

White-Spotted Jellyfish (phyllorhiza punctata) are suspended in the water on Sunday, April 10, 2022, at the Johnny Morris' Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium in Springfield, Mo.

Best Sports Feature

Wendy Stephens / Clayton High School

The PASS Junior Vikings coach celebrates with one of his players on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, after a touchdown in St. Louis.

Best Sports Action

McKenzie Brown / Lindbergh High School

Lindbergh High School junior goalkeeper Madison Mertzlufft dives to make a save on Friday, April 7, 2023, during the first half of a varsity girl’s soccer match against Cor Jesu Academy at Lindbergh High School in Sappington, Mo.

2024 Contest Rules

Please review all of the contest rules before submitting your entries!

  1. No entry fee is required and all rights to images remain the property of the photographer. See the copyrights and permissions disclosure for full details.
  2. By submitting to the Contest, the entrant agrees to abide by all Contest rules.
  3. All entries must be original works by the entrant. Unauthorized use of another’s image will result in disqualification.
  4. To be eligible, entries must have been made by the entrant between Tuesday, April 11, 2023 and Monday, April 8, 2024.
  5. The contest is open to local high school or home-schooled students.
  6. Each entry must be submitted with an entry form detailing the title, caption and a personal reflection; no more than three entries per participant are allowed.
  7. Judging: Entries will be blindly judged by a panel of professional photojournalists and media professionals, taking into account: the moment captured, image composition (lighting/color/layering/focus), the creativity behind the image, the caption, and the student reflection provided. The decisions of the judges are entirely their own and are final and binding.
  8. Photo Editing: Color images should replicate what the human eye experiences. Because this contest focuses on photojournalism, artistic manipulations are not allowed.

    Examples of prohibited techniques include the exaggerated use of color saturation, contrast, and burning and dodging methods. You may not remove or add objects or subjects to a photo in part or whole. You may not use software capture filters. Please do not add masks, borders, backgrounds, text or other effects to your entry.

    Allowed editing includes minor cropping, exposure correction, white balance, color toning, sharpening and contrast adjustments. Changing a color photo to completely black and white is allowed — but not spot coloring.

  9. Captions: Captions, or cutlines, are the words that go along with an image to explain what’s happening in the photograph to provide more context. Without a caption, the viewer might get the wrong information or the wrong impression about what’s going on in the photo.

    Captions must have all the necessary information included in the first sentence of the photograph — who/what/when/where/why. Make sure to include the names of identifiable people in your photograph. Photo captions should try to follow Associated Press style.

    An example: John Smith, a 14-year-old student from Maryville, Ill, plays the saxophone on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024 at Woodland Park in Collinsville, Ill. Smith learned to play saxophone at age 10 from his grandfather James, a local jazz legend who has performed around the world.

  10. Prizes will be awarded as follows: Best in Show: $800; Best in Category for General News, Feature, Sports Action, Sports Feature, Portrait, Landscape; and Animals and Wildlife Category: $200 each
  11. Winners will be notified of the results by phone and/or text message.
  12. Applicants should submit their applications electronically at stlpr.org/prize.

Copyrights and Permissions Disclosure

By submitting photos to the St. Louis Public Radio Photojournalism Contest, the entrant grants to The Curators of the University of Missouri and St. Louis Public Radio license -- with respect to photographs of which the entrant is the sole creator and copyright owner and/or comments, titles, captions, or reflections made by the entrant -- to use, reuse and publish the same, in whole or in part, in any and all media, now or hereafter, for the purpose of the Photojournalism Prize contest and promotions specific to the contest; and if appropriate, to use my name and pertinent education and/or biographical facts in relation to the contest entry.

The entrant agrees to defend, indemnify, save harmless, and fully and forever release The Curators of the University of Missouri, their Officers, Agents, Employees, and Volunteers, from any and all liability, claims and demands arising out of or in connection with the use of photographs and/or comments, titles, captions, or reflections including without limitation any and all claims for copyright infringement, libel, or invasion of privacy.

The entrant certifies that any and all Models and subjects were treated with respect and dignity and that no people, wildlife or the environment were harmed by the creation of my photograph(s). The entrant also certifies that any and all models and subjects who are identifiable in the photographs gave me consent to use their likeness. In order to receive cash prizes, winners will be required to provide personal information for tax purposes to comply with university policy.

Enter Now
The contest submission period is closed. Winners will be announced Thursday, April 18, 2024.

For questions regarding the contest rules, submit an email to: hello@stlpr.org.

The Judges

  • Brian Munoz

    Brian Munoz

    Brian Munoz is a staff photojournalist and multimedia reporter at St. Louis Public Radio. He most recently worked at USA TODAY as a visual storyteller and editor focusing on politics and sports, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. His work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and The Atlantic. Munoz's journalism — both written and visual — has been recognized by state and national organizations, earning him the designation as a 2019 ProPublica Emerging Reporter.

  • Cristina Fletes-Mach

    Cristina Fletes-Mach

    Cristina is the Visual Communications Specialist at St. Louis Public Radio. She previously worked as a videographer for Saint Louis University and St. Louis County and is a former Staff Photographer / Videographer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was part of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography awarded to the photography staff at the Post-Dispatch for their coverage of the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

  • Brian Heffernan

    Brian Heffernan

    Brian Heffernan is the digital editor and special projects editor at St. Louis Public Radio. Before coming to the newsroom in April 2018, Brian worked as a reporter and photojournalist for a variety of 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.

  • Eric Lee

    Eric Lee

    Eric Lee is currently a staff photojournalist at St. Louis Public Radio. His personal projects center around identity, community, and resilience. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Bloomberg, National Geographic, New York Magazine, NPR, Washington Post, and other publications. He is the photographer for the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Investigations winning series, "Capital Assets" by the Wall Street Journal.

    A native New Yorker, Eric earned his B.A. in film studies at Gettysburg College in 2015 and M.A. in new media photojournalism at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at George Washington University in 2020.

    In his free time, Eric enjoys cooking, taking his dog on long walks, and watching films.

  • Whitney Curtis

    Whitney Curtis

    Whitney Curtis is a senior photographer & videographer at Washington University in St. Louis. Before joining WashU, her clients as an independent photojournalist included The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, ProPublica and Politico. Additionally, she worked as a staff photographer at newspapers in the Midwest and Mountain West. Her work has appeared in group exhibitions at the United Nations Visitor Centre, the International Criminal Court in The Hague and the Monroe Gallery of Photography.