By: Greg Mitchell
With a new president, a continuing economic crisis and a months-long heated debate over health care reform, it was sometimes easy to forget that the U.S. was still bogged down in two wars, with nearly 200,000 troops stationed ? and often under fire ? in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, in our annual photo contest, we see fewer entries every year from these war zones. But one unusual entry this year from The Denver Post stood out enough to gain the nod ? and the $1,000 award ? as the Grand Prize winner of our 10th annual photo contest. This was the first year that video/ multimedia entries were judged, and the Post’s extensive package for that category vaulted right to the top.
Despite budget cuts at most newspapers, the number and quality of entries this year remained strong. Other first-time categories: Portraits and Unpublished Photos (we did not name a winner in the new News Site section). Also for the first time this year we sponsored a People’s Choice award, and the online voting proved extremely popular. You’ll meet our winners in the following pages, with most categories representing four circulation categories, plus Honorable Mentions. They are also posted ? including all of the photos from the Multiple Image category and seven video/multimedia entries ? at our special gallery at E&P Online (see link above). There you will also find an audio interview with a member of the winning Denver Post team.
When the Post launched its print and online project on Sept. 11, 2009 (an ironic date, to be sure) ? it was once set for July 4 ? the paper described it this way at its Media Center: “This is how an American soldier is made.” It revealed: “For 27 months, Ian Fisher, his parents and friends, and the U.S. Army allowed Denver Post reporters and a photographer to watch and chronicle his recruitment, induction, training, deployment, and, finally, his return from combat.”
The story, written by Kevin Simpson with Michael Riley and Bruce Finley, was reported by Riley in Colorado and at Fort Benning, Ga., Finley at Fort Carson and in Iraq, and photographer Craig F. Walker throughout. Walker also shot tons of video footage, both in the U.S. and in Iraq. In addition, Tim Rasmussen, assistant managing editor/photography, tells E&P that Walker?s extensive written notes were ?absolutely essential? in providing details and fleshing out the multi-part print series. For
the online side, Walker, Rasmussen and Meghan Lyden, multimedia photo editor, sifted through the enormous video archive, Rasmussen notes, demanding endless hours of viewing and editing ? work that proved to be well worth the effort.