NPPA: The Voice of Visual Journalists

Monthly News Clip Contest

The Monthly Clip Contest rules have been updated for 2011, effective immediately. Please read through the new rules before you enter. Additions have been highlighted.


The contest is open to all members in good standing whose dues are paid for the month of the competition entered. New or renewal dues must be received by the national office during the contest month. (Note: dues paid by check may take up to a week to process; please plan accordingly.)

Members submit entries online in the region in which they reside or work. Interns or students may enter in either their region of residence or in the region where they work or attend classes, but not both.


Spot News
Coverage of events for which no advance planning was possible. Examples include, but are not limited to, accidents, fires, natural disasters and spot police action. Each entry may consist of multiple images.
General News
Coverage of events for which advance planning was possible. Examples include, but are not limited to, courtroom events, funerals, news conferences, mock exercises, and campaigns. Spot news that develops during the course of planned events (such as riots at a protest) should be entered in Spot News. Each entry may consist of multiple images.
Action and feature pictures from a sporting event. Each entry may consist of multiple images.
Feature/Single Picture
Coverage of events and subjects that don't fit in Spot News, General News, Sports or Illustration. Single images only.
Feature/Multiple Pictures
Events and subjects that don't fit in Spot News, General News, Sports or Illustration. Entries in this category must include multiple images. The category is intended for more in-depth work including photo essays, picture stories, investigative/documentary work, sequences, or series.
Illustration/Controlled Portrait
Preconceived food and fashion shots, controlled portraits, or editorial concepts. Images can be digitally manipulated. Each entry may consist of multiple images.


All entries must be uploaded online by the seventh of the month following the month of publication. Uploads must be completed by midnight PST.

Example: Entries from January need to be entered by 11:59:59 PM PST on February 7.

Illustration entries will be reserved for quarterly judging. This will take place with the regular judging of March, June, September and December entries.

International members have the same uploading deadlines as U.S. entries.


Only published entries are eligible. Publication is defined as printed or electronically reproduced by a commercial enterprise. Simple database postings are not eligible. "Commercial enterprise" does not necessarily mean a for-profit endeavor, and discretion in determining the form or context of a "commercial enterprise" is granted to the regional clip chairs. Entries may be from any publication or enterprise except those produced by NPPA, including wire services. Entrants may be asked to show proof of publication on a case-by-case basis or risk disqualification of the image.

Neither the name of the photographer nor the publication or enterprise may be shown visually on the image (that is, no watermarks or badges should appear). There are no restrictions on the information in the IPTC headers.

All entries must have a caption, which may be either the original published caption, or a freshly produced caption that clearly explains what the picture shows. The caption entered on the web entry form should not include the name of the photographer or publication.

The date the image was shot must be included in the caption field.

The following information must be filled on the contest form online:

Entries may be disqualified if an entry's information is incorrect, missing or doesn't follow the NPPA Code of Ethics. Judges are instructed to not award any entries they feel have been overly "worked" in the processing of the image. This would include heavy burning which removes content from the image.

All photographers entering the contest must follow the NPPA Code of Ethics.

Image Formatting

All images must be saved as Good quality JPEG files with a maximum dimension of 2,750 pixels on a side (11" at 250 dpi). Image files should be 2 MB or less.

Entry Limitations

A maximum of nine (9) entries may be made each month in any combination of the six categories.

For multiple picture entries: A series of related pictures published in more than one month may be entered as a single entry for the month concluding the series.

A picture can only be entered once in the contest. If a picture is published at a later date, after it has already been entered in a previous month's competition, it can not be entered again.

Similarly, the same picture cannot be entered in more than one contest category for the same month, nor may a picture entered singly appear as part of a multiple-picture entry for the same month. If the same picture appears in more than one entry for the month, the regional chair may disqualify both entries.

An entry must have been shot or published in the month it is entered in the contest. For example, an image shot or published in February must be entered in February's competition. No longer will it allowed for photographers to enter pictures shot earlier in the year and then published later in the year in "year-end" galleries. This rule does not apply to multiple picture entries which may have been photographed over the course of months or even years. This rule is to try to maintain a level playing field for all entrants in order to more fully realize the spirit of the competition. If an entrant is confused or not sure of a picture's eligibility, it is suggested the photographer contact their clip chair before the contest deadline and get a clarification. It is up to the photographer to solicit the clip chair's permission beforehand or risk having their entry disqualified.)

Each entry must be the work of an individual photographer.

Regional Point System

Each photographer entering the contest receives two points per month entered. First place receives 50 points , second place receives 40 points and third place 30 points. No ties or honorable mentions will be awarded. Points count only in the region in which they are earned and cannot be transferred.

If a winning entry is disqualified for any reason, the next place will be moved up to fill the disqualified image's spot. For example: If the first place winner was disqualified, the second place winner will move to first place; the third place winner will move to second place. A fourth-place image – if the judges have selected one – will be moved into the third place position and receive 30 points. The judges will be asked to pick four winners in each category, but in the off-chance they do not, there will be no third place winner and the 30 points will be lost..

If a third place image is disqualified, no points will be awarded for third place.

If an image is disqualified, the photographer may challenge the ruling. In that case, the photographer would appeal to the national clip chair. The national clip chair and two other regional clip chairs (from a different region than the photographer who is making the appeal) will make the final decision. The photographer must supply any information they feel will help make his/her case or that the MNCC Appeals Committee asks for. A decision will be made within three weeks of the appeal.

Photographer of the Year

The photographer who accumulates the most points in each region during the calendar year will be named Regional Photographer of the Year, provided the photographer has shown versatility by winning in at least two of the six contest categories during the year. In case of a tie, both photographers will share the title.

In case of a year-end tie within a region's top 10 scores, the rank(s) beneath the tie will be skipped for the next award. For example, a two-way tie for top place leaves third place for the next highest photographer.

National Competition

Immediately after monthly regional judging, first, second and third place winners in all regions will be combined and judged to select national first, second and third places in each category. No additional points are awarded for national wins, but national winners may appear in national NPPA publications.

The photojournalist with the most points at the end of the year will receive a plaque and be named National Clip Contest Photographer of the Year.

Contest Agreements

It is understood that any copyright of an entry remains the property of the photographer or employer of the photographer.

However, all participants agree that by entering the contest, entrants give permission to NPPA for its regional and national publications to reproduce winning entries, including but not limited to, regional publications, News Photographer magazine, commercial online services and NPPA presences on the Internet. Reasonable precautions will be taken to ensure the security of electronic reproduction.

NPPA may also enter into agreements with other entities or enterprises for delivery of images entered in the contest. Release of the original photo of any image entry is solely at the discretion of the entrant and any entrant may decline to release any photo for non-NPPA publication without penalty to regional contest standing.

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