Every year I watch the video winners of the NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism awards.
Every year I go back to the same thought:
The building blocks of storytelling are absolutely important to a great piece of journalism, but they require the foundation of a story worth telling.
If we cannot get in the door with meaningful material, we cannot expect viewers to appreciate the various techniques on which we pride ourselves. Last year I profiled several BOP winners on this site and drew lessons from them. In my introduction, I wrote: “The best stories I saw last year demanded my attention, and I watched zero of them on television. I watched all of them online, via links and recommendations from colleagues and friends. I arrived upon them organically and, when I clicked on the videos, found myself instantly engrossed.”
Ditto for 2016. In general, the stories that won BOP awards — and stood out in public as well — were triumphs of content over technique.
Here are five first-place winners and the lessons I took from them: