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COLUMBIA, Mo.-Winners of the 60th Annual Pictures of the Year International (POYi) Competition, one of the world's largest and most prestigious photojournalism contests, were announced by the Missouri School of Journalism.  

Judges viewed nearly 23,330 photographs, thousands of tearsheets, and more than a hundred interactive entries submitted by 1,310 newspaper, magazine, online photographers and editors. A total of 250 awards were in 44 different categories. A panel of 14 of the world's leading photographers and editors made the winning selections during 14 days of judging from Feb. 17 through March 3 on the MU campus.

Rob Finch of The Oregonian was named Newspaper Photographer of the Year (NPOY), the competition's top award in the newspaper division. Finch, winning this award for the second time (he won in the 57th competition while working at the Chicago Copley dailies) had a portfolio composed entirely of work from the U.S.  Judges commented that his images connected strongly with the human spirit of his subjects and made the pictures intimate. Jamie Francis of the St. Petersburg Times, received second place NPOY. Mona Reeder, photographer at the Dallas Morning News received third place NPOY.

Randy Olson, a freelance photographer for National was named Magazine Photographer of the Year (MPOY). Olson is only the second photographer to have won both magazine and newspaper photographer of the year honors (he was Newspaper Photographer of the Year in the 49th competition when he worked at the Pittsburgh Press.) His winning portfolio includes stories from northern Sudan, Greek and Turkish communities on the Black Sea. Christopher Anderson, a member of the photo agency, VII, received second place MPOY. John Stanmeyer, also of the photo agency VII and freelance for TIME, received third place MPOY.

John Stanmeyer of VII and Tom Stoddard of IPG in London were named dual winners of the World Understanding Award. Stanmeyer's work documented the growing AIDS epidemic in Asia and Stoddard has been working for three years on his AIDS in Africa project. The two photographers' work was distinctly different, but the judges felt compelled to recognize both. John Stanmeyer said he is very pleased both AIDS essays won. "How can one judge which essay on people dying of aids is better than other essay of people dying of AIDS? BOTH are horribly wrong and POY's respect for recognizing this issue should be hailed. By highlighting both Africa and Asia, it will assist in enlightening editors to publish more bodies of work regarding this very important social commentary that is gripping our planet." Don Bartletti of the Los Angeles Times received a World Understanding Judges Special Recognition for his "Bound to El Norte: Immigrant Stowaways on the Freight Trains of Mexico."   

Amiran White, staff photographer with The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, PA, received the Community Awareness Award for her story "Surviving Dad." Her photographs documented a father's struggle to care for his six sons in a life made difficult with ill health, little money and a maze of social services to navigate.  "It was pretty fascinating what he was trying to do," White said. "We have a lot of stories about women trying to do this and it sort of just opened up a lot of issues," White said.

The staff of Hartford Courant won the Angus McDougall Overall Excellence in Editing Award for the third year in a row. Judges sited their continued creative vision and the fact that they take non-visual stories and give them visual interest. 

The New York Times won the Best Use of Photographs by a newspaper with circulation larger than 100,000 ­ the first time this newspaper has received this award.

Chien Chi-Chang's photography in the book, "The Chain", won Best Photography Book. The book is published by Trolley. Judges' Special Recognition: "Leros," Alex Majoli, Trolley Ltd, "Wild at Heart: Man and Beast in Southern Africa," Christopher Johns, National Geographic and  "Time of Change: Bruce Davidson Civil Rights Photographs 1961-1965," Bruce Davidson, National Geographic.

  The public will choose a single Best Picture of the Year Award. Nominees will be posted online at www.msnbc.com where readers can cast their vote starting March 10. The image with the most votes by April 15 wins the award.  

The winners will be honored during the annual POYi awards ceremonies and education day, April 25 in Fisher Auditorium of Gannett Hall in the Missouri School of Journalism. The program will be open to the public. A dinner honoring Professor Emeritus Angus McDougall will be held that evening in Reynolds Alumni Center.

Judges included:  

Newspaper Division:

Ben Brink, Photographer/Photo Editor, The Oregonian
Mike Davis, Picture Editor, The White House
David Leeson, Photographer, The Dallas Morning News
Sue Morrow, AME/Visuals, St. Petersburg Times  

Magazine Division:

Jan Colbert, Professor, Missouri School of Journalism Mike Davis, Picture Editor, The White House Kathy Moran, Illustrations Editor, National Geographic Eli Reed, Photographer, Magnum  

Interactive, Best Use & Editing categories:

Loup Langton, Professor, University of Miami
Jim Dooley, Director of Photography, Newsday
Nanette Bisher, Creative Director, San Francisco Chronicle
Sherman Williams, Senior Editor/Visuals, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  

Adjunct Judges:

Barton Douglas Cromeens, Visuals Editor, Abilene Reporter-News
Sid Hastings, Picture Editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Rita Reed, Associate Professor, Missouri School of Journalism  

POYi is sponsored by the Missouri School of Journalism, with support from Corbis, National Geographic Photographic and Digital Imaging Lab, MSNBC.com, and Fuji Photo Film. The competition is one of the world's largest, oldest and most highly respected photo contests. POYi is the only competition of its kind to be judged in public before an audience of students and professionals.

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