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A year of triumph, turmoil and tribulation is represented in the winning photographs of the 62nd annual Pictures of the Year International photojournalism competition just completed at the Missouri School of Journalism. From the summer Olympics to the elections in the U.S. and Afghanistan to the continuing hotspot conflicts of the world to the daily issues of contemporary culture, the year's best in pictures is truly remarkable.

Marcus Bleasdale, a freelance photographer, won first place Magazine Photographer of the Year and Michael Macor, a San Francisco Chronicle staff photographer, was named Newspaper Photographer of the Year. Seamus Murphy of London won the World Understanding Award for his 10-year essay on the changes in the Afghan political scene and the 2004 elections. Judges' Special Recognition was given to Francine Orr of the Los Angeles Times and Janet Jarman, represented by Corbis. Carolyn Drake was named the Community Awareness Award winner for her work with the New York community of The Lubavitch, an ultra-orthodox Jewish group.

Runners-up in the magazine division portfolio category were Ami Vitale, freelance, second place, and Denmark's Jan Grarup, RAPHO, third place.

Runners-up in the newspaper division portfolio category were David Joles of the Milwaukee Sentinel, second, Rick Loomis of the Los Angeles Times, third, with Awards of Excellence going to Sylwia Kapuscinski of the Detroit Free Press and Rick Gershon, freelance.

For the second year in a row, the Angus McDougall Overall Excellence in Editing Award went to The Los Angeles Times, which won numerous other awards including the top picture editing portfolio. The Palm Beach Post won the Best Use of Photography in newspapers over 100,000 circulation and the Albuquerque Tribune won the under 100,000 category. Sports Illustrated magazine won the best use of photographs in a magazine and TIME's Michelle Stephenson and MaryAnne Golon won the top magazine picture editing award.

Judges this year awarded Best Photography Book to two books -- Eugene Richards for "Fat Baby" and Tom Stoddart for "iWitness". Judges Special Recognition went to Anthony Suau's "Fear This: A Nation at War" and Mark Peterson's "Acts of Charity".

Announcement of results is the culmination of the 14 days of judging, which was held over a three-week period. More than 36,000 images considered, as well as entries in online and best use of photography in newspaper and magazines categories. Three distinct panels of judges, selected for their journalistic expertise, deliberated about 12 hours each day to reach their decisions on the 43 different categories.

This year's winning photographs, a complete winners list and judges' biographies are available at the POYi Web site -- http://www.poyi.org. A tremendous feature of this year's Web site is the addition of audio from the judges about many of the winning images. The audio offerings online will increase as the sound files are processed and made ready for listening.

The 62nd POYi Education and Awards program will be April 21 & 22, held this year at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL. For details about the program and for information regarding making reservations, please visit the Web site, http://www.poyi.org

There is one category yet to be "judged" -- the Public's Best Picture of the Year Award. First place winners from each of the individual picture categories are online at MSNBC.com -- and viewers will in the next several weeks decide by online voting which is their favorite of these pictures of the year.

For more information about POYi, please contact David Rees, director, at 573-882-3635, ReesD@missouri.edu


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