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St. Louis Public Radio 2023 Teen Photojournalist Prize
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The St. Louis Public Radio Teen Photojournalist Prize provides professional recognition, publicity, encouragement, educational hands-on training, and resources to St. Louis, Quincy (IL), and Rolla (MO)-area high school students who demonstrate a talent for documenting their world through photography. It also showcases STLPR as a source for high-quality, award-winning photojournalism.

By working with schools and youth organizations throughout our listening area to encourage participation in the contest, STLPR provides opportunities for students who might not otherwise be able to gain recognition for their talent and hard work in this field — all while reinforcing media literacy and other educational journalism concepts.

In 2022, after a hiatus due to the pandemic, the STLPR Photojournalist Prize was awarded to Laney Hogg, a student at Kirkwood High School. The winning photograph (see below) was selected from 202 submissions (61 more entries than the previous contest).

The 2023 contest will be held in spring, with publicity beginning in February — on air, online, and in the community. The entries will be judged by a panel of award-winning local photojournalists and visual storytellers in April, with a gallery exhibit opening night event at St. Louis Public Radio on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. The exhibit will remain up and open to the public through the summer.

Outreach for the program consists of a press release to media outlets; in-person classroom visits by our photojournalist to talk about photojournalism and the contest; calls and emails to schools, teachers, and youth organizations; digital and printed fliers; and on-air announcements, website and social media posts, and emails to STLPR members and listeners.


Teens can submit photos in one or more of the following categories:

  • General News
  • Feature
  • Sports Action
  • Sports Feature
  • Portrait
  • Landscape
  • Animals and Wildlife


Once again a Best in Show prize will be awarded along with a First Place prize in each category. Prize winners will receive:

  • Master class with STLPR Photojournalist Brian Munoz
  • Publication on stlpr.org
  • Visa Gift Card: $800 for best in show, $200 for best in category
  • Framed copy of winning photograph for student
  • Temporary display on Public Media Commons big screen
  • Post on STLPR’s social media channels linking back to student accounts if so desired
  • Gallery exhibit at UMSL at Grand Center

Photojournalist Prize 2022 Winners

Two girls embrace in a crowd.

Best in Show

Lainey Hogg / Kirkwood High School

As they turn to each other, Lilly Verrill and Aubrey Wooten, seniors, celebrate their last pep rally at Kirkwood High School on April 13, 2021.

Category Winners

Best Landscape

Ava Carson / Nerinx Hall High School

A murder of crows soar over the "Hunters Moon" on October 19th, 2021 making their way across the St. Louis skyline.

Best Sports Action

Kyle Button / Francis Howell North High School

Freshman Kaylee Lohnes slides into home plate on Sept. 29, 2021. Lohnes, of Francis Howell North HS, scored the first of the seven runs the Knights plated against Ritenour HS. The FHN Knights defeated Ritenour 7-2. Lohnes went 1-3 at the plate, with a single and a run scored. She hit for a .354 batting average on the season, the second-highest on the team.

Best Portrait

Lily Kleinhenz / Clayton High School

Jean Haldiman, a senior at Clayton High School in her racing helmet. Shortly after getting her permit, she took an interest in competitive race car driving. In the male dominant sport, Jean is not only the youngest but also usually the only female competing.

Graduates on the Kirkwood High School field

Best Pandemic Life

Lainey Hogg / Kirkwood High School

With their arms around each other, Ceci Escudero and Phebe Hammond, seniors, sing the alma mater, Hail Kirkwood, at graduation on May 7, 2021.

Best Feature

Kate Viglione / Lafayette High School

Drawn in by the glow of the flame, Rylan Retych watches as the bubbles in his hands catch ablaze on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. Students in Honors Chemistry had the opportunity to scoop up methane bubbles and watch the phenomenon of the flame light up in their hands. “I was a little worried, but once it happened, it was absolutely beautiful. I can’t believe I can say I’ve held fire,” Retych said.

Best Sports Feature

Lainey Hogg / Kirkwood High School

Ringing the Frisco Bell, Brady Nauman, senior, and his teammates celebrate a 65-0 win against Webster at the annual Turkey Day game Nov. 25, 2021.

Best Portrait

Luke Sewell / Ladue Horton Watkins High School

Teenager Nate Gibson carefully holds an old studio light in preparation for portraits in St. Louis, Missouri on Monday, June 21, 2021. He stops directly under a skylight where a beam of sun casts across his face.

Contest Rules

Entry Notice

Please ensure you read all of the contest rules before submitting. Entries should have a title, caption and personal reflection as outlined in the entry form.

The contestant certifies that he/she/they are the sole creator and copyright owner of submitted photographs. No more than 3 photo entries per person. You must complete the form separately for each entry.

Who may enter the contest?

Area high school-aged students are eligible to enter.

Photo Editing

Color images should replicate what the human eye experiences. Because this contest focuses on photojournalism, artistic manipulations are not allowed.

Examples of prohibited techniques include the exaggerated use of color saturation, contrast, burning and dodging methods. You may not remove or add objects or subjects to a photo in part or whole. You may not use software capture filters. Please do not add masks, borders, backgrounds, text or other effects to your entry.

Allowed editing includes minor cropping, exposure correction, white balance, color toning, sharpening and contrast adjustments. Changing a color photo to black and white is allowed.


Captions, or cutlines, are the words that go along with an image to explain what’s happening in the photograph and provides more context. Without a caption, the viewer might get the wrong information or the wrong impression about what’s going on in the photo.

Captions must have all the necessary information included in the first sentence of the photograph — who/what/when/where/why. Make sure to include the names of identifiable people in your photograph. Photo captions should try to follow Associated Press style.

An example: John Smith, a 14-year-old student from Maryville, Ill, plays the saxophone on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2022 at Woodland Park in Collinsville, Ill. Smith learned to play saxophone at age 10 from his grandfather James, a local jazz legend who has performed around the world.

Contest Categories

Entries can be submitted for the following categories:

  • General News: An issue-based or general news photograph.
  • Feature: A photograph that captures the human-interest of daily life.
  • Sports Action
  • Sports Feature
  • Portrait: A photograph that captures a unique aspect of a person’s character or personality. You are able to pose or direct your subject in this category.
  • Landscape: A photograph from our natural environment or relating to an environmental issue. This can be on a specific local issue or a broader phenomenon of this global crisis.
  • Animals and Wildlife

You can view examples of many of these photograph categories on the National Press Photographers Association contest page.

Copyrights and Permissions

By submitting photos to the St. Louis Public Radio Photojournalism Contest, the entrant grants to The Curators of the University of Missouri and St. Louis Public Radio license -- with respect to photographs of which the entrant is the sole creator and copyright owner and/or comments, titles, captions, or reflections made by the entrant -- to use, reuse and publish the same, in whole or in part, in any and all media, now or hereafter, for the purpose of the Photojournalism Prize contest and promotions specific to the contest; and if appropriate, to use my name and pertinent education and/or biographical facts in relation to the contest entry.

The entrant agrees to defend, indemnify, save harmless, and fully and forever release The Curators of the University of Missouri, their Officers, Agents, Employees, and Volunteers, from any and all liability, claims and demands arising out of or in connection with the use of photographs and/or comments, titles, captions, or reflections including without limitation any and all claims for copyright infringement, libel, or invasion of privacy.

The entrant certifies that any and all Models and subjects were treated with respect and dignity and that no people, wildlife or the environment were harmed by the creation of my photograph(s). The entrant also certifies that any and all models and subjects who are identifiable in the photographs gave me consent to use their likeness.

So, what separates photojournalism from simply taking pictures?

Photojournalists can tell a story or make a statement through a single image. The images they capture have the power to transport viewers into a moment in time and show insight on a broader subject. They celebrate times of joy, capture times of anguish and find the beauty in everyday life. These images also allow someone at home to not only know what is happening elsewhere but see it, too. Photojournalism requires patience, creativity and most importantly, curiosity.

Here are some helpful links:

Contest Judges

  • Brian Munoz Headshot

    Brian Munoz

    Brian Munoz is a staff photojournalist and multimedia reporter at St. Louis Public Radio. He most recently worked as USA TODAY as a visual storyteller and editor focusing on politics and sports, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. His work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and The Atlantic. Munoz's journalism — both written and visual — has been recognized by state and national organizations, earning him the designation as a 2019 ProPublica Emerging Reporter.

  • Brian Heffernan Headshot

    Brian Heffernan

    Brian Heffernan is the digital editor and special projects editor at St. Louis Public Radio. Before coming to the newsroom in April 2018, Brian worked as a reporter and photojournalist for a variety of publications including Al Jazeera America, BBC, St. Louis Magazine, Riverfront Times, San Francisco magazine and the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette newspapers in South Carolina.

  • Laurie Skrivan Headshot

    Laurie Skrivan

    Laurie Skrivan has been a staff photographer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch since 1997. She has covered social issues important to the community including lead poisoning, childhood obesity, the plight of Bosnian refugees, the Ferguson uprising and the struggle of families who are dealing with trauma and violence as well as sports and fashion. She was the winner of the 2017 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in domestic photography for coverage of gun violence and toxic stress and was part of the team who won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for their coverage of unrest in Ferguson.

  • Michael Thomas Headshot

    Michael Thomas

    Michael Thomas is a freelance photojournalist who is a regular contributor to Getty Images, The New York Times and The Washington Post. He has covered national events such as the unrest in Ferguson, flooding in the Midwest, and the 2016 Presidential Election. In addition, Thomas has worked with corporate clients such as Walmart, Starbucks Coffee Company and Frito Lay.