These industry professionals gathered at Ohio University to judge the 2017 Best of Photojournalism competition, recognizing the best work done by visual journalists in 2016.

The two words you hear Kainaz Amaria use over and over again: story and audience. She’s a visual storyteller who pushes her teams and their collaborators to put the user first and craft experiences that matter. Whether she’s doing that as a photographer, a Visuals Editor at NPR, or in her current gig as Storytelling Design Director at Vox Media, her passion for meaningful storytelling is infectious. Every day, she works at that mission with designers, engineers and journalists across Vox Media’s eight editorial brands so that, together, they can create stories that add purpose and value to readers’ lives. Oh, and here’s the boring stuff; before coming to Vox Media, Kainaz was Supervising Editor on NPR’s Visuals team. She was part of an award-winning team of journalists whose web documentary, “Planet Money Makes A T-shirt,” was recognized for digital innovation by numerous organizations, including the News & Documentary Emmys, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award, the Scripps Howard Foundation and Pictures of the Year International. Before all the desk jobs she was a freelance photojournalist based in Mumbai, India. Her clients included The New York Times, Vogue India and Reuters. Prior to that, she worked for the St. Petersburg Times in Florida. In 2010 she was a Fulbright Scholar and completed a short film on the Parsi Zoroastrian community in Mumbai.

Regina H. Boone is a Richmond, Va. native who has traveled around the globe living, learning, working, and making tons of friends along the way. With her family as a young girl she moved from Richmond to Baltimore where she graduated from high school. Next stop was Atlanta where she attended Spelman College earning a B.A. in Political Science.  After four years in the Deep South she packed her bags, obtained her first passport to go teach English to Japanese junior high school students in the countryside of Osaka where she learned to love the country of her paternal grandfather. Following three years in Japan she hit the road again for a nearly one year solo trip home to the United States with stops in Indonesia, Thailand, India, Nepal, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Egypt and Holland. Once back on American soil, it was time to focus on a career that began as a photojournalist working at the Richmond Free Press, an award-winning weekly newspaper founded by her father and mother in 1992. She attended Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication’s master’s program and then went on to the Detroit Free Press for almost fourteen years until just last December when she decided to volunteer for a lay-off and returned home with her four-year-old miniature schnauzer Jake and 11-year-old cat Barack packed into her car bound for home. She has returned to her family’s newspaper after a 17-year hiatus and is back on the streets shooting, reacquainting herself with a quirkier Richmond and working on personal projects.

Anne Farrar is the Director of Photography for National Geographic Traveler magazine. Previously she was a senior picture editor with The Washington Post overseeing the features sections and Sunday 1A, a photo editor with The Dallas Morning News, Minneapolis Star-Tribune and a designer at various newspapers. With her colleagues, she has won awards in POYi, SND, NPPA, Communication Arts and the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography with the staff of The Dallas Morning News.

Rob Finch is a visual storyteller based in Portland, Oregon. As Creative Director at Blue Chalk Media, Rob has directed, shot and edited several short films in both the documentary and advertising worlds. Rob was a director of photography on the 7-part landmark TV series “Belief” for OWN. He also worked on the Emmy Award-winning HBO documentary “One Last Hug.” Finch was part of a team from The Oregonian that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007. He has also won the Online Journalism Award for Best Video Presentation and has been a two-time Newspaper Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year contest. He was selected to exhibit his work in Perpignan, France at the Visa pour l’Image Festival and was a member of the World Press Masterclass.

Kevin Martin is an independent photo editor located in Madison, Wisconsin. Martin has served as a photo editor for The Associated Press, Knoxville News Sentinel, San Antonio Express-News, The Advocate in Baton Rouge, La., and North State Journal. Martin is a former director of The Kalish visual editing workshop. He has twice served as a juror for the Pulitzer Prize Breaking News Photography and News Feature Photography categories. Martin is also a former president of the Associated Press Photo Managers and a former Executive Committee member of NPPA. He holds a master’s degree in photography from The School of Visual Communication at Ohio University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Kentucky University.

Pat McDonogh has been a working photojournalist since 1979. Over the years Pat has won numerous awards and worked for many publications including, Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone and Smithsonian magazines. Pat has published several books of his work including Hoosiers and Louisville and Its Environs. Pat currently is Senior Photographer at the Courier-Journal after previously serving as Assistant Photo Director and staff photographer.  Pat recently was curator for the “100 Great Courier-Journal Photo Show at the Frazier Museum, in Louisville. Pat is married and the father of two adopted daughters from China.

After attending the University of Missouri for a bachelors degree, Annie O’Neill,  received a fiery baptism into professional journalism at The Detroit News, where she worked for two years before joining the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as a staff photographer in 1995.  Her accomplishments in documenting news and other human activity have been recognized by the National Press Photographers Association, Golden Quills, and Society of Newspaper Design/ She’s thrice been named Pittsburgh Photographer of the year and twice been named Pennsylvania Photographer of the year.  She is the author of Unquiet Ruin - a Photographic Excavation and is working on her second book, The Gift of Work. She left the world of newspapers to be an independent photographer in 2008.   Her clients include: The Heinz Endowments, Cleveland Clinic, LISC, University of Pittsburgh, Landesberg Design, Community College of Allegheny County, Chatham University, The Heinz History Center, Documentary Works, and UMPC.

Akili Ramsess became the Executive Director of NPPA in April 2016. After serving as Director of Photography with the Orlando Sentinel from 2007 through 2011, Akili returned to her family home in the Atlanta area where she continued as an independent photographer, contract photo editor and multimedia producer. Prior to the Sentinel, Akili worked eight years with the San Jose Mercury News in a variety photo editing roles before eventually becoming their Deputy Director of Photography/Print. During that period she won numerous picture editing and multimedia awards with the Society for News Design (SND), Pictures of the Year International (POYi) and National Press Photographer’s Association’s Best of Photography (BOP) competitions. In the years prior to her work with the Mercury News, Akili was the Features Photo Editor with the Atlanta Journal & Constitution, which included coverage of the 1996 Olympics. She was the Photo Assignment Editor then interim Director of Photography for the Valley Edition of the Los Angeles Times, where she was a part of the staff that won the Pulitzer for their coverage of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Her start as a photo editor began with the Associated Press Los Angeles bureau. Akili also shares a 1993 Pulitzer in Feature Photography for their portfolio of the 1992 presidential campaign. Akili began her photojournalism career as a staff photographer with the now defunct Los Angeles Herald Examiner and as a freelance photographer in the Los Angeles area covering news, entertainment and sports for local newspapers, wire services and national magazines. Akili has a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from California State University, Long Beach. She is on the advisory board and former chair of National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Visual Task Force and served as Photo Team Leader for the NABJ’s Multimedia Student Project for the last decade.

Born in New York City and raised in its metropolitan area, Stephan Savoia is a graduate of the State University of New York College at Potsdam, where he majored in Sociology/Social Theory and minored in Fine Art/Photography. Savoia also holds a Masters of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, where he studied under renowned editor and photojournalist Angus McDougall. Upon completion of graduate school Savoia worked as a newspaper staff photojournalist in Monroe, Louisiana and Baton Rouge, Louisiana respectively.

Joining the Associated Press as a staff photojournalist in November 1990, Savoia worked as the Associated Press’ National Photographer based in the northeast from 2000 to 2005. He is a founding member of the Associated Press’ popular “Diverse Visions/Diverse Voices” multicultural journalism workshop, participating in all twelve annual programs before its 2007 cancellation. Savoia, who was selected as one of the 150 most “outstanding alumni in the arts” by the State University of New York in 1994, has displayed his work in a 1975 one-man show titled “First Photographs” and a 1988 group retrospective show titled “Potsdam Revisited.” A collection of his work resides in the permanent collection of the State University of New York. In 2002 Savoia was selected as the year’s distinguished alumni speaker at SUNY Potsdam and delivered the college’s 2005 commencement address. A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Savoia was the lead photographer on the Associated Press’ photo team that won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. He also shared in the AP’s 1999 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. Conferred honoris causa in May 2005, Savoia is the recipient of a Doctorate of Fine Arts from the State University of New York.

Jan Sonnenmair is the 2016-17 Knight Fellow in the Ohio University School of Visual Communication. Sonnenmair is a documentary photographer that has worked at the Dallas Morning News and has produced freelance work for TIME, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated. While at the Dallas Morning News she covered events such as the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, the Philippine Revolution, the US Open, and other national politics and sports stories. Sonnenmair also works as a consultant and project producer and hopes to draw from her personal experiences when teaching.

Juan Thomassie is a freelance data visualization developer whose work combines design, data and front-end development to produce interactive information graphics. He is a visual journalist specializing in immersive, interactive storytelling. Juan’s work grew from 30 years of experience producing information graphics for newspapers, animated graphics for television, interactive graphics for news websites, and developing data visualization software for tech startups. He has deep experience with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and with many JavaScript libraries for producing custom charts, maps, and interactive apps -- like d3, Mapbox, Leaflet, jQuery and many others.
 Juan was most recently a software developer for Lucid in New Orleans and Elastic in Mountain View, California. He was a data visualization developer for Gannett Digital and USA Today in Virginia, an animator for Knight-Ridder Tribune in Washington, D.C., an art director and artist for the Los Angeles Times, and an artist for the Times-Picayune and the State-Times in Louisiana. Juan was a visiting faculty member at The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida from 1989 to 2010, and he recently taught at the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For a look at some of his work, go to