Bennett's internship experience helps him to big honor from NPPA

Jul 11, 2017

Thumbnail for Bennett's internship experience helps him to big honor from NPPA
Thumbnail for Bennett's internship experience helps him to big honor from NPPA

By Aaron Garland

All photos by Bryan Bennett won awards in the NPPA’s Student Quarterly Clip Contest and were for the Kalamazoo Gazette/ The thumbnail image was second place in the fourth-quarter sports feature category.

An RIT photojournalism student has captured an honor from an esteemed organization.

On July 8, Bryan Bennett, who plans to graduate in December, was named the 2016 National Press Photographers Association Student Quarterly Clip Contest Photographer of the Year.

The professional judge-based competition is open to all NPPA student members. For it, entered photos are awarded points across four quarters in a year.

Right — first place in general news, first quarter: The First Congregational Church holds a candlelight vigil in remembrance of the Kalamazoo mass shooting victims on Feb. 22, 2016, in Kalamazoo, Mich. Jason Dalton is accused of shooting eight people, killing six of them, in a random shooting spree in Kalamazoo. 

Students are given five points for each quarter they submit images, while points are given for first (50), second (40) and third place (30) in each category. The student who accrues the most points across the quarters is deemed the winner. Bennett said he believes his winning total for 2016 was over 550.

Bennett spent the entirety of 2016 as a multimedia specialist intern for the Kalamazoo Gazette/ All of the work he submitted for the contest was created during his yearlong experience in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Left — first place in spot news, first quarter: Megan Potyczka, right, and others help push a car up N. Kendall Ave. on March 1, 2016, in Kalamazoo, Mich. A winter snowstorm caused delays in Kalamazoo. 

“It's an honor to receive this award,” Bennett said. “My professors at RIT have helped me grow immensely since transferring to RIT in the fall of 2014. We have some of the best photographers and professors at RIT that always push us to be better.

“Without the constant support of my family, friends and professors, I wouldn't be able to do what I love doing.”

Bennett also credited coworkers at the Kalamazoo Gazette with helping him achieve the honor. 

Right — first place in sports feature, third quarter: Jakub Kanicki reacts after smashing beer together at a tailgate before the Western Michigan football team hosts Georgia Southern Sept. 24, 2016, at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo, Mich. 

A post on the NPPA’s site cited Bennett’s strength in taking spot news and sports photos as what stood out to judges.

Bennett had the first-place spot news image in three of the four quarters and two of the sports action winners. He also had a winning sports feature photo and a pair of second-place images in that category. Bennett was once the top general news finisher and took second in a quarter in picture story/essay.

This summer, Bennett has been interning at the Players’ Tribune, the well-known sports media platform started by MLB great Derek Jeter that tells stories from athletes’ perspectives.