Monday, November 12, 2007

Best PJ colleges and recruits 07

In 2005 and 2006 we tried to ascertain which colleges are best for PJ students. My answer is always the same:   The university doesn't make the best PJs. The best PJs make the most of their time at university.

For two years, this fact was proven when the College Photographers of the Year (Casey Templeton and Rick Gershon) were both lone wolves from their universities.

Last year's winner, Matt Eich, is from Ohio, the consistently top-rated (cumulative) university. Travis Dove, this year's winner, is also from Ohio University.

We now have three years of data to show us benefit-for-investment trends at different universities. Let's use the information we have and draw a few conclusions.

When looking at the winners list, let's ignore who won gold, silver, bronze and honorable mention. Instead, we'll look at how many individuals from different universities got any awards. Of these winners, we'll eliminate the universities with only one winner (no matter how many awards were won) and eliminate the redundancies.

Again, what remains is a solid guess at the quality of the PJ education at different universities. If nothing else, it shows a consistent ability to teach students to shoot and select quality images for competition.

There were additional multi-media categories introduced this year, so there are more awards to win and more data for our use.

Here's the breakdown by number of individual students who won any awards at this year's CPOY:

12 - Ohio University
08 - Western Kentucky University
07 - University of Missouri
06 - Brooks Institute of Photography
04 - San Francisco State University
04 - UNC Chapel Hill
02 - University of Nebraska
02 - Syracuse University

Although there are more awards this year, Ohio slipped by one. Western Kentucky gained one. Missouri gained two. Brooks slipped by one. San Francisco State doubled their wins. UNC Chapel Hill returned to the leader board; however, half of their wins are group entries. Nebraska held steady with two and Syracuse made it onto the leader board.

As stated before, universities with strong programs draw strong students. These students are frequently as demanding on one another as they are on themselves. The top four PJ universities continue to impress. All four have remained at the top of the leader board for the last three years. This means their students are producing consistently high-quality work from year to year.

Meanwhile, one driven PJ can still take all the marbles without cohorts. For instance, Dominic Nahr of Ryerson University kicked some major rump. Not only did he win CPOY Runner-up, he also took a Gold, Silver, two Bronzes and an Award of Excellence. Get down you funky Canadian.

With the introduction of multi-media categories this year, CPOY is positioning itself to match what's happening on the pro side of this biz. Other than a Gold to Jeff Giraldo of Western Kentucky University, Ohio and UNC swept the awards. This means these two universities, or at least their students, have a grip on industry demands.

Best recruits
The College Photographer Of the Year is the shooter with the best portfolio. This system is similar to the Pictures Of the Year (POYi) awards. Meanwhile, the NPPA regional photographer of the year is determined by points. This point system shows consistent commitment to excellence and competition throughout the year.

Since it's not possible to give the same points because the NPPA student competitions are held quarterly, we can use a different scoring system. We'll assess the following points:
6 - CPOY (Gold 4 + 2)
5 - CPOY runner up (Silver 3 + 2)
4 - Gold
3 - Silver
2 - Bronze
1 - Award of Excellence

Since we have three years of data now, we can crunch some numbers. Editors who get resume packages from these folks should take a serious look-see at the packages. These numbers indicate a consistent ability to perform at a high level in multiple categories over time.

20 - Andrew Henderson - Western Kentucky University
20 - Yoon Byun - Ohio University (Boston Globe)
18 - Matt Eich - Ohio University
18 - Dominic Nahr - Ryerson University
16 - Travis Dove - Ohio University
14 - Benjamin Reed - University of Missouri
14 - Tim Gruber - Ohio University
12 - Chris Detrick - U. of Missouri (Salt Lake Tribune)
11 - Casey Templeton - James Madison University
11 - Matt Mallams - Brooks Institute of Photography
This year's top three draft picks are:
16 - Travis Dove - Ohio University
14 - Dominic Nahr - Ryerson University
12 - Tim Gruber - Ohio University

I expect the folks who are still in college will drive up their numbers in the next few years. The folks who graduated two years ago may not have done as well as they would have if I had the whole data set. Nonetheless, the top 10 above are all strong recruits for newspapers and magazines. Of these, we again see Ohio as the top school.

Enough for now,

Please see the 2008 update.

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