Solo Video Contest Rules

2020 NPPA Solo Video Contest Rules

The NPPA Solo Video Contest is a vital function of the NPPA and provides an important service to its membership. The contest stands to recognize outstanding work performed by NPPA members on a quarterly basis. The SVC also serves to promote, encourage, and teach the highest levels of photojournalism and ethics.

Quarters are defined as follows: 1st: Jan 1-Mar 31; 2nd: Apr 1-Jun 30; 3rd: Jul 1-Sep 30; 4th: Oct 1-Dec 31. Entries must be received by the 10th of the month following the end of the quarter — April 10th, July 10th, October 10th, and January 10th. Late entries will not be accepted.

The NPPA Solo Video Contest is open to NPPA members in good standing. In order to be eligible to enter any particular quarter, membership payment must be current on or before the 10th of the month following the end of that quarter. For example, to submit a first quarter entry the entrant must become a member by April 10th; to submit a second quarter entry the entrant must become a member by July 10th; etc. Timely dues payment is each member’s responsibility. With membership and participation comes the expectation to serve as a judge.

The SVC is open to solo video journalists, one-man bands, backpack journalists, or any other journalist who shoots, reports/writes, and edits video for a television news model. The Solo Video Contest runs parallel with the Television Quarterly Clip Contest. On a yearly basis, at the beginning of the contest year, each entering journalist must choose to enter only one of these contests; the one that best suits his or her talents and working environment. You cannot change contests during the year. If your role or job title changes from SVJ to photojournalist or vice versa, during the course of the contest year, send an email to the national chair.

An entry must have been published (online or on TV) for the first time during the contest quarter. The entrant must have shot at least 90% of the entry. The entrant must also have written, tracked, and edited the entry.  “NAT packages” (stories without reporter track) are not allowed. Re-editing is not allowed. There is no penalty to the entrant if file or historical video is used, although historical or file video cannot exceed more than 25% of the total story run time.

Compress your files using H.264.  File size must not exceed 100 MB.  Recommended video resolution is 720P.  Name your files in this format: CATEGORY_NAME OF STORY.  Example:  SPOT NEWS_HOUSE FIRE.MP4.

File Video
File video is defined as video that was previously used in a newscast, video that originated from a network feed, and stock video that was shot previously that may or may not have already been published. File video also includes surveillance video, amateur video and VNRs. File video does NOT include original video created by the entering journalist’s colleagues. Any questions regarding the use of file video should be directed to the national chair.

There are six categories. A solo video journalist may enter two clips each quarter but may enter three clips each quarter if one of those clips is submitted in the Deadline News category.  Both clips may be entered in the same category or in different categories. The same clip may not be entered in more than one category. Any clip may be entered in any category provided it meets the guidelines set forth below.

  • Spot News (Maximum length: 5 minutes) An unscheduled and unfolding news event for which there was no opportunity for planning. This category recognized the photographer’s ability to function in a stressful situation, keeping his or her photographic gear rolling to capture the overall scope of the scene, and zeroing in on individual reactions
  • Deadline News (Maximum length: 5 Minutes): The goal of this category is to highlight television photojournalism under deadline pressure. The entry must be shot, edited, and broadcast within 4 consecutive hours.
  • General News (Maximum length: 5 minutes) A timely news story, serious in nature (not soft or humorous) that covers a planned news event, an issue, or person or topic of general interest and importance. It can be a follow up or sidebar to spot news. General news stories should contain no music, except where it’s part of the natural sound of the story. Stories must have been shot, edited, and broadcast within 24 consecutive hours
  • News Feature (24 hours)(Maximum length: 5 minutes) A timely news story, soft or humorous in nature that covers a planned or unplanned news event, an issue, or person or topic of general interest and importance. It can be a follow up or sidebar to spot news. Entry should contain no music, except where it’s part of the natural sound of the story. Stories must have been shot, edited, and exported within 24 consecutive hours. If the story is held back due to breaking news, it cannot be re-edited before airing.
  • News Feature (No Time Limit) (Maximum length: 10 minutes) A planned story that appeals to the emotional side of the viewer and the photojournalist puts considerable time and effort into the production of the story. Features that score highly show imagination and creativity. There is no time limit on production.
  • Investigative (maximum length: 15 minutes) A planned story where the photojournalist puts considerable time and effort into the story’s planning and production. These entries are to be Issue-based or Investigative in nature. A series of stories may be submitted as one entry as long as the sum of the parts does not exceed 15 minutes. There is no time limit for story production. Entries may be split into parts if they cannot get below the 100mb threshold.

In all categories a stand-alone package or a package accompanied by a live shot may be submitted. The entering solo video journalist must have shot at least 90% of the recorded video portion. Live shots may be included in every category if deemed necessary. It’s not required for the entering solo video journalist to have shot the live portion of the entry. Any clip that includes a live element must have the air-check version submitted.

Re-editing is prohibited in every category. The pool chair or the judges will determine the qualifications of each entry and may disqualify an entry as they see fit.

Choosing Winners

A panel of the entrants’ peers judges SVC entries. The pool chair assembles the judges. Judges must represent and act in the best interest of the NPPA. Judges must take into account the uniqueness of the category when choosing winners from that category.

Judges must choose a first, second and third place in each category if there are at least four entries in the category. If there are fewer than four entries in a particular category a first, second and/or third place may or may not be awarded. There can be no ties. Judges may at their sole discretion award an honorable mention in any category regardless of the number of entries.

Contest Division
There are two divisions in the Solo Video Contest. It coincides with the Television Quarterly Clip Contest. Stations that are in their respective regional top pool will be placed into the SVC Top Pool. Everyone else will enter in SVC General. Entrants will move into and out of SVJC Top based on the results of the TVQCC. In the future, the SVC may move to a promotion/relegation format of its own based on entrants and not stations.


Points are awarded in each category as follows:
1st place – 11 points
2nd place – 8 points
3rd place – 5 points
Honorable Mention – 2 points
Entry – 1 point per entrant per quarter, not 1 per entry

Continuing education is essential to the NPPA and its members. The NPPA values the sharing of professional techniques and ideas. Judges will provide a thoughtful and constructive critique for every entry.

The title “NPPA Solo Video Journalist of the Year” will be awarded to the two entrants who accumulate the most points in their respective regions during the year. If there is a tie, the person with the most first places wins. If there is still a tie, then the tie stands and the title awarded will be “Co-Solo Video Journalist of the Year.”


Certificates will be awarded for each quarterly 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Honorable Mention winner. Plaques will be awarded to the two Solo Video Journalists of the Year.