TV Quarterly Clip Contest Rules

2023 NPPA TVQCC Rules

The framework of the NPPA Television Quarterly Clip Contest is based on physical geography and each photojournalism staff’s merit.


The NPPA Television Quarterly Clip Contest is a vital function of the NPPA and provides an important service to its membership and to those who subscribe to NPPA principles. The contest stands to recognize outstanding work performed by television and online video photojournalists on a quarterly basis. The TVQCC 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 pool chair on the 10th of the month following the end of the quarter.
Deadlines are:
1st Qtr: April 10th
2nd Qtr: July 10th
3rd Qtr: October 10th
4th Qtr: January 10th



The TVQCC 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. It is now mandatory to have a judging group if your station has three or more people submitting to the contest. Please contact a Regional Chair to volunteer your time.

The Television Quarterly Clip Contest runs parallel with the Solo Video 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. Personal pages such as Youtube and Vimeo do not count. It must be published through your station/companies platform. The entrant must have shot at least 90% of the entry. There is no penalty to the entrant if file video is used although file cannot exceed more than 25% of the total story run time.

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

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 photojournalist’s colleagues. One exception to this rule exists with helicopter aerial video for the Deadline News and Spot News categories only. Any questions regarding the use of file video should be directed to the national chair.


There are six categories. A photojournalist can submit two clips, but may enter three clips each quarter if one of those clips is submitted in the Deadline News OR Spot News categories. The 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.

Please keep in mind: it is up to the judges discretion if they feel a story was submitted into the proper category. They will dock points where they feel necessary if they think it should have been submitted elsewhere.

  • Spot News (Maximum length: 5 minutes) An unscheduled and unfolding news event for which there was no opportunity for planning. This category should reflect stories that are breaking news and serious in nature. They should show the hectic scene unfolding in front of you. This category recognizes 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. Your entry for this category can be serious, soft, humorous, sad, etc. What’s most important about this category is the time constraint. The entry must be shot, edited, and exported within 4 consecutive hours. If you are thinking of submitting something in spot but is too soft, or you had too much time to plan (i.e. follow ups after a breaking news event), and was done in 4 consecutive hours, submit it here.
  • General News (Maximum length: 5 minutes) A timely news story, whose news peg is serious in nature but can be told in a multitude of creative ways. The story should not be evergreen, there should a level of newsworthiness to the day. This piece should cover 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. This category can be filled with any day-of assignments given to you, as long as they have a hard news peg. Stories must have been shot, edited, and exported 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 as long as the piece is soft. 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. If you are going back and fourth on where to submit, your serious stories should be submitted to general and your soft stories should be submitted here.
  • 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.
  • In Depth/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. This category is meant to capture stories that go beyond the day turn and take a deeper dive into a storyline or topic. 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.

You ARE allowed to use music within ANY story, in ANY category that is submitted for the contest. Judges have full jurisdiction to score pieces lower or higher if they feel music adds or takes away from the piece as a whole.

In all categories, a stand-alone package or a package accompanied by a live shot may be submitted. The entering photojournalist must have shot at least 90% of the recorded video portion and, if included, 100% of the live portion. If a photojournalist submits a live element produced with multiple cameras, that photojournalist must have been responsible for the content of each camera angle (except for anchor tosses). Any clip that includes a live element must have the air-check version submitted.

To qualify for a Regional Photographer of the Year title, a photojournalist must submit clips in three of the six categories during the contest year. There is no requirement for a photojournalist to place winners in any set number of categories. Re-editing is prohibited in every category.

The pool chair or the judges will determine the qualifications of each entry and may dock points as they see fit.

Choosing Winners

A panel of the entrants’ peers judges TVQCC entries. The pool chairs assemble 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. However, the average score of the person’s entry must be a 4 or less to not award a placing. If the average score is more than a 4, it MUST be given a placement. There can be no ties. Judges may at their sole discretion award an honorable mention in any category regardless of the number of entries.


Judges will award points for content, craft, creativity and commitment for each piece. Here is the breakdown for those points.

10: Incredible photojournalism that showcases meaningful storytelling in an inspiring and creative way. A 10 means the judges thought the execution was the best way to tell that particular story with the circumstances around it. They may still have feedback (and they absolutely should) but a 10 shows the judges learned even more about great storytelling from watching.

8-9: An 8 or 9 scoring should align closely with a 10 but includes a few things the judges felt should have been executed differently. It should still be a great showcase of photojournalism but has a few more flaws than a 10.

7: A great story that has some technical mistakes that become obvious to the judges. The photojournalism can still be outstanding but there are a decent amount of changes the judges feel need to be made to enhance the story to the next level.

5-6: A story given a 5 or 6 in any of the categories means the content and creative nature of the story is lacking. There are issues with story structure, shooting, editing, composition, etc. A 5 or 6 should be given to someone who definitely put a considerable amount of effort into making the story great, but may have missed the mark on a few different spots.

3-4: When a story is given a 3 or 4 it means there is a lot of work to be done before the piece can have the type of impact it needs to have on an audience. It reflects a story that is extremely lacking in proper storytelling, structure, shooting, editing, composition etc. This is a piece where the judge feels they really need to mentor the photojournalist on how to advance their techniques.

0-2: A story given a 0-2 represents a piece that completely misses the mark. It shows clear need for growth and the judges should use this as an opportunity to help that person get better. 

Geographical Divisions and Competitive Pools

The United States is broken into three geographical divisions – the NPPA West, the NPPA Central and the NPPA East. Other regions of the world are included in each division.


Every state west of and including Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico (also includes Alaska and Hawaii, Canada, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific region).

NPPA Central

Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma and Texas (also includes Central America, South America, and Africa).


Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida (also includes Europe and the Middle East)


There are two pools of competition within each of the three geographical divisions – the General Pool and the Top Station Pool – six pools of competition. Each participating photography staff is assigned to compete in its division’s General Pool or Top Station Pool depending on the staff’s TVQCC merit.

Journalists submit their work in the pool to which their station belongs. A photography staff’s status does not change during the contest year. Freelance photojournalists typically enter their division’s General Pool of competition. Photojournalists working for stations that have never entered the TVQCC submit in their division’s General Pool.

Contact the national chair with questions about contest participation.

The five (or more) stations from each geographical division that have earned the greatest reputations in the TVQCC compete in the Top Station Pools. The staff in each Top Station Pool accumulating the least amount of points during a contest year is removed from that Top Station Pool in the following year and competes in the corresponding General Pool. It is replaced in the Top Station Pool by the corresponding General Pool staff that accumulates the most points.

Annually the national chair will evaluate the entry submissions in all six pools. The contest goal is to keep the number of entries in each pool relatively equal. If necessary the national chair may adjust the number of Top Station Pool staffs in each geographical division but may do so only at the beginning of the contest year.


Points are awarded in each category as follows:
1st place – 11 points
2nd place – 8 points
3rd place – 5 points
Honorable Mention – 2 points

Individual Recognition

The title Regional Photographer of the Year is awarded to the photojournalist who accumulates the most points during the contest year in each respective pool. A photojournalist moving in the middle of the year may carry points to the new station if the new station competes in the same pool as the former station. The moving photojournalist may only participate in one pool at a time and may not exceed the three-entry maximum per quarter.

The title, Regional Photographer of the Year, does not refer specifically to any “region.” The word Regional exists to recognize the former, long-standing NPPA traditional regional TVQCC.

If there is a tie for an RPOY title, the following list of tiebreaker criteria is used to break any deadlocks:

  1. most stories placed
    2. most first place winners
    3. most second place winners
    4. most third place winners
    5. most honorable mention winners
    6. most stories entered

If a tie still exists, Co-Regional Photographers of the Year will be awarded.

Photography Staff Recognition

The title Top Station is awarded in each Top Station Pool to the photography staff that accumulates the most points during the contest year. Photojournalists’ winning points are counted for their station in the Top Station race. We do not count entry points for station totals, because counting entry points would give large staffs an unfair advantage. A photojournalist changing stations in the middle of the year may not carry Top Station points to his or her new station. Top Station points are counted for the station where the work was produced. Top Station titles are not awarded in the General Pools. Points earned in the Solo Video Contest will be counted as Station points!

If there are ties the following list of criteria is used to break any deadlock:

  1. station that had the most photojournalists place
    2. most stories placed by a station
    3. most first place winners a station received
    4. most second place winners
    5. most third place winners
    6. most honorable mention winners
    7. most stories entered

Certificates will be awarded for every 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Honorable Mention winners each quarter. Plaques will be given for all Regional Photographers of the Year and Top Stations.