Perry Photo Challenge

A photojournalism competition Perry Challenge

See the 2019 Finalists
Camera Lens

Do you have the drive to compete?

Do you have the passion to win?

Can you tell a story in photos?

Enter the Philip Perry Photojournalism Challenge for the chance to win a year's worth* of tuition and fees to continue your studies at Nebraska.

March 13, 14 & 15, 2020

About the contest

The Philip Perry Photojournalism Challenge will occur over three days, March 13, 14 and 15, 2020. Beginning at 5 p.m. on March 13, participants will have twenty-four hours to shoot and edit a photo essay of up to 12 photographs about the theme, Forgotten Across Campus. At 5 p.m. on March 14, essays will be judged by five esteemed photographers who will select five finalists to present on day three. On day three, the five finalists will present their work to the judges, faculty and friends of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications and a winner will be named.


The contest is open to all undergraduate majors in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications graduating no sooner than May 2022. There are no pre-requisite courses or experience needed to compete. The contest is limited to the first 20 participants to register.


All allowable equipment will be provided by the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. Participants may not use their own equipment.

Judging criteria

Judges will review each participant’s digital submissions, considering the quality of the photographs’ subject matter, impact,  creativity, composition, technical quality and storytelling.

  • Subject matter - Does the photo essay fully capture the theme ‘Forgotten Across Campus’? Do the images support the story idea and intent.
  • Impact - The sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling photo essays evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion. What emotions does the photo essay evoke? 
  • Creativity - How original and imaginative the contestant was to convey an idea, message or thought through their photo essay and images. 
  • Composition - Ability to bring all the visual elements together to express the purpose of the images in a consistent manner. The images draw the viewer in and prompt the viewer to look where the creator intended. 
  • Technical quality - The use of color and lighting in the images is thoughtful and enhances quality. The images are clear and in focus. 
  • Storytelling - The ability of the essay to evoke imagination in what is happening in the photographs. Does the story being told reflect the theme of the contest? 
*About the prize

The winning participant will receive a scholarship of up to 30 credit hours of in-state tuition and fees applied directly to their student account during the 2020-2021 academic year. The total dollar value of the scholarship will not exceed $10,000. The scholarship must be applied during the 2020-2021 academic year and cannot be carried forward to future semesters. The winning participant must remain a major in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications during the 2020-2021 academic year to remain eligible for the award. 

The Judges

Ted Kirk

Retired Photo Editor
Lincoln Journal Star 
Lincoln, NE

Khara Plicanic

Award-winning photographer, author and teacher
Lincoln, NE

Ryan Soderlin

Omaha World-Herald
Omaha, NE

Alyssa Schukar

Independent Photographer
Chicago, IL

Calla Kessler

Freelance Photographer
Washington, D.C.

Registration has closed

Registration for the 2020 Perry Photojournalism Challenge will open on February 14, 2020.

Contest Rules
  1. Contest participants must be present and available on March 13, 14 and 15 2020. 
  2. Entries must be the sole and original work of the entrant taken during the contest period beginning at 5 p.m. on March 13 and ending at 5 p.m. on March 14, 2020. 
  3. Entries must be submitted to the judges by the deadline of 5 p.m. CT on Saturday, March 14, 2020. 
  4. Each entry should contain the following information: title of essay, name of contestant, time and location of the photographs, a short (2-4 sentence) description of the essay. 
  5. Each photography should include a caption that clearly identifies the people and location that appear in the photo; includes the date and day the photo was taken; provides some context or background to the reader so he or she can understand the news value of the photographs.
  6. On Saturday, March 14, 2020, the judges will select five contest finalists using the criteria listed above. 
  7. On Sunday, March 15, 2020, the five finalists will have up to 10 minutes to present about their essay. The judges will select one grand prize winner following the presentations. The judge's decisions are final. 
  8. By submitting the entry form, entrants are agreeing to grant the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, its component campuses, its representatives, employees, agents and assigns, the irrevocable and unrestricted right to use, reproduce and publish, royalty-free,  submitted photographs for editorial, trade, advertising or any other purpose and in any manner and medium; to alter the same without restriction. Entrants release the University of Nebraska, its component campuses and its Regents, officers, employees, agents, legal representatives and assign from any and all claims, actions and liability related to its use of said photographs.
  9. All entrants hold the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, its component campuses, its representatives, employees, agents and assigns (the University) harmless from and against all claims of any nature arising in connection with entrant's participation in the contest and acceptance of the prize. The University is not liable for any costs, damages, injuries, or other claims incurred as a result of entrants' participation in the contest or winner's acceptance and usage of a prize. The university is not responsible for incomplete or misdirected entries, technical or network malfunctions or failures, or causes beyond their control. 
  10. The university reserves the right to cancel or modify the rules at its discretion. In the event of a dispute regarding the winners, the university reserves the right to award or not award the prize in its sole discretion. The university reserves the right to disqualify any entrant whose entry or conduct appears in any way to: inhibit the enjoyment of others; tamper with the competition; violate the rules or other applicable law or regulations; infringes on the rights of third parties; or act in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner. Decisions of the university are final and binding. 
  11. The contest, entrant submission and the rules shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Nebraska. Any aspects or disputes arising out of or in connection with the contest and/or entrant submissions will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Nebraska courts. 
In our grit our glory words

Haley Hamel
Scholarship Committee