Judging photojournalism: The metajournalistic discourse of judges at the Best of Photojournalism and Pictures of the Year contests

(Forthcoming) Abstract: This study promotes how discussions during photojournalism award judging can be used as metajournalistic discourse to gain insight about the definition, boundaries and legitimization of the field. Journalism awards signal value, but the deliberation process offers richer insight via the judges’ comments. This study explores that process in two stages through discourse analysis of publicly-available video of judging rounds from two photojournalism competitions, Best of Photojournalism (BOP) and Pictures of the Year International (POYi). The first stage explores the ways in which judges talk about the photos and develops a framework for future analysis of contest judging. The second stage analyzes this discourse. Findings indicate that storytelling and emotion are key defining and legitimizing aspects of photojournalism, photojournalist’s actions and gear serve as boundary devices and the ongoing conversation about problematic misrepresentation in photojournalism is recognized but needs more emphasis.