The judges were torn between the submissions because they were “of  equal quality but were telling such different stories from one another.” They were torn on judging either based on the quality and the work that went into the illustration and how the illustration told the story. In the end they decided to judge based on quality.

1st: Blake Nelson and Brendan Wray, The Columbia Missourian, Tiger Kickoff special edition.

The judges called the illustration “an editorial cartoon meets comic book.”

“It’s telling you a story right there and you don’t need to go any further,” Luis Rendon said.

2nd: Amber Huff, F News.

The judges weren’t sure what the illustration is supposed to mean and assumed it was supposed to illustrate Halloween. They said it was artsy and appreciated the amount of work spent on it.

3rd: Jarad Soloman, F News.

The judges thought this was a great illustration of professional level of satire.

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Overall use of photography

1st: Chloe Meister, Logan Reidsma, The Daily Orange

“This is amazing, this is beyond,” Joe Greco said. The judges agreed that some of the photography could easily be in the ESPN magazine. They gave a shout out the photography editor.

Honorary Mention: Evan Frost, Montana Journal Review

The judges said they were waiting for the photos to happen and kept getting distracted by how other things were designed.

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Photo story design

1st: Claudia Fernandes Hernandez, Distraction Magazine, “Organized Kaos” 

The judges liked how although this was a fashion shoot it also told the story and gave a shout out to the photographer for finding the location and the models and for knowing exactly what he or she wanted to do with the poses and the lighting.

They thought that the extra details on the photos were unnecessary, and it felt like at times the designer got too carried away and diluted the impact of the photos by bleeding them, but overall though that the presentation was great.

2nd: Sevy Perez, F News, “Bank Shots” 

The called the photography artsy. They said that they liked the person who decided to actually go and photograph the location because this story could have just been a calendar item or a brief.

Honorary Mention: Allison Mann, The Columbia Missourian, “Tailgatin’ Time” 

The judges said that this was a very traditional page and reporting. They said that they liked the lack of redundancy but weren’t sure that the designer knew what their most powerful photo was.

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Special Topic: Black lives matter/student protest

The judges didn’t think the submissions were strong enough to place, but awarded two Honorary Mentions.

Honorary Mention: Brianna Schroer, The Columbia Missourian, “A Moment in a movement” 

The judges thought the most powerful photo of the package was presented well, but other photos seemed redundant and the headline didn’t fit the intensity of the movement.

Honorary Mention: Alex Kostiw, F News, “No Guns” 

After seeing several other submissions from the same newspaper, the judges commented on how well the designers followed their publication’s style in illustrations. They said that it is a tough topic to illustrate and could have been overdone, but instead the designer kept it clean and clear.

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Breaking News cover

Braking News category only had two entrees and the judges decided to only award a first place.

1st. Brianna Schroer, The Columbia Missourian, “A moment in a movement” 


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Multipage story

1st: Jordan Whitney Martin, F News, “Adjunctivists” 

The judges liked the background and the simplicity. They liked that the designer “had the chance to overdo it” but didn’t.

2nd: Site Ma, Vox Magazine, “Living in a Boom Town”

The judges appreciated the amount of reporting that sent into the package but wished the designer spent as much time designing the issue.

3rd: Site Ma, Vox Magazine, “The Secret Life of Mead”

The judges liked the consistent use of little details and thought it added to the design of the package. They loved the color choices.

Honorary Mention: Madalyne Bird, Vox Magazine, “The Killing State”

The judges said it was impressive that a college publication put out that many pages but agreed that a lot could go wrong. They appreciated the reporting and planning that went into the package but noted some inconsistency in design.

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Sports Design

Honorary Mention: Chloe Meister, The Daily Orange, “40 Years of Boehein”

The judges were impressed with the planning, detail and execution and thought that overall the page was fantastic.

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A3 news design

1st Place: Sophie Jucido Johnson, F News, “Air Sex”

The judges said that everything on the page worked well together, starting with the clever headline, the unique illustrations  and a clear grid. “You could feel the fun they had putting this together,” Luis Rendon said.

This is an edgy topic, but “you’re looking at the illustrations and you’re thinking what’s going on and you want to read the story,” Joe Greco said.

Honorary mention: Zach Cooper, F News, “Why I miss John Stewart”

Luis Rendon said that he was struck by how original the illustration was, but the judges agreed that the power of the page only came from the illustration.

Honorary mention: Priyoshi Kapur, F News, “Waiting for her to die” 

The judges said that although the illustration itself is high quality, they didn’t think it entirely fit the story. They thought the designer efficiently used white space and typography to make the page clean.

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Newspaper Cover Design

1st place: Brianna Schroer, The Columbia Missourian, “A moment in a movement”

The judges said that the cover represented the intensity of the news well. With everyone paying attention to the student protest at the University of Missouri, the designer made a good photo choice and “killed the news section,” Luis Rendon said.

2nd place: Mara Corbett, The Daily Orange, “One in four young adults has a diagnosable mental illness” 

The judges said it was successful without art and consistent across the page. They questioned how readable the white type on the black background is.

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Judges’ Comments from the SSND DC Competition

It’s here! Check out our video to see judges’ feedback on this year’s competition.

The judges in this video are:


Dan Zedek: Assistant managing editor for design
The Boston Globe
Lee Steele: President of SND,
Presentation Editor/Columnist, Hearst Corporation
Marianne Seregi: Magazine Art Director
The Washington Post


Seth Hamblin: Deputy Global Visual Editor and The Wall Street Journal
Juan Velasco: Co-founder and creative director of 5W Infographics and former Art Director at National Geographic magazine
Mike Swartz: Partner, Upstatement

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