2018 Speaker/Judges

The selection committee searches the country for some of the most talented visual journalists to come and give insight to our members and select the best in video and photojournalism created throughout the year. 



 Brendan Keefe

Brendan Keefe

Brendan Keefe - 11Alive

is the chief investigative reporter for The 11Alive Investigators. Since joining 11Alive in October 2014, Brendan has won the Peabody Award, the DuPont-Columbia Award, two National Murrow Awards, the Hillman Prize, the Al Neuharth Award for Investigative Reporting, the American Legion's Fourth Estate Award, two Atlanta Press Club Awards of Excellence, and 25 Southeast Emmys. The Georgia Associated Press chose Brendan’s public records work for the AP’s Freedom of Information Award in 2017. 

Brendan leads the investigative unit, but he works primarily alone as his own photographer, researcher, producer, and video editor. TEGNA Media tapped Brendan as its lead multi-skilled journalist, training MSJs at the company’s 46 television stations across the nation. Brendan is a member of the visiting faculty of the Poynter Institute. He also runs 11Alive’s drone program. An FAA certified remote pilot, Brendan trains all of the station’s drone crews.

Before joining 11Alive, Brendan spent a quarter century anchoring and reporting for several network affiliates around the nation, including five years at Houston’s KPRC and another five at WCBS in New York City. He was embedded with the US Army as a war correspondent during the Iraq war, completing multiple reporting tours in the Middle East. 

Brendan has been honored with a total of 77 regional Emmy awards for reporting, investigative work, photography, and editing.

 Forrest Sanders

Forrest Sanders

Forrest Sanders - WSMV

is a video journalist at WSMV News 4 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Sanders decided he wanted to write, shoot, and edit his own stories in high school after watching The Evil Dead (it's a long story).
He started his career here in Kentucky at WBKO in Bowling Green. He's spent the past eight years at WSMV. During that time, Sanders has been the recipient of seven regional Emmy Awards and 14 first place Associated Press Awards for work he wrote, shot, and edited.

He's an active member and strong proponent of the National Press Photographers Association.
Sanders believes in visual, emotion-driven storytelling that emphasizes the uniqueness of the person and situation at the center of the story. 
He thanks KNPA for previously getting him the title of 'Kentucky Colonel' as officially bestowed by the governor.

Yes, this designation has made him - Colonel Sanders.

 Chris Hansen

Chris Hansen

Chris Hansen - KUSA-TV

Chris Hansen is the Senior Photojournalist at KUSA-TV in Denver. He joined the photography staff at 9News in 2012. His assignments range from special projects to deadline news and whatever else would please the assignment desk. In his six years at KUSA he’s been a finalist for the NPPA’s Ernie Crisp Photographer of the Year four times.

During his free time, you’ll catch him on a bike – on a mountain – or on a brewery patio enjoying Colorado’s countless sunny days.


 Jessica Phelps

Jessica Phelps

Jessica Phelps – Newark Advocate

For years Jessica was a professional vagabond —passing time in the Italian Alps on a goat farm, hanging with kids in Chile, and crossing borders from Costa Rica to Nicaragua. During those years, she was constantly meeting people, traveling, finding unseen moments and seeking adventure.

Now home in central Ohio, Jessica is happily working for a small daily newspaper, shooting different assignments every day and exploring the depth of local photojournalism through long term projects. Jessica has been honored by the NPPA winning the small market photographer of the year, as well having two stories place first and second in the small market published stories category.

She has also won the Ohio News Photographer’s Associations Photographer of the Year for the past three years and Sports photographer of the year as well as various awards for her long term projects.

You can follow Jessica on Instagram at @jessphelps961 or find her photos at jessphelpsphoto.com

 Matt McClain

Matt McClain

Matt McClain - Washington Post

Matt McClain is an award-winning photojournalist based in Alexandria, VA. He is a staff photographer at The Washington Post and has produced work for People Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Getty Images, The Associated Press, AARP, 5280 Magazine, The State of Colorado, The Denver Post and others.

McClain graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in journalism in 1998. He worked as a staff photographer with the Ventura County Star from 2000 to 2006. McClain then joined the Rocky Mountain News from 2006 to 2009.

He was awarded the 2008 Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award for Photojournalism for his work in 2007 at the Rocky. the portfolio included “Beyond the Boom,” which chronicled the impact of natural gas exploration and its effect on Colorado. McClain was also NPPA Region 10 Photographer of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. He was awarded 2nd place in the 2010 World Press Photo for Daily Life Picture Story for “Finding Their Way,” a story following a blind man that adopted a blind child from India to raise with his wife, Lalena.

 Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith - Getty Images

Patrick Smith is a Staff Photographer with Getty Images based in Baltimore, Md., USA documenting news, sports and feature stories in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region and beyond.

Patrick travels extensively and his photographs have been distributed and published by: Getty Images, ESPN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, Sports Illustrated, Baltimore Magazine, CNN, and Major League Baseball, among many others. His photographic work is frequently licensed for: advertisement, commercial, public campaign, and social media, too.

Patrick has been recognized notably by: The Pulitzer Prizes, Pictures of the Year International, The Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Society of Professional Journalists, Istanbul Photo Awards, National Motorsports Press Association, Maryland Jockey Club, The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and The National Press Photographers Association.

These prestigious accolades include being named: ‘Sports Photographer of the Year’ by Pictures of the Year International and NPPA Best of Photojournalism respectively, ‘Photographer of the Year’ by the White House News Photographers Association in their respected Eyes of History Competition, and being a part of the Getty Images news team who was honored as a Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Breaking News Photography for compelling images that told the story in Baltimore during protests over the death of Freddie Gray.

Most recently, Patrick was recognized as the 2016 runner-up ‘Sports Photographer of the Year’ by both the NPPA Best of Photojournalism and Pictures of the Year International.