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.
Kathleen Cairns, Reporter - Fox 45 Baltimore
As a general assignment reporter for Baltimore's Fox 45, Kathleen Cairns specializes in moment-driven storytelling of hard news.
Kathleen's been recognized with more than 30 Washington DC/Baltimore regional Emmys, including 2016's award for reporting. She's also a member of the NATAS Silver Circle. She's a two-time finalist for the NPPA's Reporter of the Year award and is a former Chesapeake AP 'Best Reporter' award winner.
She was part of the team that started Fox45 in 1991. Kathleen's covered papal visits, provided live coverage from BWI on September 11th, and the beltway sniper.
Much of her award-winning reporting occurred during the 2015 Baltimore riots.
Alanna Delfino, Photojournalist - Fox45 Baltimore
Behind her lens, Alanna Delfino finds the special moments that turn an assignment into a memorable story. A photojournalist at Baltimore’s Fox45, Alanna specializes in producing daily news stories under deadline, with a creative, unique approach.
Alanna’s work has earned her several awards, including more than 10 NATAS Regional Emmy nominations this year, the National Press Photographers Association Regional Photographer of the Year, and Finalist for the NPPA’s National Television News Photographer of the year.
Alanna is an alum of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism where she’s adjunct faculty. She is also a faculty member of the NPPA’s News Video Workshop.
Heidi Wigdahl, Multimedia Journalist - KARE 11, Minneapolis
She started her career at KTTC in Rochester, Minnesota before heading south to work at WBIR in Knoxville, Tennessee. Heidi has always been a solo video journalist and she enjoys every part of crafting a story.
She has received two regional Emmys for Best Video Journalist. Her work has also been recognized by the Edward R. Murrow Awards, the National Press Photographers Association, the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association’s Eric Sevareid Awards and the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists. In 2015, the Tennessee Associated Press named her “Best TV Reporter.”
Heidi graduated from DePaul University where the College of Communication named her “Journalism Student of the Year.” She has been able to cover many noteworthy events but reporting on Kitten Bowl V during the Minnesota Super Bowl remains a career highlight.
Heidi lives in south Minneapolis with her husband Eliot and their two cats, Bunny Pancake and Backpack the Brave.
Karen Pulfer Focht – Freelance
Karen is an award-winning and very passionate freelance photojournalist. She is a former staff photographer for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis where she worked, 1988-2014. Her work is regularly published in newspapers and magazines throughout the world.
Karen got her start freelancing for the Chicago area newspapers and wire services. She attended Columbia College where she studied under Pulitzer Prize winning photographer John H. White, who is still her dear friend and mentor. She moved on to Indiana for a staff job at the Post-Tribune where she won Indiana Photographer of the Year as a rookie.
She has received innumerable awards, during her career. Most notably, she was presented with the Society of Professional Journalists' Medallion for Distinguished Service to the American People for her series on infant mortality in Memphis, "Born to Die." For this project, she also was awarded the Casey Foundation Medal For Meritorious Journalism.
Both Magnum and LensCulture recognized Karen as one of the world’s top contemporary photographers in 2017.
Music is Karen’s second passion and she has documented much of the acclaimed Memphis music scene, shooting over two-dozen album covers and historical news pictures of many local artists.
“What I love most is, in depth, community changing journalism" Karen says. "Memphis has its problems, but it's so rich in faith, hope, and charity, it's an amazing backdrop to tell stories."
"She sees with her heart, and when we look at her photographs, so do we." Columnist David Waters says.
Karen is based out of Memphis where she is a member of the Memphis Ukulele Flash Mob. She and her husband have raised three kids; they have a Labrador and very handsome cat, Hank.
Sarah Ann Jump - Jasper Herald
Sarah Ann Jump is the chief photojournalist at The Herald, documenting small town life in rural Dubois County, Indiana. Sarah Ann is drawn to moments that capture emotion and celebrate everyday life. She is driven by telling intimate stories that connect the community. Sarah Ann graduated summa cum laude from Rochester Institute of Technology’s photojournalism program.
She was named the runner-up Small Market Photojournalist of the Year in NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism 2017. She was also twice awarded Indiana Photographer of the Year by the Indiana News Photographers Association. Her work has also been recognized by POYi and the Alexia Foundation. She is an alumna of the Eddie Adams Workshop, Missouri Photo Workshop and Kalish Visual Editing Workshop.
Cara Owsley - Cincinnati Enquirer
Cara Owsley is a national award-winning visual journalist/director of photography at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
In 2018 The Cincinnati Enquirer won a Pulitzer Prize in the local reporting category. The story "Seven Days of Heroin" was recognized by the Pulitzer board "for a riveting and insightful narrative and video documenting seven days of greater Cincinnati's heroin epidemic, revealing how the deadly addiction has ravaged families and communities." Owsley was a photojournalist and photo editor for the project.
Prior to working for The Enquirer, Owsley was a staff photojournalist at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Mississippi, and The Repository in Canton, Ohio. Owsley has been in the industry for 23 years and has a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism from Western Kentucky University.
Owsley is a single mother with one daughter who is a freshman at Indiana University, Purdue University at Indianapolis. She is a mentor to freshmen students at the high school in her neighborhood. Owsley is an active member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists.