UNC MJ-school recent alumna wins Newspaper Photographer of the Year award

Carolyn Van Houten, a 2014 UNC School of Media and Journalism graduate, was named the 2015 Newspaper Photographer of the Year in the 73rd annual Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition.

The professional honor comes within a year of Van Houten being named the College Photographer of the Year 70th College Photographer of the Year (CPOY) competition and placing first in the Hearst Journalism Awards Photojournalism Competition, considered the Pulitzers of collegiate journalism.

“It's a super big deal, and I am very proud of her. She is very talented and has worked very hard. She went on the international trip to the Galapagos with the school and had multiple internships to get where she is now,” said MJ-school assistant professor Steven King, who coached Van Houten on two projects outside of the classroom. “What makes her work great is that she is a wonderful person that really cares for her subjects and works with them to bring out their story. For context, (the Newspaper Photographer of the Year award is) like a rookie winning the MVP.”

The annual POYi competition recognizes excellence in documentary photography and photojournalism. The winners are chosen by a panel of acclaimed photojournalists.

In the CPOY competition, Van Houten was awarded Gold in Portrait; Silver in Feature and Domestic Picture Story; and Awards of Excellence in Portrait and Sports Feature. CPOY is considered the world's largest and most prestigious photojournalism and multimedia competition for students.

The College Photographer of the Year is automatically offered the only National Geographic magazine photography internship of the year. Van Houten started her internship on Monday, Feb. 22, 2016.

During her time at Carolina, she also received awards from the Hearst Journalism Awards ProgramNational Press Photographers Association and the White House News Photographers Association.

Her work can be viewed on her PortfolioTwitter and Instagram.

Van Houten was also the first in a series of Start Here / Never Stop Podcast episodes.

Check out more Start Here / Never Stop Podcast episodes at mj.unc.edu/SHNSpodcast.