Judging process

2024 Contest judging process

The judging process of the 2024 World Press Photo Contest takes place in several rounds over a six-week period, in January and February 2024. It involves regional juries and a global jury, ​​and takes place both online and offline. 

Regional juries

In each of the six regions of our contest model (Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Central America, South America, and Southeast Asia and Oceania), a selection of entries per category is first made by a regional jury. Each regional jury is composed of five professionals from and/or working in that region, with a range of expertise. With the knowledge of the region that each jury member possesses, their deliberations will be informed by their political, social and cultural understanding of the region.

This year the Africa jury will take place offline at our partner organization Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa. All other regional juries will take place online. Find out more about our regional partner.  

Global jury

The global jury is composed of the six regional jury chairs and one additional member – the global jury chair. Once the regional juries have made their selection of entries, the global jury decides on 24 regional winners and from those, the four global winners: World Press Photo of the Year, World Press Photo Story of the Year, World Press Photo Long-Term Project Award, and the World Press Photo Open Format Award. See here for more information about the prize package.

In addition to the regional and global winners, the jury may choose to draw attention to an entry that deserves special recognition by awarding it an Honorable Mention. Honorable Mentions are reserved for entries that witness or report on significant news moments, events and/or their aftermaths from the contest year (2023). The jury may award a maximum of one Honorable Mention per region, and they can only be selected from the Singles or Stories categories. 

The global jury is assisted by a secretary. The secretary is responsible for all procedural matters and ensures the rules and procedures are fairly and properly applied. The secretary does not contribute to debate on the merits of any entry, and has no vote in the balloting.

The secretary is supported by a jury coordinator, who is a staff member of the World Press Photo Foundation. The coordinator is the principal conduit of information between the jury and the foundation on all procedural matters related to the judging. Throughout the judging process, the role of the World Press Photo Foundation staff is solely to manage the logistics of the judging process, including showing the entries, providing captions, and recording which entries are selected for the next round. No member of staff, including the jury coordinator, contributes to debate on the merits of any entry, and no member of staff has a vote in the balloting.

Judging rounds

The contest has six voting rounds: the first, second, third, fourth and fifth rounds and the finals.
The voting system and process for each round for each jury are detailed in the Judging Procedures Handbook, which guides the judging process and is provided to each juror. 

Judging process

Whilst the jury is independent of World Press Photo, the organization provides some criteria to guide and support the jury in the judging process. The organization sets these criteria in order to ensure the selection of accurate and visually compelling photojournalism and documentary photography of the past year, that work towards the organization’s mission of connecting the world to the stories that matter.
Without restricting the jury in their deliberations, we ask the jury to consider the following criteria during judging:

  • Visual quality: this can include creativity, technical skill and visual style, and the edit of the story (where relevant)
  • Story: this refers to the story and/or issues covered in the photographs, its relevance or significance, and the way in which the photographer has chosen to approach the story
  • Representation: this refers to the importance of awarding a diverse range of stories and photographers
The organization recognizes that the jury comprises a diverse group of industry experts who each bring relevant knowledge of their regions and insight into different aspects of photojournalism and documentary photography. Therefore whilst the organization sets these criteria, it also gives the jury the freedom to determine and define what makes an entry worthy of an award.

Representation in the 2024 Contest

The core motivation behind the regional contest model is to give a platform to more diverse accounts of our world. In order to adequately represent and contextualize stories, World Press Photo will present the jury with relevant information about the photographer in order to facilitate a more comprehensive approach to understanding and judging entries. In doing so, the judging process emphasizes the importance of context and that means acknowledging accountability, transparency and positionality in image-making. The jury is made up of industry professionals who respect the work of each entrant, and have extensive discussions in order to award the best and most insightful work.

During the judging process, information will be made available to the jury at certain stages. To ensure that judging is as fair and efficient as possible, the following information will be given in the respective rounds:

Round 1: No photographer information given.
This is to ensure that the entries progressing to Round 2 are selected for their visual quality.

Round 2 onwards: Information about photographer nationality, where they are based, gender, the title of the work, and a short project description will be given. The short caption will state the who, what, when, where and why in a single or story.
From Round 2 onwards, jury members will be able to view and discuss remaining entries considering the nationality, location and gender of entrants, as well as the title of the work and the information provided in the short caption.

Round 3 onwards: An edit of the long caption given.
A longer description of a single or story will be available on the judging platform. This is an edit by World Press Photo based on the entered caption that summarizes the basic information of good journalism to facilitate a clear and fair judging process.

Round 4 onwards: Relevant additional information given.
From Round 4 onwards, jury members will be able to discuss additional information relating to how and why the story was made, such as the motivation to work on the project, the type of project (assignment/personal project), and funding of the project. This information is requested on entry.

The jury members will not be given the photographer's name, or other personal information not listed above, during the judging process. This is to preserve the anonymity of the entrants as much as possible until winners are selected. However, in the case of Open Format entries, this information might be included in the product (for example in the embedded credits at the end of videos and web-based projects), which is unavoidable.

In order to ensure that the jury awards a diverse group of winners, World Press Photo has established the following representation criteria:

  • At least one local* winner per region;
  • At least one winner identifying as female or non-binary per region.
*Local is considered as a photographer who is from the country (and/or community) in which the story is being covered. This can either mean that they have a nationality, or have been living and working in the country for at least ten years.

Are you looking for more specific information? Visit one of the following pages to find out more about: