Following his top finish in the association’s 2016 Monthly News Clip Contest, the Greensboro News & Record photojournalist was named the Southeast Regional News Photographer of the Year.
A person doesn’t have to look long through Andrew Krech’s 2016 gallery to realize the Greensboro News & Record photographer is talented. The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) must agree, recognizing the Elon University graduate as its Southeast Regional News Photographer of the Year.
Krech was one of nine individuals honored following the association’s 2016 Monthly News Clip Contest, a popular NPPA competition that squares off photographers from nine regions. The Elon media arts and entertainment major topped photojournalists from some of the largest publications in the Southeast, including the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Orlando Sentinel and Miami Herald.
“It’s an honor and it means I’ve finally become consistent,” said Krech, who started at the News & Record in November 2015. “The way this contest works is a photographer needs to submit good pictures every single month to earn enough points to stay competitive. When I first started entering three years ago, I had good months and bad months; my photography was erratic. In the last year I’ve been able to consistently make good images every month.”
Randy Piland, a senior lecturer in the School of Communications, didn’t mince words noting the significance of Krech’s NPPA recognition. “This is a big deal,” said Piland, a photojournalist for three decades. “The competition was fierce and this is a distinction that usually goes to a mid-career veteran.”
Krech credited the News & Record for providing him with “all the tools necessary to be a successful photojournalist.”
“The biggest factor that has allowed me to grow at the N&R is mentorship,” he said. “I have co-workers at the paper and professionals outside of the paper who are willing to critique my photos and make suggestions on how I can improve pictures – both in the shooting and editing process. I’ve also been blessed with great assignments, reliable equipment and a city full of vibrant, emotional people with impactful stories.”
His advice for future photojournalists? Seek out your own mentors. And shoot anything and everything, especially if it takes you out of your comfort zone. “When out in the field, be patient, be observant and be a good listener,” he said. “Lastly, the ability to anticipate is probably the most valuable skill a photojournalist can have.”
Krech’s photojournalism career begin as an Elon undergraduate, serving as a photo intern at the Burlington Times-News, taking and editing photos for the paper and its website during his senior year. Following graduation and before arriving in Greensboro, he worked for two-plus years at The Citizens’ Voice, garnering a number of state press association awards for the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, paper.
Despite his decorated past, Krech said this year’s NPPA contest made him realize a few areas of improvement. While he thrived in the contest’s sports photography category, it made him realize he can improve in terms of spot news, general news and feature photography. “I’d like to be a more well-rounded photojournalist and that’s my goal for 2017,” he said.
But what was his favorite shot of 2016? While there are several strong candidates, Krech’s perfectly timed image of a high school hurdler losing his shoe mid-race stands out.
“I know I’ll probably never shoot another picture like it in my lifetime,” Krech said. “I was just shooting the right race at the right moment.”