USA Alumnus Wins Photojournalist of The Year

By: Richard Narramore | EIC

University of South Alabama Alumnus Andrew Conniff recently took home the award for the 2019 Photojournalist of the Year from the Alabama Broadcasters Association.

Conniff’s work revolves around people affected by the situations they face and compelling viewers to care about the situation and the character. However, Conniff almost didn’t submit his work to be considered but is now glad he did.

“I was actually a little nervous about submitting for the award,” Conniff said. “There are may talented photojournalist in the state, but one of my friends said you might as well try at least. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard I had an invitation to the awards ceremony, that at least meant I was in the running for the award.”

Conniff found his footing in the news industry by leveraging his networking skills and working hard.

“I can’t stress how important it is to network with people and genuinely show interest,” Conniff said. “I also am a firm believer that you have to go out of your way to show what you can do. If you have the ambition to succeed and be the ability to show what you can offer to a company, you can land a job.”

The job is not without its perks, according to Conniff. From interviewing Nick Saban to standing out in 80mph hurricane winds, “ It’s a job that will keep you on your toes since you have no idea what will happen that day,” Conniff said.

Its the stories about interesting people and events that keep Conniff passionate about his work. He recently covered a story about a baseball team in a troubled area and the positive effect it has on the community.

“The area has a lot of violence and shootings that occur,” Conniff said. “This baseball team has won several championships and is a positive aspect to the community. Hearing from parents and coaches really makes you proud of the boys.”

In light of his recent success, Conniff reflects on the steps he has taken in his career.

“When I heard them call my name I was definitely proud of how far I had come since starting in the news industry,” Conniff said. “I know I was being humble, but many of the reporters and coworkers called me and said they knew I would win because I deserved it. However it’s really a two-man team out there, my reporters definitely helped in giving me creative freedom and storytelling.”