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Newhouse School to host 20th Alexia Photojournalism Seminar and Competition

February 12, 2010

Wendy S. Loughlin
(315) 443-2785

The 20th anniversary of the Alexia Foundation will be celebrated at the annual Alexia Photojournalism Seminar and Competition on Friday, Feb. 19, and Saturday, Feb. 20, at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Over the past two decades, the foundation has awarded more than 25 scholarships for SU students to study photojournalism at SU Abroad’s London center. David Sutherland, Alexia Tsairis Endowed Chair in Documentary Photography in the Newhouse School, will host the event.

On Friday at 4 p.m. in Room 101 of Newhouse 1, the event will begin with a short ceremony honoring Peter and Aphrodite Tsairis for their commitment to Syracuse University, with remarks from SU Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric F. Spina and Suzanne Shane, associate director of SU Abroad

The Tsairises are the parents of Alexia Tsairis, a victim of the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. At the time of her death, Tsairis was a junior photojournalism student in the Newhouse School. Her parents established the Alexia Foundation, which funds the Alexia Competition to honor her memory. The annual competition seeks photographers whose work gives insight into cultural differences and voices to victims of social injustice. Five undergraduate winners—Alexia Scholars—receive tuition and grants in the student competition, and one professional photographer receives a cash grant. 

Following the ceremony, the Alexia Photojournalism Seminar will feature keynote speakers Pamela Chen ’05 and Tom Kennedy. They will also serve as judges, along with Patty Reksten, for the Alexia Competitions for students and professionals on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 101 of Newhouse 1. 

Chen is an award-winning producer, photographer and composer. She manages photography and multimedia for the Open Society Institute, where she is part of the team leading the development of the foundation’s visual communications strategy. 

Previously she was a producer with MediaStorm, where her work earned numerous industry accolades, including the national News & Documentary Emmy Award, Webby Awards and Pictures of the Year International awards in both photography and multimedia. She earned a bachelor’s degree in photography at Newhouse and was a Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan, studying journalism. 

Kennedy is an internationally known visual journalist with extensive experience in print and online journalism, including positions as managing editor for multimedia at The Washington Post and director of photography for National Geographic magazine. At The Washington Post, he conceptualized and developed the multimedia section of and created the first documentary video team to produce stories for a newspaper website.  

He has created, directed and edited visual journalism projects that have earned Pulitzer Prizes, as well as Emmy, Peabody and Edward R. Murrow awards. 

Reksten is director of photography for The Oregonian, whose picture editing staff has won numerous awards over the past several years. She joined the staff in 1988 after 14 years as a professor at the University of Montana. She received the National Press Photographers Association’s Robin F. Garland Educator Award for her role in building the photojournalism program at the University of Montana and for encouraging her students to tackle issues of importance to Native Americans. 

She has previously been a reporter, photographer, designer and editor. She is a faculty member with the Stan Kalish Picture Editing Workshops and has been a previous judge for Pictures of the Year International and numerous other state and regional contests. 

Alexia Competition winners will be announced following the close of the event. The work of past winners can be seen at

 For more information, contact Sutherland at (315) 443-3370 or

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