By Jim Colton

Last week, Sean Proctor of the Midland Daily News in Midland, Michigan, was named Photojournalist of the Year (Smaller Markets) in the NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism contest. When informed about this honor by Donald Winslow of the NPPA, Sean said, “Wow, you’re kidding!”Although Sean may have been surprised, what isn’t shocking at all is that the Midland Daily News is the “Little Paper that Could.”

They are no stranger to awards. This small circulation newspaper located in the Tri-cities region of Michigan has garnered their share at major photography contests over the years including a 3rd place this year for Photo Editing Portfolio at POYi for ALL newspapers, regardless of circulation…right behind the New York Times and the Washington Post. And they did so, without a photo editor!

The driving force behind the visuals at the newspaper are three young staff photographers; Sean Proctor, Neil Blakeand Nick King. They are a triumvirate that not only shoots the stories, but they assign them, edit them, lay them out and occasionally write them as well! They do it as a group; with implicit trust in each other.

Although Sean has been an intern at the Citizen Patriot in Jackson, Michigan and the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Virginia, this is his first full time job as a staff photographer at the Midland Daily News, joining the crew in late 2012. Neil Blake has been a staff photographer for the paper since 2011 and had internships at the Herald in Jasper, Indiana and at the Concord Monitor in Concord, New Hampshire. Prior to joining the Daily News in 2010, Nick King was a staff photographer for the Columbia Daily Tribune in Columbia, Missouri as well as serving as a photo editor at the Evergreen Newspapers in Evergreen, Colorado.

In an industry that’s being continually downsized, it’s refreshing to see good work being published on a local level and being recognized on a national one.

Read the interview here: https://nppa.org/page/midland-mi-daily-news-three-amigos