Introducing our 2021 strategy 

To offer a more global and better geographic balance of perspectives, we are launching a new regionally focused strategy. This comes after many hours of consultation with people inside and outside the organization, and is only one step on a longer journey.

Read more about the strategy from Joumana El Zein Khoury, executive director.

Read more about the changes to the annual World Press Photo Contest from Anna Leha Mehr, Contest director.

This strategy does not change our mission, it better enables us to live up to our name:

  • World - We will address the imbalance of entries we currently have to better include voices and stories from all regions, while better connecting with people around the world through our exhibitions and other work.
  • Press - We will continue to adjust our definition of what “press” is to accommodate the realities on the ground, and the changed media landscape, while staying committed to quality, relevancy and our mission.
  • Photo - We put a renewed emphasis on photojournalism and documentary photography, in all its forms.

Major changes

  • Contest - As a step towards increasing the level of international representation, the 2022 Photo Contest will work with a regional system that includes six regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Central America, South America, and Southeast Asia and Oceania. We are also introducing new categories and adapting our judging process and rules. Read more.
  • Exhibitions - We continue with physical exhibitions as a core part of our work. We will offer new formats to reach people in more countries. Production will also take place more regionally and locally when feasible.
  • Impact - We will be more vocal about areas where we hope to have an impact (freedom of expression, multiplicity of voices, stories you can trust, equality within the industry).
  • Education - We will restart our masterclass program with a regional focus, and work to educate our audiences about visual literacy.
  • Partners - We will connect with regional partners to work with on a strategic level.
  • Advisors - An International Advisory Committee has been formed to help us in this journey. 

Questions and answers

What are the main difference with the new strategy?
With the new strategy, we are putting our focus on the "World" in World Press Photo and concentrating on photography, in all its forms. To do so, we will adopt a regional approach that includes changes to our contest, exhibitions and education programs.

For more information about the changes, hear from Joumana El Zein Khoury.

What programs are discontinued?
The goal of the 6x6 Global Talent Program was to increase diversity and encourage a multiplicity of voices and stories, and since that is central to the new strategy a separate program is no longer needed.

Mostly, we will not do one-off projects like the Solutions Visual Journalism Initiative and West Africa Visual Journalism Fellowship.

The masterclass program will be restarted, but reshaped to fit the regional model.

Why did we choose these six regions?

The six regions were chosen because of a geographical model that we’ve previously worked with, based on the classification of countries and regions according to the UN M49 standard. Our aim is to increase diversity whilst keeping each region a manageable size. We do recognize, however, that no grouping is perfect. Read more about changes to the contest.

How will the judging work?
Regional juries will first make a selection of entries in each category. Each regional jury has a chair responsible for maintaining the integrity of the process, ensuring the deliberations are conducted in accordance with the highest standards, and that all jury members are fully involved in the judging process.

Once the regional juries have made their selection, the global jury will then select both regional and global winners. Read more about the judging process.

Why are we choosing to adjust the information given about photographers to the jury?
To truly be representative of the world, it is key that a percentage of photographers are local to the region they are photographing in. Both local and external viewpoints are valuable, but there was not enough balance between the two in our previous contests.

We have, therefore, decided to provide the jury with a limited amount of information about the photographer, to tackle the issues of regional and gender representation. The photographer’s name will not be disclosed at any point during the jury process.

We feel this process is fair and effective, and will result in a better selection of winning images while improving the balance of diversity across them. Read more about the process.

Why is there no longer a Digital Storytelling Contest?
In line with our renewed focus on photography, there will no longer be a separate Digital Storytelling Contest, but a new Open Format category within the overall contest. Some winners from last year’s Digital Storytelling Contest would qualify for the Open Format category.

There is still a lot about how we will achieve all of this that is being figured out. If you have additional questions, ideas, thoughts or comments, please feel free to contact us at or on social media.