2023 POY Contest Judges


Jessica Phelps


Jessica Phelps has been a staff photographer for the San Antonio Express-News for the past three years. Before arriving in Texas she worked for her hometown paper in Newark, Ohio for eight years. Jessica’s work focuses on long term stories, most recently covering homelessness and tenants rights and housing issues. Jessica’s path into photojournalism was all but traditional, but she knew she wanted to be a photographer since she took her first photograph at the age of 7 with her mom’s 35mm camera.

Jessica received her BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design before spending her 20s traveling through Europe and Central and South America. Jessica’s work has been recognized by Pictures of the Year International where she was awarded Newspaper Photographer of the Year, and the National Press Photographers Association where she received the 2023 Cliff Edom New America Award and Small Market Photographers of the Year twice. Jessica was also named the Ohio News Photographers Association’s Small Market Photographer of the Year 7 years in a row.

Instagram: @jessphelps961



Jasmine Goldband


Jasmine Goldband joined The Philadelphia Inquirer as a photo editor in Aug. 2022, after working for five years as the special projects photo editor for the Houston Chronicle in Texas. The Chronicle staff earned a Pulitzer nomination in 2018 for breaking news coverage of Hurricane Harvey.

Jasmine set high standards for visual journalism across departments in print and online, earning state and national awards each year. She has served as the local representative for the Online News Association and is involved in the National Press Photographers Association. A native of Pennsylvania, Jasmine previously worked as a photojournalist and visual producer in Pittsburgh.

She spends her free time hiking in local, state and national parks.

Instagram: @fotojaz



Robert Scheer


Robert Scheer was raised in California, bought a camera on a whim, and fell in love with photojournalism while earning his biology degree at Humboldt State University. After working at several small Northern California newspapers, he joined the Indianapolis Star as a staff photographer in 1998, where he is currently. An early advocate for newspaper video, his still and video work has sent him to news and sporting events in Iraq, Greece, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, and most large cities of the United States. 

Scheer has won awards for work on numerous IndyStar projects, including a 2022 regional Emmy that details the growing trend of deaths inside Indiana’s county-run jails. Visuals on failure-to-report issues by USA Gymnastics and disgraced doctor Larry Nassar earned Scheer and IndyStar’s investigative team international recognition including IRE’s Tom Renner Award and the Missouri Honor Medal.

In 2021, Scheer pitched and helped launch a major newsroom initiative called the 317 Project, a multi-year series that showcases often-overlooked communities in Indianapolis. Scheer has been a wine writer, Kalish Workshop participant, adjunct college professor, teacher for the High School Journalism Institute, and Hearst judge. Last year, he took a six-month sabbatical in 2023 to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, and spend time with family.

Twitter and Instagram: @bobschee