World Press Story of the Year 2022

“Saving Forests with Fire” Matthew Abbott is this year's World Press Story of the Year in the World Press Photo Contest 2022, announced online on April 9th. Abbott's entry was voted best photo story out of six regional winners. In addition to the announcement of the World Press Story of the Year, the other awards of the competition announced.

By: Thijs Borcheld

World Press Photo Exhibition 2022 Groningen
"Saving Forests with Fire" Matthew Abbott for National Geographic/Panos Pictures

In 2021, fires devastated several parts of the planet, from Greece to Siberia. Saving Forests with Fire by Matthew Abbott depicts how the Australian Nawarddeken protect their habitat from forest fires by making strategic use of fire. Nawarddeken are the traditional inhabitants of the West Arnhem Land area in northern Australia.

World Press Story of the Year Award

The well-known categories have been replaced this year with six regions with four global winners. In addition to a single image, a series is awarded the World Press Story of the Year Award. 

Abbott said: “This story goes back a long time. In 2008, I was living and working in Arnhem Land and I was invited to a bush walk with the Nawarddeken people. That's where I met them for the first time and I learned how they were caring for their country. Over 10 years later, I returned, this time with National Geographic, to work on a story about how the Nawarddeken people are strategically burning their lands to prevent destructive wildfires and how this process is actually helping to save the environment.” 

Global jury chair Rena Effendi about this story: "It was so well put together that you cannot even think of the images in disparate ways. You look at it as a whole, and it was a seamless narrative." 

Abbotts visual story can be admired at the end of 2022 during the NonFiction Photo Festival as part of the World Press Photo Exhibition in Groningen.


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NonFiction Photo Festival Groningen
November – December 2022
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