About Me

Owen Ziliak (he/him) is an honors fourth-year photojournalism and political science student at the University of Missouri- Columbia. He hails from Chicago, Ill. 

Since arriving at MU, Owen has completed a myriad of photo assignments for one of Columbia’s local papers, the Columbia Missourian. Assignments range from children's Halloween parades to 21 straight hours of presidential election coverage to wildfires. In the summer of 2022, Owen was the news intern at the Sioux City Journal in Sioux City, Iowa. Owen was tasked with writing articles, taking photos and capturing video in and around Northwest Iowa. In the spring, Owen was one of ten students selected from across the world studying photojournalism at the Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX) in Aarhus, Denmark.

This past summer, Owen was a part of the Chicago Sun-Times photo staff as the paper's full-time photo intern, completing assignments in and around Chicago from late June to mid-August. 

Now, Owen is back at the Columbia Missourian as a photo editor and photographer. At the Missourian, Owen directs "Friday Night Sights," the paper's weekly visual coverage of high school football in mid-Missouri. Each week Owen selects which photographers to send to what games and briefs a group of 6-10 on expectations, advice and logistics on game days. Once the photographers return, Owen leads a team of editors to put together a comprehensive gallery of the best features from that Friday night. 

Owen is also an undergraduate assistant at the University of Missouri Journalism School. As an UGA, Owen advises grading on visual assignments and presents basics on camera function and visual storytelling to both undergraduate and graduate pre-newsroom classes. 

In September, Owen attended the 75th Missouri Photo Workshop as one of forty professional photojournalists that went on to make stories for a week in Sedalia, Mo. 

Owen’s work has appeared in the Associated Press, New York Times, San Antonio Express, Lincoln Journal Star, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Kansas City Star and many other news outlets.

Call +1 847-691-7638 or email ziliakphoto@gmail.com with questions or interest. 

Awards and Honors

2023 Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, Best Sports Feature Photograph, 2nd and 3rd place (Columbia Missourian)

2023 Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, Best Photo Package, 1st place (staff), for Wooldridge Fire coverage (Columbia Missourian) 

2023 Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, Best Photo Package, 3rd place, for "Undefeated" (Columbia Missourian)

2022 Hearst Journalism Awards’ Intercollegiate Photo Picture Story/Series competition, 16th place, for "Undefeated" (Columbia Missourian)

2023 Better Newspaper Editorial Contest, National Newspaper Association Foundation, Second Place, Best Feature Photo, Daily Division for "2022 Saturday in the Park- Black Pistol Fire" (Sioux City Journal)

2021 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards, 1st place, Feature Photography, Region 7 for "Fanning a dying flame: Missouri blacksmiths are keeping a centuries-old art alive" (Vox Magazine)

2022 LION Local Journalism Awards- Finalist, Outstanding Coverage, Medium/Large Revenue Tier for coverage on homelessness in Columbia, Mo. (Columbia Missourian)

2023 STL Press Club Karlheinz and Doris Finzel Scholarship for Photojournalism

Kodak Professional Photography Scholars Fund Recipient, January 2021-Present

Erasmus+ Grant Recipient

Dean’s List- All semesters (Fall 2020-Spring 2023)

Using Format