More than 400 journalists, technology gurus and media professionals gathered at the Marriott Copley Place in Boston for ONA’s 12th annual Online Journalism Awards Banquet. From CNN to student media outlets, the evening celebrated the best and brightest of the digital journalism field.
Hosted by the charismatic Hari Sreenivasan of PBS Newshour, the banquet was peppered with social media jokes, including a Twitter awards list featuring the most overreported and overtweeted story (the East Coast Earthquake) and the least graceful career ascension award (Anderson Cooper).
Thirty-four judges from a diverse range of media organizations and universities selected the winners at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. This elite group, composed of creative minds in the new media industry, included representatives of Storify, NPR, Facebook, CNN International and universities such as the University of North Carolina and the College of Staten Island.
Launched in 2000 by the Online News Association in partnership with the University of Miami, the Online Journalism Awards are the only such awards in the country, acknowledging outstanding digital journalism websites. Judges evaluate independent, community, nonprofit, major media and international news sites. Through the Gannett Foundation and the Knight Foundation, cash prizes totaling $33,000 accompany six awards this year.
Other major winners included those in the Breaking News category. WNYC took home an award in the small site category for its coverage of the massive snow storm that hit New York in December 2010, relying on texts from readers and listeners to create an interactive map of which streets had been plowed over the course of a week.
Al Jazeera earned the Breaking News award in the large site category to widespread applause from the audience. ONA celebrated Al Jazeera’s coverage of the uprisings in Egypt, praising it for being “informed by people affected by what was happening.”
The Los Angeles Times and Pro Publica won the Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism, receiving $2,500 each. ONA honored the Los Angeles Times for its “Breach of Faith” piece, calling it “a relentless investigation” and “the best combination of impact and innovative use of the medium.” Work on “Breach of Faith” began in spring 2010, when L.A. Times reporters Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives began looking into city government corruption in the small city of Bell in Los Angeles County. The Times’ investigation resulted in criminal charges for eight city council members, and returned millions of dollars in tax refunds to Bell residents.
Pro Publica’s series entitled “Dialysis: High Costs and Hidden Perils of Treatment for All” focused on the exorbitant costs and risks of dialysis treatment, which is funded by U.S. taxpayers under a law passed by Congress in the 1960s. ONA praised ProPublica for its “terrific storytelling” and “use of social tools.”
The Gannett Foundation also honored BBC News, the Globe and Mail, Voice of San Diego and NJ Spotlight for general excellence. Each organization received a $3,000 prize.
The Gannett Foundation focuses on funding local media projects in the communities its parent company, Gannett Co., Inc., does business. The organization also invests in community development, youth programs, education reform and other charitable causes.
The full list of winners follows:
- BBC News: General Excellence in Online Journalism, Large Site
- The Globe and Mail: General Excellence in Online Journalism, Medium Site
- Voice of San Diego: General Excellence in Online Journalism, Small Site
- NJSpotlight: General Excellence in Online Journalism, Micro Site
- LA NACION: General Excellence in Online Journalism, Non-English, Large Site
- OWNI: General Excellence in Online Journalism, Non-English, Small Site
- Al Jazeera, Coverage of the uprisings in Egypt: Breaking News, Large Site
- WNYC Radio, A Snow Storm Hits New York and WNYC Listeners Map the Cleanup: Breaking News, Small Site
- NPR Music-NPR: Specialty Site Journalism, Affiliated (Tie)
- Pipeline- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Specialty Site Journalism, Affiliated (Tie)
- Education Week, Editorial Projects in Education: Specialty Site Journalism, Independent
- The Washington Post, “Traumatic Brain Injury: Coming home a different person”: Multimedia Feature Presentation, Large Site
- CBC News, Radio- Canada, ALT Digital Design Studio, Exile Without End: Palestinians in Lebanon: Multimedia Feature Presentation, Medium Site
- MediaStorm, Crisis Guide: Pakistan- Council on Foreign Relations: Multimedia Feature Presentation, Small Site
- Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, Global Warning: Multimedia Feature Presentation, Student Site
- CNN Digital, CNN Belief Blog: Online Topical Reporting/Blogging, Large Site
- NBCChicago.com, Ward Room: Online Topical Reporting/Blogging, Medium Site
- OpenSecrets.org: Online Topical Reporting/Blogging, Small Site
- Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post: Online Commentary/Blogging, Large Site
- Zeit Online, Professional Tell-All Telephone: Outstanding Informational Graphic or Data Visualization
- Los Angeles Times, “Caught in the Crossfire: Victims of Gang Violence”: Online Video Journalism, Large Site
- CBC News, Radio-Canada, ALT Digital Design Studio, Exile Without End: Palestinians in Lebanon: Online Video Journalism, Medium Site
- UNC News21, Powering a Nation: Spilling Over: Online Video Journalism, Small Site
- University of Miami, Haiti’s Lost Children: Online Video Journalism, Student (Tie)
- University of North Carolina and Universidad Pontifica de Argentina, Now What Argentina?: Online Video Journalism, Student (Tie)
- 360 Kurdistan, The Tiziano Project: Community Collaboration
- Los Angeles Times, “Breach of Faith”: Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism, Large Site
- ProPublica, “Dialysis”: Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism, Small Site
- Flipboard: The Gannett Foundation Award for Technical Innovation in the Service of Journalism
- Asbury Park Press, “Barnegat Bay Under Stress“: Knight Award for Public Service