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12th Annual Online Journalism Awards (slideshow)

12th Annual Online Journalism Awards (slideshow)

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.

Awards for General Excellence in Online Journalism went to BBC News, the Globe and Mail and NJ Spotlight. ONA recognized each publication for thorough reporting and engaging design.

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:


Lauren Furniss

Lauren Furniss is a senior double-majoring in Broadcast Journalism and International Relations at the University of Southern California. She is an Executive Producer and News Anchor at Annenberg TV News, USC's student-run news broadcast. For the last two summers, Lauren has interned at print publications in Asia. In 2010, she worked at The Japan Times based in Tokyo and this summer, she interned at Time Out Shanghai magazine in Shanghai, China.

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