Online News Association logoThe Online News Association (ONA) recently held its 12th annual Online Journalism Awards banquet in Boston, MA. The ONA, a nonprofit trade organization for digital journalists, started the awards in collaboration with the University of Miami to honor excellence in digital journalism around the world.

For the first time this year, entries for the awards were open to news produced for any digital platform or device. The judging panel consisted of a group of 34 journalists and new media professionals, including representatives from Storify, NPR, Facebook, and CNN International.

BBC News won a General Excellence Award, with the judges calling its online operation a “standard bearer, pushing the whole field forward” and “strong in leveraging tech for journalism.” The Globe and Mail, Voice of San Diego, NJ Spotlight, OWNI and LA NACION also won General Excellence Awards in their respective categories. The Los Angeles Times (“Breach of Faith”) and Pro Publica (“Dialysis: High Costs and Hidden Perils of Treatment Guaranteed for All”) each won an award for Innovative Investigative Journalism. The Asbury Park Press took home the Knight Award for Public Service for “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” a story that deals with overdevelopment and pollution’s effects on the largest coastal bay in New Jersey.

WNYC took home a Breaking News award for its coverage of the December 2010 snowstorm in New York. Al Jazeera earned the same award in the large site category for its coverage of the Egyptian uprisings. Mohamed Nanabhay, head of new media at Al Jazeera English, said of the award, “Not much can compare to being an active part of such a tumultuous period of history, however acknowledgement from your professional peers is something to savour.”

Prize money for the awards, totaling $33,000, is funded through grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Gannett Foundation. A full list of winners can be found on the ONA blog for the event.

The OJA banquet, hosted this year by Hari Sreenivasan of PBS Newshour, is part of the annual ONA Conference. The event, which ran September 22-24, had an estimated attendance of 1,200 international journalists and consisted of training, networking, and workshop opportunities in addition to a career fair.

Sarah Marshall, technology correspondent at, compiled a great roundup of attendees’ thoughts about the conference, including:

A two-part post by university lecturer Sue Newhook on the top 10 tech trends is one to read and bookmark. It has links to handy tools and news of developing technologies. Part two of the post is here.

There is also a must-read Storify created by Craig Kanalley, an editor at the Huffington Post, with 13 key takeaways told in 13 tweets.

The 10,000 Words blogs has a series of posts, including on how to find and create an awesome web apps team and be a rockstar data developer, on verifying images and information from social media and this guide explaining how to create visual interactives In news time.

In other ONA-related news, the organization will be administering a new scholarship intended to foster digital journalism skills, funded by The Associated Press and Google. The program will provide six $20,000 awards for the 2012-2013 academic year. Applications are currently being accepted and recipients will be chosen in Spring 2012.

Source: “12th Annual Online Journalism Awards,” ONA11 Boston blog, 09/24/11
Source: “BBC News wins top online journalism award,”, 09/26/11
Source: “#ONA11: Essential lessons from the Online News Association conference,”, 09/26/11
Image: Online News Association logo, used under Fair Use: Reporting.

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