Launched in 2000, the Online Journalism Awards are administered by Online News Association (ONA) — the world’s largest membership group of digital journalists — and are the only comprehensive set of journalism prizes honoring excellence in digital journalism, focusing on independent, community, nonprofit, major media and international news sites.
The ONA will sound familiar to IP readers. Last year we looked at some of its Online News 2015 Challenge Fund for Innovation award winners and in doing so, noted that the association believes it takes a village to move the field of online journalism forward. The fund is a collaborative effort whose partners include the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation.
The ONA's recently announced Online Journalism Awards adhere to the same philosophy. Various partner foundations like the Gannett Foundation and Knight bestow their own awards under the ONA umbrella. For example, the Texas Tribune, Quartz, AJ+ Digital News Publishing, and The New York Times each took home a $3,000 General Excellence Award, courtesy of the Gannett Foundation.
Meanwhile, the Knight Award for Public Service, with a $5,000 prize from the Knight Foundation, went to the Huffington Post for "Prisons Reporting," showing that in addition to its embrace of cool new digital innovations and concepts like "community platform collaboration," the grantmaker appreciates good oldfashioned investigative reporting.
A group of 76 industry-leading journalists and new media professionals, led by ONA Board member and OJA Chair David Smydra, teamed up to screen entrants and select finalists. Twenty judges, representing a diverse cross-section of the industry, then conferred to determine winners from independent, community, nonprofit, major media, start-up and international news sites.
The ONA also named documentary photographer and freelance photojournalist Sima Diab the recipient of the 2016 James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting for her "unflinching coverage of the lives and living conditions of Arabs around the world." Journalist and teacher Steve Buttry was honored with the 2016 Rich Jaroslovsky Founder Award for his "longtime work in digital media, including innovations in social and community engagement."
Check out the full list of winners here.