Big Night at ONA Awards

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By Kendall Trammell
ONA Newsroom

The New York Times, The Texas Tribune and the Baltimore Sun took home multiple awards at the Online News Association’s annual awards ceremony on Saturday in Los Angeles, and The Washington Post won the award for general excellence among large media outlets.

Emily Passer and David Yanofsy of QZ.com celebrate the Quartz’s award for general excellence in online journalism, small site. (Sneha Antony/ONA Newsroom)
Emily Passer and David Yanofsy of QZ.com celebrate the Quartz’s award for general excellence in online journalism, medium size site. (Sneha Antony/ONA Newsroom)

More than 130 industry professionals screened 994 entries this year and selected the semifinalists. Fifteen judges then selected the finalists and winners.

The New York Times won for online commentary with its transgender community page and sports with a World Cup interactive, and it also received the Gannett Foundation Award for Technical Innovation in the Service of Digital Journalism for AI2HTML.

The Texas Tribune won for explanatory reporting for Undrinkable, a look at water quality in the state, and topic reporting for Hurting for Work in the small organization category, and the Baltimore Sun won for breaking news and explanatory reporting in the medium organization category. Both entries were part of its Freddy Gray coverage.

Other highlights included the inaugural James E. Foley Award for Conflict Reporting, which went to Cengiz Yar, a freelance journalist who reports on Syria. He said winning the Foley Award didn’t only recognize his work.

“Today you honor James,” Yar said, “but you also honor the people he died for.”

The Rich Jaroslovsky Founder Award was awarded posthumously to Dori Maynard, who was head of the Maynard Institute for Journalism when she died. Maynard is known for her efforts to increase newsroom diversity, and was  called the “conscience of online journalism.”

Evelyn Hsu, recently named the new Executive Director of the Maynard Institute, accepted the award for Maynard. Maynard’s mother, Liz Rosen, also joined Hsu on stage to accept the award and said how pleased her daughter would to have this award.

“It’s all of you who are going to be the ones who carry on her work,” Rosen said.

The crowd gave standing ovations for both Yar and Maynard.

After announcing The Baltimore Sun as the winner of the Breaking News Award for a medium-sized news organization, an error appeared in the email recognizing its coverage of the Baltimore riots and the Freddie Gray case. It misspelled Gray’s name as “Freddy Grey.”

ONA was unaware of the error, but quickly corrected it after the organization was informed.

“It’s unfortunate that we misspelled that,” said Irving Washington, ONA deputy director, “but we are correcting the error.”

Ten of the awards came with $60,000 in prize money from the Knight Foundation, the Gannett Foundation and the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. The awards recognized stories from data journalism, multimedia, investigative journalism, public service and general excellence.

The OJAs are the only set of honors recognizing excellence in digital journalism since 2000.

The following is a complete list of the winners of this year’s OJAs:

Knight Award for Public Service

BBC WhatsApp Ebola News Service, BBC World Service, BBC News

Breaking News, Small

Charlie Hebdo Real-Time Coverage, reported.ly

Breaking News, Medium

Baltimore Riots and the Freddy Gray Case, The Baltimore Sun Staff

Breaking News, Large

Ottawa Shooting, The Globe and Mail

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Small

kbia.org, KBIA News

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Medium

qz.com, Quartz

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Large

washingtonpost.com, The Washington Post

Gannett Foundation Award for Technical Innovation in the Service of Digital Journalism

AI2HTML, The New York Times

James E. Foley Award for Conflict Reporting

Cengiz Yar

Planned News Events, Small

No finalists

Planned News Events, Medium

#MakeAlCare — The Evolution of One Voter, Meghan McCarty, KPCC, Southern California Public Radio

Planned News Events, Large

Election Party!, NPR Visuals

Explanatory Reporting, Small

Undrinkable, Alexa Ura, Neena Satija, Becca Aaronson, Emily Albracht and Ben Hasson, The Texas Tribune

Explanatory Reporting, Medium (Tie)

The 45-Minute Mystery of Freddie Gray’s Death, Kevin Rector, Greg Kohn, Adam Marton, Catherine Rentz, Amy Davis, Kenneth K. Lam and Christopher T. Assaf, The Baltimore Sun

What Does Gun Violence Really Cost?, Mark Follman, Julia Lurie, Jaeah Lee, James West, Mother Jones

Explanatory Reporting, Large (Tie)

Bees at the Brink, Star Tribune

Drugging our Kids, Karen de Sá, Dai Sugano, Paul Baca, Qin Chen, San Jose Mercury News/Bay Area News Group

Topical Reporting, Small

Hurting for Work, Jay Root and The Texas Tribune Staff

Topical Reporting, Medium

The Broken Hip, Lauren Silverman, Eric Aasen, Ryan Tainter, Dane Walters, Jeff Whittington and KERA News Staff

Topical Reporting, Large

A Year of Legal Marijuana, The Denver Post Newsroom

Online Commentary, Small

Dispatches From Syria: Marcell Shehwaro on Life in Aleppo, Marcell Shehwaro, Amira Al Hussaini, Lara AlMalakeh and Georgia Popplewell, Global Voices

Online Commentary, Medium

No Finalist

Online Commentary, Large

Transgender Today Community Page, The New York Times

Feature, Small

The Martian Diaries: What If the Curiosity Rover Kept a Scrapbook?, Science News: Alex Witze, Cori Vanchieri, Federico Castaneda, Stephen Egts, Erin Otwell, Kate Travis

Feature, Medium

Stickup Kid, FRONTLINE

Feature, Large

Beyond the Border, Melissa del Bosque, The Texas Observer, and The Guardian US Interactive Team

Rich Jaroslovsky Founder Award

Dori J. Maynard

Sports, Small

No Finalist

Sports, Medium

Girls Fight Out, Taffy Brodesser-Akner for Matter

Sports, Large

World Cup, The New York Times

Student Projects, Small

Mobile Health: Apps for Every Age and Ouch, Lynne Shallcross, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

Student Projects, Large

The Missing, NYCity News Service Staff/CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

Student Projects, Pro-Am

Gun Wars: A News21 Investigation of Rights and Regulations in America, Gun Wars News21 Staff, Arizona State University, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism

The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, Small

Profiting from Prisoners, Daniel Wagner, Eleanor Bell and Amirah Al Idrus, The Center for Public Integrity

The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, Medium

The Dark Side of the Strawberry, Bernice Yeung, Kendall Taggart, Andrew Donohue, Michael Corey & Ariane Wu, The Center for Investigative Reporting

The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, Large (Tie)

Evicted and Abandoned: The World Bank’s Broken Promise to the Poor, The Center for Public Integrity’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, The Huffington Post and Media Partners

Insult to Injury: America’s Vanishing Worker Protections, ProPublica and NPR

Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling, Small

No finalists

Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling, Medium

Space Business, Quartz: Tim Fernholz, Nikhil Sonnad, David Yanofsky, Sam Williams

Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling, Large

Markets & Finance Interactive Graphics, The Visuals Staff of The Wall Street Journal

University of Florida Award in Investigative Data Journalism, Small/Medium

Trouble with Taxes, Raquel Rutledge, Kevin Crowe, Allan James Vestal, Bill Schulz & Erin Caughey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

University of Florida Award in Investigative Data Journalism, Large

Missed Signs, Fatal Consequences: How Texas Missed Deadly Patterns and Key Pieces of Information that Could Have Helped Protect Vulnerable Children, Eric Dexheimer, Andrea Ball, Jeremy Schwartz, Laura Skelding, Kelly West, Andrew Chavez, Gabrielle Muñoz, Eric Webb, Christian McDonald, Austin American-Statesman