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The Wall Street Journal,, Baltimore Sun and BBC News take home 2015 Online Journalism Awards

LOS ANGELES — Coverage of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the Baltimore riots in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death and the shootings in Canadian Parliament took top honors Saturday night at the 2015 Online Journalism Awards, which ended the Online News Association Conference.

At the 15th annual awards dinner, ONA also announced Cengiz Yar, a documentary photographer and freelance photojournalist who is founding Board member of the Frontline Freelance Registry, as the first recipient of the James Foley Award, honoring work by reporters in conflict zones and named for the Global Post freelancer killed in Syria in August. The late journalist Dori J. Maynard also was honored with the Rich Jaroslovsky Founder Award for her tireless work in promoting diversity in media.

New start-up, the Baltimore Sun and The Globe and Mail dominated the Breaking News categories. The $15,000 University of Florida Awards in Investigative Data Journalism were won by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s deep data dive into tax assessments and the Austin American-Statesman for “Missed Signs, Fatal Consequences,” a look at Texas’ failure to help protect vulnerable children. The newest category, sports, was won by Taffy Brodesser-Akner for Matter on the first all-female cast of ultimate fighters, and The New York Times for its “web-native storytelling” around the World Cup.

Each winner of the three General Excellence Awards — The Washington Post, Quartz ( and KBIA News ( — took home a $6,166 prize, courtesy of the Gannett Foundation. The Knight Award for Public Service, with a $5,000 prize from the Knight Foundation, went to BBC World Service, BBC News for its use of WhatsApp in response to the Ebola crisis. The New York Times won the $5,500 Technical Innovation in the Service of Digital Journalism Award for its open-source graphics tool, ai2html.

Here are the winners in each category, with links to their winning entries:

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Online News Association to expand local journalism training with $828,000 from Knight Foundation

Posted in News

LOS ANGELES — The Online News Association today announced that it will expand its program connecting and training journalists in communities across the United States with a $828,000 grant from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Knight support will significantly help build on the success of ONA Local groups, which bring together journalists, technologists and educators, providing them with digital training and peer-to-peer learning. ONA will bring more resources to its 50 current local groups and create groups in 20 new communities, and develop partnerships with leading journalism and tech organizations.

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Why local journalists can help save local journalism

By Jane McDonnell, Executive Director

Never underestimate the power of connections. In 2008, the Online News Association launched ONA Local, groups of like-minded journalists in cities large and small who organized themselves — meeting up in bars, swapping war stories, sharing the excitement and fears they felt about the potential of this digital journalism thing.

Seven years later, there are 50 unique groups around the world representing 10,000 participants, ranging from the largest (2,000-plus in Washington, D.C., and New York) to the smallest (29 and growing in Detroit) to the newest (ONA Singapore). Events range from simple get-togethers to sophisticated monthly meetups with high-end speakers and trainers. They all share ideas for innovative ways to cover news, spark collaborations, use the latest tools, and job openings.

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We recently announced a generous grant from the Knight Foundation to expand and strengthen ONA Local groups across the U.S. We know you might have questions about the program and how it will work. If you don’t see an answer to your question below, just let us know at

If you’re interested in starting or leading an ONA Local group in your town, city or state, please fill out this form, and we’ll follow up with you as we plan for 2016.

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Online News Association launches free Build Your Own Ethics Code at 2015 conference

LOS ANGELESThe Online News Association today launched a fully crowd-sourced tool that allows journalists to easily customize and publish a digital ethics code.

The Build Your Own Ethics Code platform, supported by a $40K grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, addresses the intense interest and concern in the digital journalism community around the growing ethical issues unique to social media, technology and the viral nature and speed of breaking news.

Using the tool, journalists can review and easily select statements from a menu addressing more than 40 ethical issues, including user-generated content, verification, data journalism, social networks, suicide, graphic visuals, hostage situations, privacy, gender and ethnicity and hate speech. They then can tailor a code and export it for publication and internal use.

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