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2014 Online Journalism Awards finalists announced

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Finalists for the 2014 Online Journalism Awards, representing a wide range of nonprofit, public, academic, major media, and emerging technology organizations from around the globe, were announced today by the Online News Association.

This year, the OJA categories were updated to keep up with the rapidly evolving media industry with new data journalism and enhanced investigative awards. Ten of the awards now come with a total of $52,500 in prize money, courtesy of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Gannett Foundation, and The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. These awards honor data journalism, visual digital storytelling, investigative journalism, public service, technical innovation, and general excellence.

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Ferguson events spark statement and ‘help kit’

In the wake of the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the unrest that continues, ONA offers the following information and tools for journalists covering this or similar situations.

Hashtag: The RCFP has set up #fmomediahotline (the “fmo” stands for Ferguson, Mo.) as a hashtag for those who want to publicize incidents of interference. RCFP will be monitoring this tag, and we encourage others to as well.

Hotline: Any journalist can call (800) 336-4243 if they’ve been arrested or need other legal assistance.

If you’re a journalist in need of specific legal help, here are some attorneys who can (not that news organizations will need to negotiate fees directly):

  • Benjamin Lipman (; 314-444-7886) of Lewis, Rice & Fingersh, L.C., is involved in these issues and has been in contact with police.
  • Anthony Rothert ( of the Missouri ACLU has been working with police, and has a signed agreement with the heads of the state, county and local police over allowing the press and public to not be stopped when photographing events.

On Aug. 15, ONA joined The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) and a coalition of 47 national media organizations that sent a protest letter objecting to the treatment of reporters during the recent events. The letter was sent to the heads of the city and county police, as well as the state highway patrol.

“Officers on the ground must understand that gathering news and recording police activities are not crimes,” the letter states. “The actions in Ferguson demonstrate a lack of training among local law enforcement in the protections required by the First Amendment as well as the absence of respect for the role of news-gatherers. We implore police leadership to rectify this failing to ensure that these incidents do not occur again.” The letter pointed out that the Department of Justice and several federal courts have all made clear that photographing police officers who are performing their duites is protected by the First Amendment. This right applies equally to the news media and the general public.

See more here.

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ONA Weekly #19

 ONA Weekly No. 19

Explore digital security for journalists

In a world where digital security is often compromised, how do you protect your devices, your data and your sources? Come explore tools that journalists are using now and create prototypes for new tools and processes at ONA dCamp: Digital Security, Aug. 23 at NPR in Washington, D.C.

Upcoming events:

Seeking digital media leaders for ONA’s Board

Passionate about media and have big ideas about what digital journalists need to succeed? You belong on the ONA Board of Directors. Apply or nominate someone for our 2015 Board of Directors by Aug. 15.

What we’re reading:

Some recent posts we’ve highlighted on the ONA Issues Tumblr:

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Google ordered to unseal documents without redacting

In a major victory for press access, on Aug. 6, Google was ordered to unseal the majority of documents sought in a Feb. 19 brief joined by ONA relating to a class-action civil suit against the search engine giant in which users of its gmail service accused the company of violating wiretap laws. The court held that Google, and companies like it, must offer “compelling reasons” for the sealing of documents filed in support of or opposition to class certification, and that the transcript of the class certification hearing held in open court, which Google had sought to redact, cannot be redacted retroactively. Watch for updates on where to access the documents.

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Meet ONA’s MJ Bear Fellows, under-30 journalism stand-outs

The Online News Association, the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, today announced its fourth class of MJ Bear Fellows, three journalists under age 30 whose innovative work in independent, community and corporate news represents the best of new media.

The selection committee combed through applications from six countries to choose these up-and-coming digital journalists — two in the United States or Canada and one international, in partnership with MSN International — who are making their voices heard in the industry.

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