The category descriptions for the 2012 Online Journalism Awards are listed below.
Please read entry requirements carefully. Entries in some categories require more information. For detailed eligibility requirements, see the Rules & Eligibility.
After filling out entry forms for all of your entries across all categories, pay for all of your entries with one payment. Once filling out an entry form, you will not be able to go back and edit your entry. Make sure all information is correct before submitting.
Entries for the 2012 Online Journalism Awards are closed.
2012 Online Journalism Awards Categories
1. KNIGHT AWARD FOR PUBLIC SERVICE
This award recognizes digital journalism that performs a public service for a defined and specific geographic community through compelling coverage of a vital community issue or event. Entries will be judged on their use of new media techniques to gather, compile, analyze and/or present information vital to the story. They also will be judged on their use of varied digital techniques and resources to engage the community by reporting on the issue or event in question. Journalism that makes a difference and motivates people to act to improve the place in which they live will be emphasized. The impact of the coverage on the community will be a major factor in the judging. Entries may be a single package or continuing project and may consist of one main URL and up to five supporting URLs. Evidence of the project’s public service impact should be provided either as one of the supporting URLs or in the entry description.
One award, $5,000 prize
2. GENERAL EXCELLENCE IN ONLINE JOURNALISM
This category honors an ongoing publication/app that successfully fulfills its editorial mission, effectively serves its audience, maximizes the use of digital tools and platforms, and represents the highest journalistic standards. Entries will be judged on quality of journalism, use of social tools, creative use of the medium and platform, user interface and interactivity.
Five awards, $3,000 prize each:
Note: Entrants must submit the following information to qualify:
- URLs to three examples of original online reporting in the last 12 months that showcase the quality of online journalism.
- List and explain three examples of user interface and interactive innovation and how each has helped users.
- List and explain three examples of creative use of online technology in the last 12 months, ranging from new types of digital journalism, to multimedia, to user interactivity.
- A brief explanation of how social tools are used to reach out to and include the audience in the work.
- URLs to any documentary evidence from professional organizations or peers that support the entry; for instance, awards, special funding, or praise from journalism professionals and online innovators.
3. GANNETT FOUNDATION AWARD FOR TECHNICAL INNOVATION IN THE SERVICE OF DIGITAL JOURNALISM
This award honors a person or company, journalistic in focus or not, that has built a digital tool significantly enhancing the practice of online journalism. Entrants will be judged on the extent to which the tool transforms aspects of online news gathering, production, presentation or distribution as well as the breadth of the tool’s adoption in the journalistic community. In addition to providing aURL that explains the tool, entrants are strongly encouraged to submit up to three URLs where the tool is in use and an explanation, if necessary.
One award, $5,000 prize
4. BREAKING NEWS
This category honors digital coverage throughout a 72-hour period of an unplanned breaking-news event or development. Judges will weigh evidence of exceptional journalism, quality of writing, use of other media and creative use of digital platforms under deadline pressure. All work submitted must have been produced within a 72-hour period following the originating news event. In addition to content produced during the 72-hour window, entrants are strongly encouraged to provide screen shots, or other evidence, from the first minutes and hours after the event to clarify what was published within the 72-hour breaking news window.
5. PLANNED NEWS/EVENTS
This category honors excellence in covering a story that was known or planned ahead of time (i.e., an election, sporting event, awards show, etc.). Judges will consider the quality of the journalism, design, creative and appropriate uses of media, and the ways in which digital platforms are maximized to engage and inform audiences.
6. EXPLANATORY REPORTING
This category honors excellence in explanatory journalism through digital means. Entries should explain a relevant, meaningful and complex subject to audiences through clear story-telling and presentation. Judges will consider the quality of the journalism, design, creative and appropriate uses of media, and the ways in which digital platforms are maximized to engage and inform audiences.
7. TOPICAL REPORTING
This category honors regular reporting by an individual or team on a specific topic or beat. (Past winners include space program coverage and defense reporting.) The work should display regular success at breaking news online and ongoing watchdog coverage. In addition to the high quality of journalism, the best entries use social tools to coalesce a participatory, online community around the topic being covered. Additionally, judges will consider the quality of the journalism, design, creative and appropriate uses of media, and the ways in which digital platforms are maximized to engage and inform audiences. Entries should consist of three sample works.
8. ONLINE COMMENTARY
This category honors a unique and powerful voice of commentary original to the web. The journalism should display freshness of insight and explanation, as well as demonstrate a creative use of the medium and platforms. Judges will give added weight to use of social tools to attract user response or action, or to form and sustain a community. An entry may consist of up to three examples, including columns, blog posts, videos, graphics, podcasts, etc. (Print syndication after initial digital posting does not disqualify an entry; however, entries consisting of online publication of print-first content are not eligible.)
This category honors excellence in online feature journalism (such as profiles, analyses, reviews, etc.). Successful entries not only demonstrate the highest standards of journalism, but also make creative and appropriate uses of media and design, and maximize digital platforms to engage and inform audiences.
10. GANNETT FOUNDATION AWARD FOR INNOVATIVE INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM
This category honors a series of stories that uncover major news based on the reporters’ own investigations. Clear presentation through user interface and interactivity, creative use of the medium and platforms, use of social tools and evidence of the impact of the publication will be considered. An entry will consist of a single piece, series or package on the same subject, including an explanation detailing the investigation’s impact. An entry may consist of up to three examples, including articles, blog posts, videos, graphics, podcasts, etc.
Three awards, $2,500 prize each:
11. NON-ENGLISH PROJECTS
This category honors an excellent non-English package or project that expertly uses digital storytelling to inform its audience regarding a specific story or topic. Judges will consider the quality of the journalism, design, creative and appropriate uses of media, and the ways in which digital platforms are maximized to engage and inform audiences.