Online Journalism Awards Categories

The categories for the 2016 Online Journalism Awards are listed below.

Category List

A more detailed description for each award category 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. Make sure all information is correct before submitting.


Breaking News

This category honors digital coverage throughout an unplanned breaking or developing news event. Judges will weigh evidence of exceptional journalism, quality of writing, use of other media and creative use of digital and mobile platforms under deadline pressure. All work submitted must have been produced during or immediately following the originating news event. In addition to content, entrants are strongly encouraged to provide screenshots or other evidence from the first minutes and hours after the event to clarify publication times and how coverage developed over time.

Three awards:

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large

Planned News/Events

This category honors excellence in planning and executing the coverage of a significant news event that was known or scheduled in advance, such as an election, sporting event or awards show. Judges will consider the quality of the journalism; the digital production and design of the coverage; and the ways in which digital, social, mobile and other platforms were employed to reach, inform and engage with the audience.

Three awards:

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large

Explanatory Reporting

This category honors excellence in explanatory journalism through digital means. Entries should explain the relevance and impact of a meaningful, complex or abstract subject to audiences through clear storytelling and presentation. Judges will consider the quality of the journalism; the digital production and design of the coverage; and the ways in which digital, social, mobile, and other platforms are employed to reach, inform, and engage with the audience.

Three awards:

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large

Topical Reporting

This category honors regular reporting by an individual or team on a specific topic or beat. The work should display regular success at breaking news online and ongoing watchdog coverage. Judges will consider use of social tools to coalesce a participatory, online community around the topic being covered; the quality of the journalism; the digital production and design of the coverage; and the ways in which digital, social, mobile and other platforms are employed to reach, inform and engage with the audience. Entries should consist of three to five work samples.

Three awards:

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large

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, including mobile. Judges will give added weight to the 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.)

One award

Sports

This category honors excellence in online journalism covering sports stories and sporting events. Successful entries not only demonstrate the highest standards of journalism, but also the digital production and design of the coverage; and the ways in which digital, social, mobile and other platforms are employed to reach, inform and engage with the audience.

Three awards:

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large

Feature

This category honors excellence in online feature journalism, such as profiles, analyses or reviews. Successful entries not only demonstrate the highest standards of journalism, but also the digital production and design of the coverage, and the ways in which digital, social, mobile and other platforms are employed to reach, inform and engage with the audience.

Three awards:

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large

The David Teeuwen Student Journalism Award

This category honors an excellent student package or project that expertly uses digital storytelling and technologies regarding a specific story or topic to inform its audience. Judges will consider the quality of the journalism; the digital production and design of the coverage; and the ways in which digital, social, mobile and other platforms are employed to reach, inform and engage with the audience.

Three awards:

  • Small ($500 prize)
  • Large ($500 prize)
  • Pro-Am

The University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism

This award, made possible by the estate of Lorraine Dingman, honors work that best features and presents data journalism on digital and mobile platforms. The award will focus on the effectiveness of the data to tell a story, how well the data is presented to users, the journalistic impact and relevance of the data, and the design and functionality of the data presentation. Judges will also take into account the difficulty in acquiring the data. Winners will be asked to travel to the University of Florida (expenses paid) to lead full-day workshops.

Two awards, $15,000 in total prize money:

  • Small/Medium ($7,500 prize)
  • Large ($7,500 prize)

Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling

This award honors exceptional and innovative efforts in telling stories through visual means: photos, graphics, illustrations, video, virtual reality or other emerging media. Judges will consider the quality and impact of the visuals, the selection of media and the effectiveness of the visuals. Judges also will give special attention to the originality, innovation and creativity being brought to bear to tell stories that are truly of digital and mobile platforms.

Three awards:

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large

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 or platform significantly enhancing the practice of online journalism. Entrants will be judged on the extent to which the technology serves online and mobile news gathering, production, presentation or distribution. In addition to providing a URL 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, $5,500 prize

The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award

This category, supported by the Gannett Foundation, honors a single or a series of stories that uncover major news based on the reporters’ own investigations that advance and serve the public interest. Clear presentation through user interface and interactivity, creative use of the medium and platforms (including mobile), 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 five examples, including articles, blog posts, videos, graphics, podcasts, etc.

Three awards, $12,000 in total prize money:

  • Small ($4,000 prize)
  • Medium ($4,000 prize)
  • Large ($4,000 prize)

Knight Award for Public Service

This award recognizes digital journalism that performs a public service for a defined and specific community through compelling coverage of a vital community issue or event. Entries will be judged on use of new media techniques to gather, compile, analyze and/or present information vital to the story. Judges also will consider use of varied digital and mobile 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 community’s welfare and quality of life 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

General Excellence in Online Journalism

This category, supported by the Gannett Foundation, honors a digitally focused news organization 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, a superb user experience and the use of social tools and other digital media to reach, inform and engage audiences.

Three awards, $15,000 in total prize money:

  • Small ($5,000 prize)
  • Medium ($5,000 prize)
  • Large ($5,000 prize)

The following awards are not for submission; honorees are recommended and selected by committee:

The James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting

This award honors a digital journalist who produces excellent reporting under the most challenging conditions, covering war, corruption, crime, culture and politics in countries around the world.

The Rich Jaroslovsky Founder Award

This award honors an individual who has significantly advanced or made lasting contributions to the field of digital journalism through their work in the industry, and who exhibits extraordinary commitment to the journalistic values and ethics ONA represents.