2012 Online Journalism Awards finalists announced

By on August 29, 2012

2012 Online Journalism Awards finalists announced

Update Oct. 2: The CBC’s entry in the Online Commentary, Medium category has been removed as a finalist, at the CBC’s request, because is was unintentionally entered in the wrong size category. The change did not affect the winner in this category. Also removed was the finalist and winner for the Feature, Medium category, originally awarded to the Globe and Mail, which placed its entry into the wrong size category. For more details, please see this post.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Finalists for the 2012 Online Journalism Awards, many pushing the envelope of innovation and excellence in digital storytelling and distribution, were announced today by the Online News Association and its academic partner, the School of Communication at the University of Miami.

A group of 34 industry-leading journalists and new media professionals teamed up to review entrants and select finalists. Twelve of those judges, representing a diverse cross-section of the industry, and 12 more internationally conferred to determine winners from independent, community, nonprofit, major media and international news sites.

The results will be announced at the 2012 ONA Conference and Online Journalism Awards Banquet on Saturday, Sept. 22, in San Francisco.

This year, ONA introduced category changes to ensure the awards maintain their innovative front edge by breaking out content by topic; categorizing entries by staff size rather than audience metrics, and assuming the use of the latest digital platforms and technologies. Ten awards come with a total of nearly $33,000 in prize money, courtesy of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Gannett Foundation, which also is supporting innovative investigative work with three $2,500 awards.

“Once again, we were overwhelmed with the quality of work submitted,” said ONA Board member Josh Hatch, who, along with the Associated Press’ Director of Global Product Operations Ruth Gersh, co-chairs the Online Journalism Awards Committee. “The use of multimedia, the power of data and social media, and the ability of journalists to integrate them to inform, entertain, and emotionally connect with readers has set a high water mark.”

Here are the finalists, in alphabetical order:

Knight Award for Public Service

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Small

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Medium

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Large

General Excellence, Non-English, Small/Medium

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

Breaking News, Medium

Breaking News, Large

Planned News/Events, Small

Planned News/Events, Medium

Planned News/Events, Large

Explanatory Reporting, Small

Explanatory Reporting, Medium

Explanatory Reporting, Large

Topical Reporting, Small

Topical Reporting, Medium

Topical Reporting, Large

Online Commentary, Small

Online Commentary, Medium

Online Commentary, Large

Feature, Small

Feature, Medium

Feature, Large

Feature, Student

Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism, Small

Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism, Medium

Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism, Large

Non-English Projects, Small/Medium

Non-English Projects, Large

News and Online Commentary, Student

The judges of this year’s awards were:

  • Rich Beckman, Knight Chair in Visual Journalism, University of Miami
  • Heather Billings, News Applications Developer, Chicago Tribune
  • Paul Bucci, Director, Digital Products, Pacific News Group
  • Neil Budde, CEO, Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network
  • Jeanne Carstensen, former Executive Managing Editor, The Bay Citizen
  • Ron Coddington, AME Visuals, Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Anil Dash, Founder, ThinkUp and Activate
  • Kat Downs, Interactive Projects Editor, Washington Post
  • Kathleen Ehrlich, Director of Digital Content, New York Public Radio
  • Alex Howard, Technology Writer and Editor, O’Reilly Radar
  • Elise Hu, Digital Editorial Coordinator, NPR
  • Rich Jaroslovsky, Technology Columnist, Bloomberg News; ONA founding president
  • Mark Katches, Editorial Director, Center for Investigative Reporting
  • Scott Klein, Editor of News Applications, ProPublica; Co-Founder of DocumentCloud
  • Colin Mulvany, Photojournalist and Multimedia Producer, The Spokesman-Review
  • Tasneem Raja, Digital Interactive Editor, Mother Jones
  • Ju-Don Roberts, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Everyday Health
  • Zach Seward, Senior Editor, Quartz
  • Will Sullivan, Mobile Product Manager, Broadcasting Board of Governors
  • Ryan Thornburg, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina
  • Matt Waite, Professor, University of Nebraska
  • Ben Welsh, Database Producer, L.A. Times
  • Dave Wright, Digital Design Director, NPR
  • Chrys Wu, User Engagement Strategist, Matchstrike LLC

Non-English Awards:

  • Rosental Alves, Director, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, University of Texas, Austin
  • Paul Brannan, Independent Digital News Consultant, London
  • Arianna Ciccone, International Journalism Festival, Perugia, Italy
  • Wang Feng, Online Editor, South China Morning Post, Hong Kong
  • Katie King, Senior Product Manager, MSN UK, London; ONA board member
  • Tetyana Lokot, Head of New Media Sequence, Mohyla School of Journalism, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
  • Dorothy Parvaz, Online Journalist, Al Jazeera English, Doha, Qatar
  • Angela Pimenta, PATRI Políticas Públicas, São Paulo
  • Eric Scherer, Director of Future Media, France Televisions, Paris
  • Mario Tedeschini-Lalli, Deputy Director Innovation and Development, Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso, Rome; ONA board member
  • Nick Wrenn, Vice President of Digital Services, CNN International, Atlanta
  • Jose Zamora, Univision News, Miami

Judges were recused from discussing categories in which their own organizations were entered.

The judges did not name finalists in the Breaking News, Small and Explanatory Reporting, Student categories.

ONA did not receive enough entries to judge the General Excellence, Non-English, Large category. Those entrants have been notified and refunded. In addition, three student categories were combined to make up the News and Online Commentary, Student category. Those entrants have been notified.

Launched in 2000, the OJAs are the only comprehensive set of journalism prizes honoring excellence in digital journalism. OJA judging is accomplished in partnership with the University of Miami’s School of Communication. 

About ONA
The Online News Association is the world’s largest association of online journalists. ONA’s mission is to inspire innovation and excellence among journalists to better serve the public. The membership includes news writers, producers, designers, editors, bloggers, technologists, photographers, academics, students and others who produce and distribute news for digital delivery systems. ONA also hosts the annual Online News Association annual conference and administers the Online Journalism Awards.

About the University of Miami School of Communication
The University of Miami School of Communication prepares analytical and responsible communication professionals for success in a global society. The School offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism, broadcasting, advertising, public relations, visual journalism, communication studies and motion pictures. The School’s state of the art, all-digital facilities and resources are among the most advanced in the country. Approximately 1,500 students are enrolled.

About Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

About the Gannett Foundation
The Gannett Foundation is a corporate foundation sponsored by Gannett Co., Inc. whose mission is to invest in the future of the communities in which Gannett does business, and in the future of our industry. It supports projects that take a creative approach to fundamental issues such as education and neighborhood improvement, economic development, youth development, community problem-solving, assistance to disadvantaged people, environmental conservation and cultural enrichment.


Jennifer Mizgata

Jennifer Mizgata is Director of Programs at the Online News Association, where she leads the Women's Leadership Accelerator. At ONA, Jennifer focuses on identifying talented digital journalists and innovative journalism projects and providing them with support. Jennifer is a business and design strategist with over a decade of experience creating industry-changing training programs, investing in award-winning projects, and managing key relationships with journalism partners and tech stakeholders. She regularly coaches managers, senior leaders and entrepreneurs on challenges related to their careers and launching new ventures. Jennifer shares advice for navigating tough work challenges in Work Space, a monthly column for Fortune.