Seattle Times, ProPublica, NPR take home 2014 Online Journalism Awards

By on September 27, 2014

See video of the Online Journalism Awards ceremony here.

Coverage of natural disasters and health care as well as the making of a T-shirt took top honors Saturday night at the 2014 Online Journalism Awards, which ended the Online News Association Conference.

At the 14th annual awards dinner, ONA also announced a new award for 2015, the James Foley Award, honoring work by reporters in conflict zones and named for the Global Post freelancer killed in Syria in August.

The Seattle Times and Calgary Herald dominated the Breaking News categories with respective coverage of a local landslide and floods in Alberta. The two newest OJA categories, the $7,500 University of Florida Awards in Investigative Data Journalism, were won by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s examination of screening programs for newborns with rare diseases and MPR News for the cover-up of sexual abuse within the Catholic church.

Each winner of the three General Excellence Awards — The Los Angeles Times, ProPublica and the Center for Public Integrity — took home a $5,000 prize, courtesy of the Gannett Foundation. The Knight Award for Public Service, with a $5,000 prize from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, went to The Miami Herald’s I-Team investigation into Florida’s lack of protection for abused children. Northwestern University Knight Lab won the $5,500 Technical Innovation in the Service of Digital Journalism Award for its widely used Publishers’ Toolbox.

Launched in 2000, the OJAs are administered by the Online News Association and are the only comprehensive set of journalism prizes honoring excellence in digital journalism, focusing on independent, community, nonprofit, academic and major media.

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

Breaking News, Large
Oso Landslide, Seattle Times

Breaking News, Medium
Alberta Floods, Calgary Herald

Breaking News, Small
No finalists or winner

Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling, Large (Tie)
National Geographic’s Visual Digital Storytelling, National Geographic Magazine
Planet Money Makes A T-Shirt, NPR

Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling, Medium
Thin Ice: Exploring Mount Hood’s Secret World, Oregon Public Broadcasting

Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling, Small
Hollow, Hollow Interactive

Explanatory Reporting, Large
Sea Change: The Pacific’s Perilous Turn, Seattle Times

Explanatory Reporting, Medium (Tie)
Breaking the Silence, The Baltimore Sun
Segregation Now, ProPublica

Explanatory Reporting, Small
ReBuilding Haiti, The Pixel Hunt, The European Journalism Centre, Rue89

Feature, Large
Planet Money Makes A T-Shirt, NPR

Feature, Medium
Segregation Now, ProPublica

Feature, Small
The Good Life: The Movement That Changed Maine, BDN Maine

Gannett Foundation Award for Technical Innovation in the Service of Digital Journalism
Publishers’ Toolbox, Northwestern University Knight Lab

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Large, Los Angeles Times

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Medium, ProPublica

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Small, The Center for Public Integrity

Knight Award for Public Service
Innocents Lost: A Miami Herald I-Team Investigation, The Miami Herald

Online Commentary, Large
Code Switch, NPR

Online Commentary, Medium
Sarah Lazarovic, Maclean’s

Online Commentary, Small
Susie Cagle’s Illustrated Commentary at Medium

Planned News/Events, Large
World Chess Championship 2013, VG

Planned News/Events, Medium
Newtown: One Year After, Mother Jones

Planned News/Events, Small
31 Days, 31 Ways, Texas Tribune

Student Projects, Large
News 21: Back Home, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University

Student Projects, Small (tie)
What is Home?, University of Miami
Return to Elwha,, University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, Large
Fugitives Next Door, USA TODAY

The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, Medium
Overdose, ProPublica

The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, Small
No finalists or winner

Topical Reporting, Large
Paying Till It Hurts, The New York Times

Topical Reporting, Medium
ProPublica’s Health Care Coverage, ProPublica

Topical Reporting, Small
Texas Abortion Filibuster, The Texas Tribune

University of Florida Award in Investigative Data Journalism, Large
Deadly Delays, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

University of Florida Award in Investigative Data Journalism, Small/Medium
Betrayed by Silence, MPR News

The awards ceremony, which was live-streamed directly from the Chicago Sheraton Hotel and Towers, will be available for viewing within 24 hours here.

A group of 60 industry-leading journalists and new media professionals, led by ONA Board member and OJA Chair Joshua Hatch, teamed up to screen entrants and select finalists. Twelve judges, representing a diverse cross-section of the industry, then conferred to determine winners from independent, community, nonprofit, major media, start-up and international news sites.

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 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

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.

About the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications
The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications is driving innovation and engagement across the disciplines of advertising, journalism, public relations and telecommunication. The strength of its programs, faculty, students and alumni — in research and in practice — has earned the college ongoing recognition as one of the best in the nation among its peers. The college offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and certificates, both online and on campus. The college’s strength is drawn from both academic rigor and experiential learning. CJC students have the opportunity to gain practical experience in the Innovation News Center, which generates content across multiple platforms, and a strategic communication agency that will begin operation in Fall 2014. The college includes seven broadcast and digital media properties and the nation’s only program in public interest communications.

For more information, contact: The Online News Association at

Jeremiah Patterson

Jeremiah Patterson

Jeremiah was ONA's Digital Manager from 2012 to the fall of 2016 and was responsible for ONA's collection of websites, including, conference websites, the membership center, awards platforms and more. Before joining ONA, he served as a web producer and content developer at The Wildlife Society, maintaining the organization’s website, email marketing and other online services. An Ohio native and media enthusiast, Jeremiah grew up with a deep interest in video production and graphic design. He now focuses in user experience and human-centered design.