DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17: Online News Association's annual conference at the Hyatt Regency Denver on September 17, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Anya Semenoff/Online News Association

How to compose a strong entry for the Online Journalism Awards

By on May 23, 2017

The Online Journalism Awards (OJAs) have always strived to recognize the best in digital journalism, with a special eye toward forward-looking projects and tools. This year, we’ve added two new categories to reflect changes in the media landscape drastically impacting how stories are told. To give you a deeper understanding of how entries are evaluated, we’ve compiled some key takeaways.

Our two new categories showcase two of the biggest trends in journalism. Here are some thoughts about them.

Excellence in Audio Storytelling encompasses the increasing popularity of storytelling via podcasts and other audio. When submitting in this category, consider which episodes/pieces are the best representation of your project. Please keep in mind that our judges dedicate a lot of time to evaluate multiple entries, so submitting multiple hours of audio may not be the best idea.

Excellence in Immersive Storytelling is where we hope to see the best augmented reality, virtual reality and 360-degree storytelling. News organizations are increasingly finding new and interesting ways to put the reader inside a story. Consider submitting the project itself, but as some judges and screeners may not have a full suite of immersive equipment, you may want to show us the best representation that the most people can access.

When reviewing entries, judges will ask these questions:

  • “What impact did this story have?”
  • “Does this entry really leverage the possibilities of digital media?”
  • “Would this piece be any different if it appeared solely in print?”

In all categories, note that awards are also judged in accordance with their presentation — that includes mobile and social. If your project included a strong social or mobile component, consider submitting links demonstrating that.

If you’re looking for clarity on a specific question, be sure to check out the Rules & Eligibility and the FAQ, especially helpful if you’re wondering what size category your organization should enter in.

Good luck, and we’re looking forward to seeing your entries! Don’t forget that the deadline is June 8 and there will be no extension.

Join the conversation about the OJAs with #OJA17.
Start your Online Journalism Awards submission.
View the complete list of 2016 winners.