ONA Weekly #312: Learn From OJA Honorees That Investigated The Police

By on June 10, 2020

Learn from OJA honorees that investigated the police

The Online Journalism Awards have honored a number of winners and finalists that helped communities understand policing and investigated misconduct. For journalists reporting similar stories, here’s a roundup of some of that important work. Explore each project for insight into the team’s tools and techniques, lessons from the challenges they navigated and the impact of their journalism.

  • The Force Report: In 2019, NJ Advance Media built the most comprehensive statewide database examining the police use of force in the U.S. What they found: Black people were three times more likely to face police force than white people, and just 10% of officers accounted for 38% of all uses of force. More projects like this: Focus on Force and Shocking Force.
  • Officer Involved: To examine circumstances around officer-involved shootings in Los Angeles County, KPCC gathered “declination memos” ranging from 2010-2016. They found that one in four people shot by police in the county was unarmed and dozens had mental illness. Black people were shot at three times their proportion in the population, and prosecutors had not filed charges against a police officer for an on-duty shooting in 15 years. See also: Why Cops Shoot and The County.
  • Walking While Black: After a video went viral of a young man ticketed in Jacksonville, Florida, for jaywalking, a Florida Times-Union and ProPublica investigation took a deep dive into jaywalking ticketing practices in the city — finding that enforcement was racially disproportionate and often an excuse for police to stop and question those they deemed suspicious. 
  • Code of Silence: When a whistleblower came forward to report law enforcement’s role in Chicago’s drug trade, The Intercept took up the investigation, revealing massive corruption and institutional denial within the city’s police department. See also: Taking Cover
  • Criminalizing Kids: In 2015, The Center for Public Integrity pulled together a state-by-state database looking at the role of police in schools. They found a disturbing pattern: children who are ethnic minorities and who have special needs are frequently criminalized at school — often leading to lifelong negative consequences for behavior that used to be handled by principals and counselors. See also: Bullied by the Badge

Submit to the OJAs by June 11

The deadline to enter your work to the Online Journalism Awards is this Thursday, June 11 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2020 OJAs feature 42 awards across 19 categories. Any work published between June 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020 is eligible to enter. Gather your best projects, encourage peers to enter theirs that you admire and let’s come together to show the impact of digital journalism.

Save the dates for leadership and audience events

Mark your calendars. We’ve got events coming up as part of our summer programming to support digital journalism.

  • June 23: Newsroom Playbooks for ManagersWe’ll kick off our three-part leadership series with an event focused on equipping senior managers and executives with insights for key decisions on paywalls. The series will continue every Tuesday at noon ET through July 7 with sessions on improving work with remote teams and resources for supporting journalists of color.
  • June 24-25: ONA Insights: Audience Development and Analytics. Experts will offer specific, practical case studies covering newsletters, automation tools, social media platforms and using analytics to set strategy in our upcoming two-day event.

Journalism 360: A guide to AR/XR in journalism

A Guide to AR/XR in Journalism is the second installment in Journalism 360’s guides to producing immersive journalism. Authored by Laura Hertzfeld, Director, XR Partner Program at RYOT/ Verizon Media Group (and former Journalism 360 program director), the guide is a teachable collection of case studies covering timelines and challenges. Join Laura for a Q&A on June 16 where she’ll discuss the guide and answer your AR/XR questions.

Upcoming events

Career opportunities

ONA’s Career Center is an excellent resource for jobs, fellowships and internships in digital journalism. Recent postings include:

On our radar