Online Journalism Awards Ceremony at the Sheraton New Orleans on September 14, 2019, in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Online News Association)

Submissions are open for the 2021 Online Journalism Awards

Accepting entries for 45 awards, including new categories for pandemic coverage and social justice reporting

By on May 5, 2021

The Online News Association (ONA) announced today the call for entries for the 2021 Online Journalism Awards (OJAs), celebrating the best in digital journalism from around the world. In all categories, judges will give weight to the quality of the journalism, digital innovation and the impact of the projects. Submissions are due June 10, 11:59 p.m. EDT (3:59 a.m. UTC).

The 2021 OJAs feature 45 awards open for submissions, including four new or updated categories:

  • Topical Reporting: Pandemic Coverage: This award honors journalism—either a single story or a portfolio—that focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic and addresses aspects such science, public health, policy, lifestyle and economic impact.
  • Excellence in Social Justice Reporting: Entries in this category highlight systemic inequities encountered by historically marginalized communities, and may include coverage of social movements, racial justice, migration, access to education, voting rights and more.
  • Student Journalism Award: This award reimagines recognition for student work with two subcategories: Student Portfolio and Student Team Portfolio. Honorees will demonstrate excellence in using digital storytelling and technologies to inform audiences across a breadth of topics and issues.
  • Breaking News: This award has been streamlined with two subcategories for newsroom size: Small/Medium and Large. It previously included separate subcategories for Small, Medium and Large newsrooms.

This year’s OJAs also include five awards with a total of $40,000 in prize money, thanks to the generous support of SmartNewsJournalism 360, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication’s Agora Journalism Center and McKinsey Publishing. These cash prize awards honor general excellence, immersive storytelling, public service, engaged journalism and climate change reporting.

Launched in 2000, the OJAs are the only comprehensive set of journalism prizes honoring excellence and innovation in digital journalism. Winners and finalists will earn a prestigious place among recent honorees such as South China Morning Post (General Excellence, Collaboration and Partnerships); National Geographic (Digital Video Storytelling); Popular Information (Newsletters); Southern California Public Radio (Audio Digital Storytelling, Engaged Journalism); The Washington Post (Explanatory Reporting); and Alabama Media Group (Sports).

The 2021 OJAs are open to work published between June 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021. Review the Rules and Eligibility in full before starting a submission.

Explore all categories and submit an entry

A global group of journalists and digital media professionals will screen all entries to discover the best work and select semi-finalists. Then a diverse panel of judges will gather to select winners and finalists.

The volunteer screeners represent all parts of the industry, from local reporters and newsroom leadership, to product managers, audience engagement specialists, designers, data journalists and more. Applications to volunteer as a 2021 screener are due May 26, 11:59 p.m. EDT (3:59 a.m. UTC).

Apply to be a 2021 OJA screener


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