ONA Weekly 376: Celebrating 137 Finalists In 2021 OJAs + Your First Peek At #ONAInsights Programming

By on September 8, 2021

Celebrating 137 finalists in the 2021 Online Journalism Awards

We are thrilled and honored to tell you about the finalists in the 2021 Online Journalism Awards. Winners will be announced on Oct. 15.

In 2021, the OJAs feature 45 prizes across 21 categories. ONA’s Awards and Recognition Committee introduced two new categories and additional changes to reimagine or update existing ones based on community feedback and changes in the industry:

  • Topical Reporting: Pandemic Coverage: This new award honors a single story or a portfolio that focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic and addresses aspects such as science, public health, policy, lifestyle and economic impact.
  • Excellence in Social Justice Reporting: This new award honors journalism that highlights systemic inequities encountered by historically marginalized communities, including 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.
  • 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.

Five honors come with a total of $40,000 in prize money, thanks to generous support from SmartNews, McKinsey Publishing, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications. These awards recognize general excellence, engaged journalism, immersive storytelling, public service and climate change reporting.

We are grateful to all the volunteers who contributed their time and expertise to help discover the past year’s most innovative projects and showcase the impact of digital journalism. A diverse group of 114 digital media professionals representing 20 countries teamed up to screen 1,179 entries—the largest pool of entries the competition has seen since it was established in 1999. More than 60 judges deliberated to determine finalists and winners.

Explore all the 2021 OJA finalists

Your first peek at the #ONAInsights program

For this year’s ONA Insights conference (Oct. 14–15), we are designing a two-day deep dive to reimagine audience engagement and metrics, product development and newsroom culture for 2022. The schedule is almost ready to go live, but we can’t wait to share a peek at what the conference will offer. 

Here are some of the insights (😉) you can expect to leave with:

  • Concrete steps your team needs to take in 2022 to make your journalism more accessible to your community and strategies to incorporate into your production workflows;
  • Roadmaps for building digital-centered, audience-first workflows for your newsroom;
  • A plan for how to identify and define a key “North Star” metric to align your newsroom around a common goal, following the strategy of companies like Airbnb, Spotify and the Financial Times;
  • Techniques for conducting a quick-and-dirty content analysis of your work to understand gaps and opportunities in your coverage and share lessons with your colleagues, without a full newsroom overhaul;
  • A community-generated list of product ideas you can implement to engender trust in your journalism.

Register now for the All Access Pass to learn and network with the ONA community in Philadelphia. Plus, we encourage you to book your stay within our discounted room block at the host hotel, Sonesta Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square.

We are excited to offer sponsoring organizations many ways to connect with ONA’s global community leading up to and during the conference. Contact Jessica Strelitz, Chief Strategic Partnerships Officer, at jessica@journalists.org to learn how to join sponsors like the Knight Foundation, Alley and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Please note: We’re requiring all participants in Philadelphia to provide proof of vaccination against Covid-19 and to wear face masks indoors. Plus, we’re limiting the number of All Access Passes to facilitate distancing during sessions. Review the FAQs on our safety measures and reach out with any questions any time by emailing support@journalists.org.

ONA members: Last call to run for the Board

We’re accepting candidates for six seats open for election to the 2022-23 ONA Board of Directors. Participation is a unique opportunity for digital leaders to help guide the strategic direction of the world’s largest organization of digital journalists, shape the future of media and build a stronger industry. Submit your candidacy by Thursday, Sept. 9.

Note: Voting will open in late September. Active ONA members as of Sept. 24 will be eligible to cast a ballot. Check your membership status.

Important dates

Career opportunities

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

On our radar

The radar is now open for suggestions. Have you written or read a piece lately that would benefit others in journalism? We’re interested in sharing insights on trends, how-to guides, lessons from a project and other inspiration for innovation in digital journalism.

Join as an ONA member or make a donation to help sustain ONA’s mission to inspire and support innovation in digital journalism. If you’re looking to promote an event, product, job opening or other opportunity, explore options to reach the ONA community.

We also rely on philanthropic and corporate support. Contact Chief Strategic Partnerships Officer Jessica Strelitz at jessica@journalists.org to learn about the many ways to invest in our mission.