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May 21, 2019

ONA expands the Online Journalism Awards with new category and cash prizes for engaged journalism projects

Support from University of Oregon’s Agora Journalism Center builds on ONA’s longtime initiative to honor excellence in digital journalism around the world


WASHINGTON — The Online News Association (ONA) announced that the Online Journalism Awards (OJAs) will feature a total of $15,000 in cash prizes over the next three years for winners of the new Gather Award in Engaged Journalism.

The first-of-its-kind award will honor people and projects that work with a community as part of a story or reporting process. The award is made possible by the Agora Journalism Center, the gathering place for innovation in communication and civic engagement at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication (UO-SOJC).

Since 2000, the OJAs have been the only comprehensive set of digital journalism prizes honoring achievement by major media, local newsrooms and individuals around the world. Recognizing excellence in engaged journalism aligns with ONA and UO-SOJC’s shared priority to inspire innovation that deepens news providers’ relationship with the communities they serve and delivers news that is relevant, impactful and inclusive.

Entries for the Gather Award in Engaged journalism should include pieces published with or as a result of community engagement, as well as evidence of collaboration and interaction with the public. Gather is a project and platform by Agora that supports community-minded journalists and other engagement professionals. Samples of community-focused engagement projects can be found on Gather’s collection of case studies.

ONA will award two prizes of $2,500 each in 2019:

  • Project: For excellence in a project or limited series
  • Portfolio: Multiple pieces produced by a team or individual during the eligible awards period that may be unrelated, but share a unique approach.

Judges will consider the following criteria:

  • Unique or innovative use of engagement platforms, techniques and approaches that are responsive to the public’s needs and inclusive of the public’s voices and diversity
  • Execution of the project and potential for the approaches to serve as a model that other news organizations can adapt
  • Meaningful outcomes or impact of the engagement and reporting on a community

The 2019 OJAs are open to work published between June 1, 2018 and May 31, 2019. Submissions are due June 6, 2019, 11:59 p.m. EDT. To learn more: explore the full list of categories and review the rules and eligibility.

ONA will announce finalists for the awards in August, and winners will be named at the 2019 Online News Association Conference & Awards Ceremony, Sept. 12–14, in New Orleans.

About the Online News Association

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. Membership includes journalists, technologists, executives, academics and students who produce news for and support digital delivery systems. ONA also hosts the annual Online News Association Conference and administers the Online Journalism Awards.

About the Agora Journalism Center

The Agora Journalism Center at the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) is the University of Oregon’s gathering place for innovation in communication and civic engagement. Agora works to create and support transformational media innovations in service to civic engagement, and civic engagement that informs media innovation. Agora seeks to articulate a vision and practice of journalism inextricably linked to the health of our democracy. Our projects employ collaboration, experimentation, and public engagement to transform how journalists inform and relate to their communities.