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May 6, 2020

Let’s come together to showcase the impact of digital journalism with the 2020 OJAs

A letter from ONA Awards and Recognition Committee co-chairs Shazna Nessa and Niketa Patel


The staff of the Honolulu Civil Beat accept the 2019 OJA for General Excellence, Small Newsroom. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Online News Association)

With the world in a public health and economic crisis, high-quality journalism is key to ensuring people’s survival and well-being. Newsrooms continue to do incredible work reaching audiences with the information they need, from timely updates about local lockdowns and testing to analysis of the scope of the crisis globally.

As we prepared to launch the call for entries for the 2020 Online Journalism Awards, one thought continued to resonate with us: While giving recognition has always been important, it’s even more critical now for us to come together to demonstrate the value and impact of journalism.

The OJAs have honored and elevated the best work in digital journalism since 2000, even at a time when the credibility of online news was still a question. Last year’s program highlighted exceptional reporting such as the Anchorage Daily News’s coverage of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, which illustrated innovative ways of delivering critical information in an emergency; an investigation by LA NACION that revealed one of Argentina’s biggest corruption schemes; and the Texas Tribune’s interactive, behind-the-scenes stories that debunked claims of voter fraud in the state.

Here are three ways you can get involved in 2020:

Invest the time to take stock of what you have accomplished the past year, and submit to the call for entries. We invite you to check out this year’s changes to the categories, including new awards honoring excellence in newsletters and climate change reporting, and to start gathering notes to prepare your submissions. Work published between June 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020 is eligible to enter, and the deadline is June 11 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Encourage your peers to enter their work that you admire. Let’s come together to bring positive public awareness to our individual and collective impact. The 2020 OJAs will award 42 prizes across 19 categories.

Volunteer as a screener. We are looking for a diverse set of professionals from across digital media to kickstart the review process and share their recommendations with the judging panels. Screeners get an amazing snapshot of fantastic work from across the field. If you’re looking for a meaningful volunteer experience or want to turn your mind to something different and inspiring, this opportunity is for you. Apply by May 28.

We look forward to discovering and honoring the digital journalism that has made the most impact this past year. Review the FAQs for guidance on submitting entries, and contact the team at awards@journalists.org with any additional questions.

Over the next few weeks, ONA will continue to highlight recent winners and finalists that have inspired the industry. Follow @ONA and subscribe to the ONA Weekly newsletter for more updates.

Shazna Nessa
Co-chair, Awards and Recognition Committee, ONA Board of Directors
Global Head of Visuals, The Wall Street Journal

Niketa Patel
Co-chair, Awards and Recognition Committee, ONA Board of Directors
News Partnership Manager, Twitter