The committees for the ONA Community Award, the James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting and the Rich Jaroslovsky Founder Award have selected the respective 2021 recipients. Part of the annual Online Journalism Awards showcase, these special awards recognize individuals or small groups who are contributing exceptional work to the field and stand out as inspiring examples for their journalism peers around the world.
The 2021 ONA Community Award recognizes the timely work of the community managers of the ICFJ (International Center for Journalists) Global Health Crisis Reporting Forum: Paul Adepoju (Nigeria), Kossi Balao (Togo), Desiree Esquivel (Paraguay), Fadwa Kamal (Morocco), Alexandre Orrico (Brazil) and Stella Roque (United States). This innovative team supports a forum of 13,000 journalists from 134 countries to cover the Covid-19 pandemic in five languages. The selection committee highlighted the reach and potential long-term impact of their work—an engaged community that can share lessons on connecting under-sourced journalists to science resources and help with the next public health crisis.
Launched in 2018, the ONA Community Award looks beyond the bylines and behind the scenes to honor an individual or small team that has made an extraordinary impact on the industry and the general public, particularly by creating tools or work environments that enable digital journalists to do their best work. Honorees are selected from nominations submitted by ONA members and by a special award committee that included ONA Board members, previous Community Award winners and longtime contributors to ONA.
Since 2015, the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation and ONA have collaborated to honor independent journalists who produce exceptional reporting under the most challenging conditions. Samar Abu Elouf, a Palestinian photographer residing in the Gaza Strip, has been honored with the 2021 James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting. Samar covers many events in the Gaza Strip, including stories around gender, women’s and children’s lives and the consequences of war. Since 2010, she has worked as a freelance photojournalist on assignment for outlets and agencies such as Reuters, The New York Times, Middle East Eye, ZUMA Press, NZZ Swiss Magazine and others.
Samar is the seventh recipient of this award, selected by a committee that included previous honorees, foreign correspondents and close friends and family of James Foley, including his mother Diane Foley. The committee was impressed with her moral courage, empathy and ability to provide a “window into everyday life” in a region that’s often portrayed in terms of devastation and destruction. One committee member said, “The stakes are against her in every way—as a Palestinian, a woman, a mother, and living in war. But still, she captures the humanity of one of the most difficult places in the world.”
Meredith Artley, Senior Vice President and Editor-in-chief of CNN Digital, was nominated and selected by the ONA Board of Directors as the 2021 recipient of the Rich Jaroslovsky Founder Award. This award honors a senior-level individual who has made significant contributions to advance digital journalism through their involvement with ONA and work in the industry.
Meredith has been with ONA from the very beginning. She attended the inaugural annual conference and was among the winners honored at the inaugural Online Journalism Awards in 2000. Her continued involvement with ONA has been invaluable to the organization and the broader journalism community. Among many contributions, Meredith served as ONA Board Vice President (2013–2014) and President (2015–2016) and led ONA through the development and execution of an ambitious three-year strategic plan and change in executive leadership.
In her acceptance speech, she highlighted three wishes for journalism: for new and more ways to spread truth and combat lies and hate; for greater diversity in news teams and stories; and for a renewed commitment to innovation.
The Online Journalism Awards are the only comprehensive set of journalism prizes honoring excellence in digital journalism around the world. Explore inspiring projects from the 2021 finalists (#OJA21). Winners will be announced on Oct. 15.
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