As part of the annual Online Journalism Awards showcase, the Online News Association (ONA) confers four awards, selected by special committees, that recognize individuals or small groups who contribute exceptional work and dedication to journalism as a practice and the journalism community.
We are thrilled to congratulate the 2022 winners for the Impact Award, ONA Community Award, James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting and the Rich Jaroslovsky Founder Award.
Note: Winners for the 23 categories that were open for submissions will be announced Sept. 21-24 during the 2022 Online News Association Conference.
The Impact Award honors a trailblazing individual whose work in digital journalism and dedication to innovation exhibits a substantial impact on the industry. S. Mitra Kalita was nominated and selected by the ONA board of directors as the 2022 recipient.
Mitra is most recently the Co-Founder of URL Media, a network of Black and Brown-owned news outlets that share content, distribution and revenue to increase their long-term sustainability, and the Co-Founder of Epicenter-NYC, a newsletter to help New Yorkers get through the pandemic.
“Mitra is deserving of the Impact Award because she’s a true leader, trailblazer and innovator in this industry,” said Versha Sharma, ONA board member and Editor-in-Chief at Teen Vogue. “She has impacted the lives and careers of countless journalists … She’s not afraid to take on the institutional problems of legacy media. And she truly cares about people’s personal lives.”
The ONA board granted the Rich Jaroslovsky Founder Award to Michelle Johnson for her outstanding contributions to digital journalism and dedication to ONA’s mission, vision and values.
Michelle is Emerita Associate Professor of the Practice, Multimedia Journalism, at Boston University. She retired from the university in 2022. For more than 20 years, she has conducted multimedia training workshops for student and professional journalists for a variety of organizations including ONA, the Maynard Institute, the National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
At ONA, Michelle is most notably known for her leadership of the annual conference’s Student Newsroom and Innovation Lab, a unique program that provides hands-on experience with guidance from professional mentors. She has mentored undergraduate and graduate students during the conference since 2005. Her continued involvement with ONA has changed the lives of hundreds of community members and shaped the industry’s next generation of talent.
“I’ve affectionately called her the tree of life of journalism,” said ONA CEO Irving Washington. “If you look at her decades-long career … I don’t know if a single newsroom doesn’t have at least one person inside that has been impacted by Michelle.”
Since 2015, the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation and the Online News Association have worked together to honor independent digital journalists who produce exceptional reporting under the most challenging conditions. The selection committee for the James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting has granted this year’s honor to photojournalist Serhii Korovainyi.
Based in Kyiv, Ukraine, Serhii has worked on projects around conflict, environmental issues, refugees, healthcare and more. Most recently, he has focused on coverage of the Russian-Ukrainian War. He has contributed to major news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Washington Post, The Guardian and Financial Times.
Especially impressed by his recent work, the award committee shared:
“The war in Ukraine presents one of the most challenging and dangerous environments for photojournalists. Working for publications like the Wall Street Journal and The Guardian, freelancer Serhii Korovainyi’s images offer thoughtful and nuanced insight into the experiences of those living through war. From the frontlines to places of worship, Korovainyi transports viewers into moments that might otherwise be missed. His deep understanding and years of work in the country result in images that humanize, educate and spark empathy. Serhii exemplifies the moral courage that Jim aspired to and continues his brave legacy through the exceptional quality of his work.”
The ONA Community Award honors standout behind-the-scenes leaders who are building tools or communities that help other journalists achieve their best work. Honorees are selected from nominations submitted by ONA members and reviewed by an awards committee that includes ONA board members, previous Community Award winners and longtime contributors to ONA. This year’s award celebrates the contributions of Manori Wijesekera.
Based in Sri Lanka, Manori is the Training Manager at Global Press. She joined the organization in 2009 as a reporter. Now, she manages a complex initiative to provide training to women journalists living in some of the world’s least covered, from Mongolia to Zambia to Haiti. Among her recent achievements, Manori was the leading force behind the creation of GPI Online, a robust learning platform with original curricula in six languages.