The rules and eligibility requirements for the 2020 Online Journalism Awards are listed below. The rules have been updated since the 2019 awards.
Send any specific questions about rules and eligibility to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Updates to eligibility, guidelines and rules should be expected prior to the opening of the 2020 awards.
The Online Journalism Awards are open to websites, areas of websites and all digital platforms, including smart phones, e-readers and tablets, where journalists have originated the content or selected and amplified it. Search services, portal sites and wire services may submit content they created that fits the eligibility requirements. Individuals and organizations may enter the contest. Online retailers and advertising sites are not eligible.
The 2020 Online Journalism Awards are open to work published between June 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020. Entries must be available online for one year from date of submission.
If submitting multiple entries (either in the same category or across multiple categories), fill out entry forms for each entry, then make one purchase for all of the entries you submitted. You may only enter the same project into two categories; you may reference entries in portfolio categories, but one project/story may not be the primary part of more than two entries.
This category is only open to two or more professional organizations that have worked together. For projects that involved collaboration and partnerships with students, please apply to the Student, Pro-Am category.
There is a single category for student work, split into two size groupings, and a third, more expansive “pro-am” group for partnerships with professional organizations. To be eligible in the two student-specific size categories, the entire project must have been produced only by enrolled students receiving academic credit for the work being entered. Students can be full- or part-time; graduate, undergraduate or high school students. Work produced for pay is not eligible for these two student awards. Work that was created by a student for credit but then subsequently and independently made available to a commercial publication is allowed, but should be explained in the entry.
Entries submitted to a student category with a checked box agreeing to the terms of the awards confirms that the work was done by students. The entrant should explain any professional or professorial involvement when completing the entry.
For the “pro-am” group, the work should be predominantly that of the students in an academic environment, but where the students may receive compensation and/or be supported by or in collaboration with a professional organization. Note: This is not intended for interns who are working for a professional organization.
Student work can only be submitted in one of the three tiers of the student category.
Some categories are broken out by size, as determined by the total number of the organization’s full-time or equivalent employees who focus on or support digital production (even indirectly) including ad sales reps, technical staff and/or a business development department. If an entry was produced with external resources — contractors, freelancers, etc. — that number must be included when determining size.
Micro newsroom: For an entrant to be considered “micro,” and eligible for this General Excellence award, the organization must have 15 or fewer employees.
Small newsroom: For an entrant to be considered “small,” the organization must have 50 or fewer employees. For the General Excellence category only, a small newsroom is considered as between 15-50 employees.
Medium newsroom: For an entrant to be considered “medium,” the organization must have between 51 and 250 employees.
Large newsroom: For an entrant to be considered “large,” the organization must have more than 250 employees.
Student, Small: This student group is for projects produced by 1-3 students.
Student, Large: This student group is for projects produced by four or more students.
Student, Pro-Am: This is a partnership between a professional organization and an academic institution, or through an intern or fellowship program where students are compensated. There is no limit on the number of participants.
Ongoing series: A continually publishing podcast or audio work, published on a regular schedule.
Limited series: A limited set of audio pieces, published over time or all at once, with a definite start and end. This could be a short-run podcast, or a set of audio works.
Use of Audio Storytelling: Focused on a single audio-focused production, which may include a single episode of a podcast or show or audio incorporated into a digital story.
Project: For 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.
A note about freelancers and contractors: If an entry is the product of work with contractors or freelancers, include the number of staff on a freelance or contract basis with determining the size of your organization.
A note about partnerships: If an entry is the product of a partnership of two or more organizations, enter into the size category corresponding to the combined staffs of the partner organizations, or enter into the Excellence in Collaboration and Partnerships category.
A note about subsidiaries: Many media outlets are part of larger organizations. To determine the proper size for your entry, consider the following: if your organization is wholly independent and receives no technological, editorial, or financial support from your parent organization, then you may be eligible to enter into a smaller size category. However, if your organization receives material, technological, editorial or financial support from the larger entity, you may need to enter the larger organization category.
When making your submission, you will be required to include a statement explaining why you believe your entry belongs in the selected category. ONA judges have the final say as to whether your entry was entered in the proper size category. Entries determined to be mis-entered may be excluded from consideration.
Submissions for the 2020 Online Journalism Awards will open in early April. Entries must be submitted through the online platform. To enter, fill out entry forms for each entry across all categories. Then pay for the total number of awards entries. Entry fees are listed below.
Review all entry requirements for each category before submitting an entry. Requirements vary depending on the category. Basic requirements include a URL where the entry is live and a username and password if the entry requires a subscription or registration. Please be aware the OJA judging panel often includes a significant number of international judges, so for sites not conforming to GDPR, additional screenshots or PDFs may be required. Requirements can be found on the categories page.
If an entry exists on a platform that is not available via a desktop computer, such as a smartphone or tablet application, entrants should provide a URL to a marketplace page where the application can be downloaded free of charge. If applicants are submitting entries that requires installation of an app or some other technical requirement beyond the typical browser, please note that in your entry.
Entries can be saved and edited at a later date, but corrections cannot be made to entries after submitting. Please verify that all the information in your entry is correct before submitting.
Entries may be submitted in any language, however, we strongly recommend submitting your project in English. We are unable to guarantee that the judges reviewing your work will be fluent in other languages and may need to use an automated translation tool.
Entry fees are $175 per entry for non-members or $100 per entry for ONA members. Entry fees for students are $50 per entry for non-members or $15 per entry for ONA members. If you’d like to become an ONA member, join here.
In order to receive the member rate, sign in with your ONA membership account in the online portal. Otherwise, create an account on the awards site to submit an entry at the non-member rate.
Payment should be made online by credit card. If you are unable to pay by credit card, you may pay by check or money order, after contacting email@example.com to arrange payment and for us to mark your online entry as complete.
Judges are a group of distinguished online journalists from around the world. Winners are determined by two rounds of judging. A first round of screeners will narrow down the entries to a group of semi-finalists. Then a second group of judges will meet online to select the finalists and winners. The judges reserve the right to not assign a winner in a particular category.
Entrants agree to the terms below upon submitting an entry to the Online Journalism Awards:
Any submission to the Online Journalism Awards remains the intellectual property of you or your organization. That said, by submitting, you are granting us the right to publish what you submit — photos, text, videos, etc. — on our various websites. We do this to showcase the caliber of finalists and winners, as well as to promote the Online Journalism Awards. If you have more detailed questions about your submission, please refer to our complete Terms & Conditions.
By submitting an entry, you represent and warrant that the entry is original work, that you have the right to submit the work as an entry in the Online Journalism Awards, and that you have the right to grant ONA (and ONA’s partner(s) of the Online Journalism Awards, if any) the rights granted above.
We have many answers to frequently asked questions.
Read the FAQ