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Why submit to the Online Journalism Awards

The Online Journalism Awards (OJAs) are the only comprehensive set of journalism prizes honoring excellence in digital journalism around the world. Since 2000, the OJAs have recognized more than 2,000 finalists and over 600 winners. The award categories have evolved from year to year to reflect changes in journalism, and ultimately surface some of the best projects and accomplishments of individuals and teams.

Great journalism adds value to communities, colleagues and the broader field. Recognition through the OJAs brings a bigger audience to the work, positive public awareness of journalism’s collective impact and a spotlight on the importance of press freedom.

Here are five reasons to participate in the OJAs.

1. Celebrate your peers on a global scale

Your peers pour creativity, passion and diligence into producing high-caliber digital journalism. The OJAs provide an international platform to amplify their vision and hard work. Finalists and winners are recognized through multiple channels, including:

  • OJA website, a prestigious showcase of journalism excellence that is a resource to funders, educators and other journalists and newsrooms leaders seeking partnerships and collaboration
  • Online Journalism Awards Ceremony, held in conjunction with ONA’s annual conference and streamed live online
  • Industry publications
  • Local and international press releases
  • Social media

2. Recruitment and retention

The OJAs highlight outstanding work produced around the world by major international outlets, independent journalists and newsrooms of varied sizes in between — and we often honor individuals and teams overlooked by more traditional awards. Showing your employees and potential recruits that their work is valued and recognized on a global scale boosts team morale and can help create a positive work culture. Check out news outlets like Grist, El Tímpano, The Globe and Mail, ProPublica, THE CITY and The Marshall Project.

3. Prize money

We’re proud to partner with organizations who care about great journalism and want to support that work directly. In 2022, the OJAs will award a total of $57,000 to 13 winners across 6 categories.

4. Create a portfolio of your work

Preparing an awards entry requires careful reflection. Investing this time to review your work helps to surface and articulate areas of expertise, how successful projects come together and the biggest impact. This retrospective also helps build a portfolio that can be used beyond the awards season.

Here are just a few of the opportunities to use a thoughtful, organized portfolio:

  • Showcase talent and your work to colleagues and bosses
  • Highlight expertise and value to the audiences and communities you serve
  • Demonstrate the overall value and impact of your work to current and prospective funders. We’ve heard directly from past awards recipients that the awards helped them leverage their fundraising efforts.

Pro Tip: Create a folder to drop in work throughout the year that you might consider submitting for an OJA. When awards season arrives, you already have the notes.

5. Connect with peers and mentors in the ONA community and beyond

We are excited to create more opportunities for OJA submitters to find inspiration, community and learning. Here are just a few ways you can get involved after submitting your work to the OJAs:

  • Starting in 2022, we will plan learning and networking opportunities for all OJA submitters to connect and learn from one another.
  • Finalists and winners are often recruited to serve as screeners and panelists on judging panels for future OJA seasons.
  • OJA submitters, finalists and winners have been asked to present at ONA’s annual conference about their projects and expertise.

In 2022, we will recognize 56 winners across 23 categories. We look forward to hearing about your proudest work.

Submit entries to the 2022 OJAs

Check out the FAQs to learn more about the OJAs. For additional questions, contact ONA Program Manager Hollie Schultz at awards@journalists.org.