by David Smydra
Entries are now being accepted for the 2017 Online Journalism Awards! Now featuring 37 categories and $58,500 in prize money, the awards have built a steady reputation as the preeminent award for groundbreaking digital journalism from around the world. Two exciting new categories and a few key updates to our submission rules set the stage for the OJAs to continue that tradition in 2017.
This year’s awards continue the OJA tradition of evolving with the media industry. We are thrilled to introduce two new categories that should help us expand our ability to honor great journalism from across the digital landscape.
- Excellence in Audio Digital Storytelling: This award honors exceptional efforts in telling stories through digitally-focused audio: podcasts, audio-centric online works, and other emerging media. Judges will consider the journalism behind an audio project, the uniqueness and originality of voice, overall production quality and innovative use of storytelling techniques. Newsrooms will be able to submit in either the small or medium/large newsroom categories.
- Excellence in Immersive Storytelling: This award honors exceptional efforts in telling stories through digital, immersive media: virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, 360 video and other emerging media. Judges will consider the journalism behind an immersive project, overall production quality and innovative use of storytelling techniques. Thanks to our new Journalism 360 initiative, this award comes with a $5,000 prize supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Google News Lab.
ONA highly esteems collaboration and community input. The awards committee took a lot of feedback into consideration from years past in updating a few of the rules and submission guidelines for 2017.
- Entries may be entered into up to two categories. Previously we restricted entries to one category. While we still strongly urge you to select the single best category for your project/story, we understand that sometimes a second category is justifiable. Note that an additional entry fee will apply.
- The Sports Category now has two size groups instead of three. This change was made as a reflection of previous years’ submissions and our commitment to keeping the category competitive.
- Students may only enter projects/stories in the Student Journalism category. Student journalists have submitted increasingly strong work over the years. Nonetheless, many student projects often have additional institutional resources behind them, even if the team consists of a small group. Evaluating students’ work exclusively among their peers will keep things fair for both students and professional entrants.
Lastly, for the third consecutive year, we are proud to give out the James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting. This honor will recognize a single journalist who has performed exceptional work while covering an ongoing conflict, war zone or other challenging setting. This is a closed category, because a separate committee will select the nominees and the final recipient.
Following 12 months that have thrust so many of our industry’s values and principles back into the public sphere — trust, independence, accountability and service to all of our various communities, to name a few — we expect 2017 to be the OJA’s most impressive year yet. Speaking on behalf of co-chair P. Kim Bui and the rest of the award committee, it’s an honor to celebrate your work. We can’t wait to see what you send us.
Join the conversation about the OJAs with #OJA17.
Sign up here to be a screener for the awards.
View the complete list of 2016 winners.