Boston bombs, NSA top awards

Boston bombing coverage and the NSA files highlighted the 2013 Online Journalism Awards at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Ga.

Boston University News Service won two awards for its coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombings – one in the category of breaking News/Small; the other in the Student Projects/Large category. The and took the award for Breaking News/Large with their Boston Marathon bombing coverage.

“Among body parts and blood on the street, they pushed past their fears and made the story happen,” said a stunned Boston University Professor Michelle Johnson, who oversaw BU’s news coverage.

The Boston Globe also won the Knight Public Service award for their year-long series on Boston’s Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood.

Other winners included The New York Times, The Texas Tribune and AxisPhilly for ONA General Excellence. The New York Times’ “Snow Fall” project also won in the features category, along with Radio-Canada, AIR, Prairie Public and Zeega.

New York Times graphics editor Archie Tse, who accepted the award for ‘Snow Fall,’ said the team “worked for many months” trying to tell a seamless story.

Steve Goldbloom, a producer for San Francisco’s Independent Television Service, hosted the awards banquet but had some help via an introduction video starring Goldbloom and past OJA host PBS NewsHour’s Hari Sreenivasan, poking fun at the PBS website’s traffic. He also said that Google had provided Google Glass for people under their chairs, which soon became clear wasn’t the case.

“This is an online journalism conference; you’ll be leaving with nothing more than a CNN tote bag,” Goldbloom said.

The Guardian also garnered big applause for their “NSA Files,” winning both the Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism and the Gannett Foundation Award for Watchdog Journalism, a first at the OJA’s. The latter netted them a $5,000 prize.

The Guardian U.S. editor-in-chief Janine Gibson thanked Edward Snowden and the American media in her acceptance speech.

“It’s been an extraordinary five months, this really tops it,” she said.

In planned news, the first award of the night went to Denise Hassanzade Ajiri, 2012 MJ Bear Fellow, for Iran Election Watch (small). ProPublica (medium) and NPR (large) rounded out the category with its U.S. election coverage.

It wasn’t all journalism talk. One table filled with journalists from The Boston Globe, and the local NPR affiliate, WBUR, watched Game 6 of Major League Baseball’s American League Championship Series between the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox on an iPad.

Winners accepted awards from Rich Beckman, University of Miami Knight chair in Visual Journalism, and Jim Brady, ONA president. The panel of 24 judges, who included journalists from outlets like ProPublica, Mother Jones magazine and the Los Angeles Times, helped select the finalists, of which 12 judges made the final selections in September.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as well as the Gannett Foundation, contributed almost $38,000 in prize money, which accompanied nine of the 30 awards handed out.

Since 2000, the Online Journalism Awards, hosted by the Online News Association in partnership with the University of Miami School of Communication, has recognized excellence in digital journalism.

Full list of winners:

Knight Award for Public Service

68 Blocks, The Boston Globe

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Small

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Medium
The Texas Tribune

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Large
The New York Times

Gannett Foundation Award for Technical Innovation in the Service of Digital Journalism
D3.js, The New York Times

Breaking News, Small
Triumph, Then Tragedy: The Boston Marathon Bombings, Boston University News Service

Breaking News, Medium
Superstorm Sandy, WNYC

Breaking News, Large
Boston Marathon Bombing, and

Planned News/Events, Small
Iran Election Watch

Planned News/Events, Medium
2012 Election Coverage, ProPublica

Planned News/Events, Large
The Re-Election of Barack Obama, NPR

Explanatory Reporting, Small (tie)
Ala Wai Canal: Hawaii’s Biggest Mistake?, Honolulu Civil Beat
Coal in the Northwest, EarthFix

Explanatory Reporting, Medium
America Under the Gun: A Special Report on Gun Laws and the Rise of Mass Shootings, Mother Jones

Explanatory Reporting, Large
Beyond 7 Billion, Los Angeles Times

Topical Reporting, Small
Nieman Journalism Lab

Topical Reporting, Medium
Returning Home to Battle, The Center for Investigative Reporting

Topical Reporting, Large
Life in the Hermit Kingdom: Bringing North Korea to the World, Associated Press

Online Commentary, Small
The Fight to Vote,

Online Commentary, Medium
Stuff Nation, Fairfax Media New Zealand

Online Commentary, Large
Ezra Klein, The Washington Post

Feature, Small
#Banlieuelanuit, Radio-Canada

Feature, Medium
Black Gold Boom, Todd Melby, AIR, Prairie Public, Zeega

Feature, Large
Snow Fall, The New York Times

Student Projects, Small
The Pulse of Oakland, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

Student Projects, Large
Triumph, Then Tragedy: The Boston Marathon Bombings, Boston University News Service

Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism, Small
In The Name Of The Law, Honolulu Civil Beat

Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism, Medium
Big Money 2012, FRONTLINE, American Public Media’s Marketplace, ProPublica

Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism, Large
The NSA Files, The Guardian

Gannett Foundation Award for Watchdog Journalism
The NSA Files, The Guardian


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