Digital Journalists should keep an eye on the Online News Association (ONA), an international non-profit organization for journalists that promotes technology and innovation through training schemes, prizes and conferences.
ONA offers a set of awards, the Online Journalism Awards, to reward journalistic excellence in the digital sector. This year the deadline for submissions, subject to extension, has been set at 21 June 2013 and journalists from all countries are encouraged to apply. There are entry fees that range from $15 for students to $175 for professionals. Anyone can apply, but members of the ONA get discounted entry fees.
The jury will select three finalists for each category during the summer and the winners will be announced during the annual gala evening to be held in Atlanta on 19 October. Winners can win up to $5,000. Details here.
ONA was founded in 1999 to offer the fledgling sector of online journalism a space to discuss issues relevant to digital journalism. It addressed questions that related to best practices, tools, framework and other matters. It organises an annual conference: this year it will be held in Atlanta from 17 to 19 October. Local events are also organized to foster study, debate and networking through branches that include ONAWashington, ONALA, ONAToronto, ONAItalia and ONASpain. The association also organizes ONA Journalist Training Camps at different locations throughout the United States.
The awards were first introduced in 2000 to identify and reward journalistic excellence in the digital field. Until last year English language websites were assessed separately in two special categories but from this year any site and any project in any language can compete in all the categories.
Mario Tedeschini Lalli Chairman of ONA’s International Committee and Deputy Director, Innovation and Development of the Gruppo Editoriale l’Espresso, said he hoped this change will “will increasingly turn the Online Journalism Awards into a mirror of the excellence produced in digital journalism throughout the world. “
Sites or projects can compete in one or more categories, with no geographic barriers. Each category is also divided into size, so the work of a single site or a small organization of journalists will not be pitted against sites like that of the New York Times or Le Monde
The categories are:
- Breaking News
- Planned News/Events
- Explanatory Reporting
- Topical Reporting
- Online Commentary
- Student Projects
- Gannett Foundation Award for Technical Innovation in the Service of Digital Journalism
- Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism
- Gannett Foundation Award for Watchdog Journalism
- Knight Award for Public Service
- General Excellence in Online Journalism.