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Entries Open for 2012 Online Journalism Awards; Categories Updated

(May 21, 2012)

WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwire) -- 05/21/12 -- The Online News Association, the world's largest membership organization of digital journalists, and the University of Miami's School of Communication today opened the call for entries for the 2012 Online Journalism Awards, emblematic of the best in digital journalism.

Eight awards come with a total of $33,000 in prize money, courtesy of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Gannett Foundation, including two $2,500 awards for innovative investigative work. The deadline for entries is Thursday, June 21, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

This year, ONA introduced changes to keep pace with rapid innovations in the field.

"Since its inception in 2000, the OJAs have recognized major media, international and independent sites and individuals producing innovative work in multimedia storytelling," said Joshua Hatch, OJA chair. "Over that time, we've witnessed incredible innovation in the tools and techniques journalists have used to tell their stories. Not only are journalists publishing content on the web, but they're making interactive applications, mobile apps, tools and more. We need to make sure the awards reflect that innovation."

New expectations: Excellence has always been the barometer for determining OJA winners, and this year is no exception. With the introduction of social media, mobile applications and integrated multimedia, readers and ONA judges expect successful entrants in every category to creatively use what digital platforms have to offer as they relate to the entry

New categories: Rather than honor specific technologies or storytelling tools, categories have been crafted to break out content by topic and to honor work that best leverages digital platforms.

New metrics: To better sort organizations, entrants are being separated by the size of their editorial staffs rather than by unique visitors. This will more accurately capture the resources an organization has available. For an entrant to be considered "small," the number of staff dedicated to editorial efforts must be fewer than 25 full-time employees; for medium, more than 25 FTEs, but fewer than 100 FTEs; for large, more than 100 FTEs.

Student: Students are welcome to submit work to any category. However, the entire project must have been produced only by enrolled and uncompensated students receiving academic credit for the work being entered. Students can be full- or part-time; graduate, undergraduate or high school students.

Partnerships: If a project is the product of a partnership of two or more organizations, entrants must use the combined number of FTEs of the partner organizations as the guideline.

Deadlines: The 2012 OJAs are open to work published between June 16, 2011, and June 15, 2012. Applicants are invited to submit their work at until Thursday, June 21, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Judging: The finalists and the winners will be selected through a two-step process. A group of 24 industry-leading journalists and new media professionals team up in pairs to rank finalists in each category. In August, a dozen of those judges will meet to select winners at the University of Miami under the auspices of the School of Communication.

The OJAs are the only comprehensive set of journalism prizes honoring excellence in digital journalism, administered by ONA and its academic partner, the University of Miami's School of Communication. Following tradition, this year's honorees will be announced on the final night of ONA12, the Online News Association Conference and Awards Banquet, Sept. 20-22, at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco.

For the complete list of 2011 winners, visit

About ONA
The Online News Association is the world's largest association of digital journalists. ONA's mission is to inspire innovation and excellence among journalists to better serve the public. The membership includes news writers, producers, designers, editors, bloggers, developers, photographers, educators, students and others who produce news for and support digital delivery systems. ONA also hosts the annual Online News Association conference and administers the Online Journalism Awards.

About the University of Miami School of Communication
The University of Miami School of Communication prepares forward-thinking, analytical and responsible communication professionals for success in a global society. The School offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in advertising, cinema, communication studies, interactive media, journalism and public relations, with a total current enrollment of approximately 1100 students and 58 full-time faculty members.

For more information, contact:
Jane McDonnell
Executive Director
Email Contact

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