Newspaper dot-coms dominate Online Journalism Award finalists

The Online News Assocation today named USA Today’s website as a finalist for four Online Journalism Awards, leading all news organizations. The New York Times on the Web earned three finalist designations, as newspaper-affiliated websites dominated the honors. The awards attracted 694 entries for the 18 categories this year, according to ONA executive director Lori Schwab.

The Online Journalism Awards will be presented on October 7, during the ONA’s annual national conference, which will be held this year at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. The awards are administered by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication, which also publishes OJR.

An OJR analysis of the offline media affiliations of the finalists in the non-student categories shows that newspaper dot-coms led the way, earning 38 finalist honors for 27 sites, including that of the Associated Press. Magazine-published websites earned eight finalist awards. Cable television networks earned five honors, while over-the air networks earned three and one local television station (Indianapolis’s WTHR) earned a finalist nod.

Ten websites not affiliated with an offline media partner earned 12 finalist honors, though that number includes Slate, which is now owned by the Washington Post, and The Smoking Gun, which is owned by the cable TV network Court TV. [Editor’s note — Numbers corrected to note that Gulf Coast News is not affiliated with a newspaper.]

Finalists in each category are listed below, along with the finalist’s offline media affiliation. The designation between “large” and “small” websites is determined by the individual domain’s monthly visitors, and does not reflect the size of the news organization behind the site.

General Excellence in Online Journalism (Large)

MSNBC (cable network)
The New York Times (newspaper)
Star Tribune (newspaper)
USA Today (newspaper)
Washington (newspaper)

General Excellence in Online Journalism (Medium)

New West (not affiliated)
Orlando Sentinel (newspaper) (newspaper)
Spokesman Review (newspaper)

General Excellence in Online Journalism (Small)

The Center for Public Integrity (not affiliated)
Congressional Quarterly (magazine) (newspaper)
Speaking of Faith (broadcast network)

Breaking News (Large)

“London Terrorist Bombings”, CNN (cable network)
“NYC Transit Strike,” New York Times (newspaper)
“Hurricane Katrina,” (newspaper)
“Hurricane Wilma,” Sun Sentinel (newspaper)
“Hurricane Katrina,” USA Today (newspaper)

Breaking News (Small)

“The 404 Debate,” (magazine)
“Hurricane Katrina,” Sun Herald (newspaper)

Online Commentary (Large)

“The Drive-In with James Hill,” BET (cable network)
“BorgBlog,” Jim Borgman, (newspaper)
“David Pogue on,” New York Times (newspaper)
“Architecture,” Slate Magazine (not affiliated, though owned by a newspaper company)
“Moneybox,” Slate Magazine (not affiliated, though owned by a newspaper company)

Online Commentary (Medium)

“Stuck in the 80s,” (newspaper)
“Stacy Haddox,” (newspaper)
“Survivor: Treasure Coast Blogfest,” (newspaper)

Online Commentary (Small)

CJR Daily (magazine)
“Get on the Bus,” Scott Elliot (newspaper)
“Good Morning Silicon Valley,” John Paczkowski (newspaper) (not affiliated)

Outstanding Use of Multiple Media (Large)

“London Attacks,” BBC News (broadcast network)
“Hurricane Katrina,” (cable network)
“Going Down the Crooked Road,” (newspaper)
“2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy,” USA Today (newspaper)

Outstanding Use of Multiple Media (Small)

“An Enduring Mystery,” Herald Tribune (newspaper)
“Montgomery Boycott,” Montgomery Advertiser (newspaper)
“Tallahassee Bus Boycott Anniversary,” Tallahassee Democrat (newspaper)

Specialty Journalism (Large)

Business Week (magazine)
“Taking back the Web: New generation, technologies return Net to social roots,” CNET (not affiliated)
“ESPN Insider,” ESPN (cable network)
NOVA Science NOW (broadcast network)

Specialty (Small)

Bicycling (magazine)
“Azerbaijan Elections 2005,” (not affiliated)
Fine Woodworking (magazine) (newspaper) (not affiliated)

Service Journalism (Large)

“The Mercury Menace,” Chicago Tribune (newspaper)
“Identity Crisis: Myth vs. Reality in ID Theft,” CNET (not affiliated)
“Walk This Way Challenge,” Prevention (magazine)
“License to Harm,” Seattle Times (newspaper)
“Couples and Their Cash,” USA Today (newspaper)

Service Journalism (Small)

“Quality Counts at 10: A Decade of Standards Based Education,” Education Week (magazine)
“Toxic Legacy,” The Bergen Record (newspaper)
Gulf Coast News (not affiliated)

Enterprise Journalism (Large)

“A Million Little Lies,” The Smoking Gun (not affiliated, though owned by a cable network)
“e-Qaeda,” Washington Post (newspaper)
“9/11 Loans,” Associated Press (newspaper)

Enterprise (Small)

“Cause for Alarm,” WTHR 13 Eyewitness News (local TV)
“Conflicts on the Bench,” Muckracker.Org (not affiliated)
“Power Trips,“ The Center for Public Integrity (not affiliated)
“Toxic Cargo,” Press Enterprise (newspaper)

Knight Foundation Award for Public Service

“Hurricane Katrina: The Storm We Always Feared,” (newspaper)
“Toxic Legacy,” The Record (newspaper)
“Fire Alarm,” Newsday (newspaper)
“Mortgage Fraud: The new street hustle,” Chicago Tribune (newspaper)
“Hurricane Katrina,” Sun Herald (newspaper)

Student Journalism

“Chasing Crusoe,” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Universidad de Los Andes, Facultad de Comunicación
“My Blue Eyed Girl,” Heather Gehlert, School of Journalism, University of Berkeley
“Peavine Explorations,” Reynolds School of Journalism
“Rezoned,” Jeff DelViscio and Khody Akhavi, Columbia School of Journalism
“The Ancient Way,” School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina, the Department of Journalism at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) and the Faculty of Communication at the Universidad de los Andes (Chile)

The judges for the 2006 awards were:

  • Mary Lou Fulton, VP Audience Development, The Bakersfield Californian
  • Sue Gardner, Senior Director,
  • Mitch Gelman, Senior VP and Executive Producer,
  • Rich Jaroslovsky, Executive Editor, Government and Economy, Bloomberg News
  • Chris Jennewein, Director of Internet operations, Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
  • Anthony Moor, Editor,
  • Laura Sellers, Online Director, East Oregonian Publishing Co.
  • Michael Silberman, Vice President and Editorial Director, Rodale Interactive
  • Jonathan Weber, Founder and Editor in Chief, New West
  • About Robert Niles

    Robert Niles is the former editor of OJR, and no longer associated with the site. You may find him now at


    1. This really wasn’t much of a surprise. When there’s little understanding of how the online world works, when it is seen only as another way to deliver content, then the mainstream’s efforts will continue to dominate. If anything, the OJA awards could start to open up new categories to include outstanding efforts in new media.

      Yeah, sure…there must be something other than coffee in my coffee today….;-)

    2. I’ve been complaining/whining about the OJA’s big-media bias for several years. I’m biased, because I did submit some work this year from Coastsider that I’m particularly proud of.

      But when I’m competing in the “small” category with and the company formerly known as Knight-Ridder (Good Morning Silicon Valley), I feel like a chump for signing the check on my entry fee. Everybody loves Lawrence. But a lot of important work is happening in citizen journalism and the OJA is MIA for yet another year.