Online Journalism Awards 2023

Online Journalism Awards 2023 Winners

The Online Journalism Awards of 2023 have wrapped up, and, as always, they’ve served us a delightful assortment of journalistic endeavors.  This year, we’ve seen some truly groundbreaking work that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in journalism.

The awards celebrated a diverse mix of talent, with winners like Honolulu Civil Beat and The Marshall Project taking home prizes for their impactful reporting.  Some awards were expected, while others were rather surprising, so let’s wade through the winners, shall we?

General Excellence In Online Journalism

Small Newsroom

Honolulu Civil Beat

First up, we have Honolulu Civil Beat, claiming victory in the Small Newsroom category. Their series, which I guess we could call an explosive expose, highlighted the lingering remnants of World War II munitions causing havoc in the Solomon Islands.

It’s always heartwarming to see the little guys make a big bang, isn’t it? Hats off to the underdogs, the Center for Public Integrity and The Markup, for making it to the finalists. Better luck next time!

Medium Form Small/Medium

THE CITY: Exposing the NYPD

When it comes to Medium Form, Small/Medium Newsroom, THE CITY took the cake with its investigative prowess, showcasing “Videos Show NYPD Chiefs Intervened Before Voiding of Ex-Cop’s Gun Arrest.”

Sounds like a Netflix thriller, doesn’t it? But real life, as they say, is stranger (and sometimes more thrilling) than fiction. Kudos to them for pulling the curtain back on a storyline we might have expected in a late-night drama.

Excellence In Newsletters

The Marshall Project

Over in the Medium Newsroom category, The Marshall Project reminded us why we should still care about and be mindful of the U.S. criminal justice system.  Through their investigative lens, they spotlighted the prosecutions of pregnant women with addictions and a particularly violent prison unit in Illinois.

It’s journalism that doesn’t just inform but advocates for change. A round of applause for KFF Health News, ProPublica, and The Verge for their commendable efforts.

Micro Newsroom

The Pudding

Then there’s The Pudding, our Micro Newsroom champion. They’ve carved a niche for themselves by explaining culturally debated ideas with visual essays, proving that sometimes, a picture (or an infographic) really is worth a thousand words.

Civil Eats and Undark, keep those visuals coming. We’re watching. They were close competitors but, ultimately, fell short of the reward.

Digital Video Storytelling

Best Video Journalism Awards

Large Newsroom

Risky Business Inc. Insider

The Series, Large Newsroom category was snagged by Risky Business Inc. Insider, for their deep dive into industries with high human costs.  It’s always so refreshing when journalists decide to remind us of the darker underbelly of capitalism.

Voice of America and Al Jazeera English, you gave it a good run with your own tales of intrigue and insight. They didn’t make the cut for the reward, but they were definitely competitive with their respectable pieces and stories.

The New York Times

Shifting gears to the Short Form, Large Newsroom award, The New York Times emerged victorious.  Their piece, ‘I Heard Them Screaming:’ Witness Says Migrants Were Left to Die in Mexico Fire, does what The Times does best—tug at our heartstrings while subtly reminding us of our ongoing global crises. Subtlety, after all, is a fine art.

Excellence In Audio Digital Storytelling

Best Audio Digital Storytelling Award

Use of Audio Storytelling

The Washington Post

The Use of Audio Storytelling nod went to The Washington Post for “The search for the perfect sound,” a nostalgic journey through the vinyl era’s quest for auditory bliss.  It’s refreshing to see stories that don’t just scream for attention but, instead, invite us to listen closely.

And let’s not forget the runners-up, who brought us closer to understanding abortion, the Prairies, and—everyone’s favorite—dinosaurs.

Knight Award for Public Service

Public Service Journalism Awards

So, the big reveal: the project that snatched the Knight Award for Public Service at the Online Journalism Awards 2023 was nothing short of a journalistic coup, focusing on the vanishing act of women in Argentina during its democratic period.

A topic, mind you, that had been collecting dust in the ignored corners of media coverage until this series lit up the scene on International Women’s Day. Talk about making an entrance. The winners were LA NACION. Here’s the skinny on why it won:

They Unearthed the Invisible

This wasn’t just another series of articles. No, it was a crusade to spotlight the Argentine state’s spectacular fumble in both quantifying and solving the disappearances of women. They didn’t just poke the bear; they went all in.

The Launch

Dropping on International Women’s Day, the project didn’t pull any punches. It came out swinging with a special report zeroing in on the state’s inefficiencies, a heart-wrenching visualization of missing women, and the painstaking reconstruction of the lives of 60 women who had vanished into thin air.

Beyond Day One

Following the launch, they kept the momentum with stories that dug deeper into the abyss of state negligence and the haphazard efforts to find these women.  Add to this a chunk of social media campaigns that made the search for the missing a collective quest, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for impact.

The Nuts and Bolts

The project was built on a foundation of rigor, with a backbone of official data complemented by a cross-checking frenzy with five sources.  The narrative? As respectful as a tightrope walker, balancing the urgency of the message with the dignity of the affected families.

The Social Media Sizzle

Partnering with civil society organizations, they didn’t just whisper into the void; they roared, generating around 200 original posts across the social media spectrum. This wasn’t just reporting; it was mobilizing an army for the cause.

And what did the judges have to say? They were floored by the emotional juggernaut this project proved to be. It was a lighthouse guiding the way through decades of darkness, offering solace, understanding, and actionable insights for those grappling with the pain of disappearance.

Wrapping It Up

So, there you have it—the 2023 Online Journalism Awards in a nutshell. It’s journalism’s finest hour, celebrated not with fireworks but with the quiet acknowledgment of stories well told.  Here’s to hoping that this year brings even more tales of the unexpected because let’s face it, the world could use a lot more truth and fine, unbiased journalistic work.

Iona Maclean

Iona Maclean

With seven years of dedicated experience in journalism, I've sharpened my skills in delivering reports and insightful stories that resonate. My time in the industry has given me a perspective on different topics, from technological advancements to cultural phenomena. What drives me the most is uncovering the truth and bringing you stories that inform, inspire, and connect.