NYT, Texas Tribune dominate Online Journalism Awards

Rodney Gibbs, chief product officer for the Texas Tribune, accepts one of the organization's three awards Saturday night. (Minna Markkanen/ONA Student Newsroom)
Rodney Gibbs, chief product officer for the Texas Tribune, accepts one of the organization’s three awards Saturday night. (Minna Markkanen/ONA Student Newsroom)

The New York Times, Texas Tribune, ProPublica and The Wall Street Journal walked away from ONA’s Online Journalism Awards Saturday night with multiple honors.

The New York Times led the way with five awards — more than what it took home in Los Angeles last year. The Texas Tribune claimed three awards — one more than last year — including one for general excellence in the small newsroom category.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about great stories and being able to tell stories that are meaningful and have consequence,” said Kinsey Wilson, the Times’ editor for innovation and strategy. “It all comes back to story at the end of the day. That’s what gets you up every day and keeps you going.”

Two individuals were honored — Steve Buttry with the Rich Jaroslovsky Founder Award and Sima Diab with the James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting. They received standing ovations.

Jaroslovsky, ONA’s founder and the only 17-year conference attendee, said Buttry, director of student media at Louisiana State University, was recognized for his “guts” in pushing the boundaries of digital journalism.

“My pancreas isn’t doing so well, but my heart is filled with gratitude,” said Buttry, who’s battling his third bout of cancer. “I’m not worthy of this, but I’m not giving it back, and I’ll continue trying to be worthy.”

Diab, a Cairo-based Syrian-American photographer, was the second recipient of the Foley Award for her evocative imagery of conflicts around the world.

“To have anyone take notice and to be touched, to make someone think and evoke emotion, to move someone sitting in their home in the U.S. to care about someone stranded in the Balkans … that gives me resolve to continue,” Diab said.

“It’s very important to remember, though, that our Sunday frontpage story is another’s everyday reality.”

Smaller newsrooms received awards, too. Honolulu Civil Beat won for its feature on a homeless camp in Waianae, and St. Louis Public Radio was recognized in the planned news category for “One Year in Ferguson.”

“It’s so important to me not to forget why pieces of journalism like this exist in the first place — to create spaces where the dialogue can intersect and everyone can understand each other better,” said Kelsey Proud, who was St. Louis Public Radio’s digital innovation editor when it published the project.

The award that honored the most journalists was the Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, which was given to the more than 370 journalists who worked on the Panama Papers project.

“Sometimes we think about media in crisis, but a big collaboration and the amount of journalists who were part of this showed us that there are other ways,” said Emilia Díaz-Struck, research editor of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. “With great investigative journalists that work together across borders, you can actually have stories with global impact that can make a change.”

ONA Newsroom’s Cody Boteler and Danny Nett contributed to this story.

The full list of awards:

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Small
The Texas Tribune

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Medium
Quartz

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Large (tie)
AJ+ Digital News Publishing
The New York Times

Knight Award for Public Service
Prisons Reporting, The Huffington Post

Breaking News, Small
No finalists or winner

Breaking News, Medium
An Occupation in Eastern Oregon, OPB – Oregon Public Broadcasting

Breaking News, Large
Paris Attacks, The New York Times

Gannett Foundation Award for Technical Innovation in the Service of Digital Journalism
Nearby Tipping, Breaking News

Planned News / Events, Small
Campaign 2016: The Candidates & the World, Council on Foreign Relations

Planned News /Events, Medium
One Year in Ferguson, St. Louis Public Radio

Planned News / Events, Large
The Election, The New York Times

Explanatory Reporting, Small
Pulp Fiction, Climate Central

Explanatory Reporting, Medium
The Price of Admission, The Texas Tribune and REVEAL, from the Center for Investigative Reporting

Explanatory Reporting, Large
2050 Demographics, The Wall Street Journal

Topical Reporting, Small
God & Governing: How Texas Legislators’ Religious Beliefs Guide Their Lawmaking, The Texas Tribune

Topical Reporting, Medium
Reliving Agent Orange, ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot

Topical Reporting, Large (tie)
Missing and Murdered, The Globe and Mail
The County, The Guardian US

Online Commentary
A Conversation on Race, The New York Times

Feature, Small
The Harbor: This Waianae Homeless Camp Is Not What You’d Expect, Honolulu Civil Beat

Feature, Medium
The Downloaders, Verdens Gang

Feature, Large
Cosby: The Women, New York Magazine

Sports, Small
Disqualified After Concussions, College Football Players Recruited Back Onto the Field, STAT

Sports, Medium
Becoming Royal, The Kansas City Star – McClatchy

Sports, Large
Sports Visualization, The New York Times

The David Teeuwen Student Journalism Award, Small
Chasing Lithium, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

The David Teeuwen Student Journalism Award, Large
NYC Values, NYU Journalism, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute

Pro-Am Student Award
Out of the Shadows, UBC Graduate School of Journalism

The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, Small
Exxon: The Road Not Taken, InsideClimate News

The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, Medium
The Color of Debt, ProPublica

The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, Large
The Panama Papers: Politicians, Criminals and the Rogue Industry That Hides Their Cash, The Center for Public Integrity’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 media organizations

Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling, Small
Undercurrent, School of Media and Journalism, University of North Carolina

Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling, Medium
Casualties of the Streets, Austin American-Statesman

Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling, Large
Visual Digital Storytelling from The Wall Street Journal, The Wall Street Journal

The University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism, Small/Medium
The Drone Papers, The Intercept

The University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism, Large
Focus on Force: An Investigation In Use of Force by the Orlando Police Department, Orlando Sentinel

2016 Rich Jaroslovsky Founder Award
Steve Buttry, Director of Student Media, LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication

2016 James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting
Sima Diab, Freelance Photographer and Reporter

OJA 2016

Correction: This story originally misstated how many awards The New York Times received.