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The Online Journalism Awards have been fairly good at recognizing the work of some smaller or new sites over the years but the results announced at the crowded awards dinner at the San Francisco Hilton this weekend had a different aura. Yes, the New York Times won a couple, including general excellence for a large site, and so did BBC News (breaking news, large site); LATimes.com for its Hero Complex blog, (commentary/blogging, large site); Washington Post Digital (multimedia feature, large site); NPR.org’s Planet Money (topical reporting, large site) and Slate V (video, large site). But the rest were spread among a fascinating mix that showed good work is being done by startups and established sites with various levels of resources and goals. It wasn’t an accident: this year’s awards included new categories and new ways to recognize sites to expand the reach and the impact. The full list is here. Some examples below:
— Publish2, the collaborative tools startup founded by Scott Karp, won the inaugural Gannett (NYSE: GCI) Foundation Award for technical innovation in the service of digital journalism — and a $5,000 check to go with the acrylic trophy.
— Another new award for community collaboration went to Next Door Media for MyBallard, the first of its five hyperlocal sites. Next Door Media is run by journalists Kate and Cory Bergman. and recently announced a partnership with the Seattle Times. (Kate is working with Next Door Media full time while Cory, one of our friends from Lost Remote, is still at msnbc.com.)
— Hyperlocal Gotham Gazette won for general excellence, micro site, a new size for that category.
— Muckety,a site that looks at news through the prism of relationships and connections, was recognized for outstanding use of digital technologies, small site. NYTimes.com won the same category, large site, for its “super groundbreaking” interactive graphics.
— High-profile startups Pro Publica and The Daily Beast each won. The nonprofit investigative startup won for general excellence, medium site, recognized both for its own work and for helping other journalists. Just ending its first year, Tina Brown’s Daily Beast won for Christopher Buckley’s commentary and was a finalist for general excellence.
— Spanish site SOITU.ES won last year — its first in operation — for general excellence, non-English small site, and this year in the same category as a large site. The site blends original content and aggregated news/features with community engagement and tech tools. This year’s small site winner was Radio Azattyq, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty