Recognition for The Post at the 2023 Online Journalism Awards

Recognition for The Post at the 2023 Online Journalism Awards

From Executive Editor Sally Buzbee and Editorial Page Editor David Shipley:

The Post has been recognized with seven wins and 15 total finalists as a part of this year’s Online News Association’s annual Online Journalism Awards. The recognition included winning the contest’s highest honor — General Excellence in Online Journalism in the large circulation category, a win that acknowledges work from across the Newsroom and Opinions, where judges cited “world class storytelling, making use of gorgeous animation and 3D modelling, incredibly powerful state-of-the-art journalism that challenges beliefs and whose influence will be felt for years to come.” It is the fourth time The Post has won the General Excellence award — the last time was 2018.

It is the most awards The Post has won since the contest began in 2000. The winning entries as announced this past weekend at the ONA conference in Philadelphia:

“American Icon,” The Post’s series examining the rise of the AR-15 and its grip on a divided nation, is a double winner in the Online Journalism Awards in the large newsroom category. The overall series, produced by 75 journalists representing nearly every newsroom department, won for Explanatory Reporting. Rooted in interviews with more than 200 people with relevant firsthand experience — including firearms industry executives and lobbyists, gun owners, shooting survivors and victims’ families, lawmakers, first responders, activists and armed militants, as well as internal company records and court filings — the series was cited for advancing the public’s understanding of the weapon at the center of some of the country’s worst mass shootings. The multimedia series included video testimonials from shooting survivors and first responders , an audio feature allowing readers to experience the sound of a high-capacity magazine, and a first-of-its-kind poll of AR-15 owners, among other elements.

“The Blast Effect,” one of the marquee stories in the series, won the award for Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling. In this ground-breaking piece, Post staff combined deep, revelatory reporting with gripping animations and intricate design to provide an unflinching yet respectful portrayal of how bullets fired by AR-15s decimate human bodies. The piece was based on a review of autopsy reports from several AR-15 shootings as well as court testimony and interviews with trauma surgeons, ballistics experts and a medical examiner, which allowed The Post to illustrate with precision the wounds suffered by Noah Pozner and Peter Wang, victims of shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, respectively.

The Post’s “Black Out” series earned two wins. It finished first for the University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism and in the Sports, Health and Wellness category. In “Black Out,” a sprawling team of reporters, data journalists and columnists from around the newsroom used first-of-its-kind data analysis and exclusive reporting — including on-camera interviews with 16 of the 24 living current and former NFL head coaches who identify as Black — to expose how discrimination has impeded Black progress in a league powered by Black labor. Among The Post’s findings: Black coaches faced narrower paths to top jobs than White coaches, were more often fired after successful seasons and were less likely than White coaches to convert successful interim head-coaching positions into full-time jobs. “This entry has everything: scope, context, background, impact,” the judges stated. “It’s also beautifully designed.”

“Story Killers,” a global project on disinformation that included contributions from The Post, won the Excellence in Collaboration and Partnerships category. The project was led by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based newsroom, and included from the The Post “These women journalists were doing their jobs. That made them targets.” and “Leaked files reveal reputation-management firm’s deceptive tactics.” These stories were brought to life by array of videos, photographs, graphics and design elements from a multi-departmental team.

The Post is also the winner of the Excellence in Audio Digital Storytelling, Use of Audio Storytelling category. Using more than a year of reporting, Features partnered with Design, Photo, Video and Audio teams to produce “The search for the perfect sound,” a multimedia dive into the world of extreme audiophiles and the vinyl record boom. For the story’s interactive centerpiece, Post staff traveled with special microphones to a $363,000 audio system in Brooklyn, where they captured both digital and analog playback of the same songs. An embedded audio quiz designed tested readers’ ability to hear the difference — and according to the results, they could.

Also in Use of Audio Storytelling, “Seven personal stories about abortion” was recognized as a finalist. Rachel Manteuffel, who staffs the Opinions section’s mailbox for op-ed submissions, has rejected approximately 100 people per weekday for almost 13 years. The weekend after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, we got many times the usual number of submissions. The arithmetic demanded she let through only the pieces that really got her in the feelings, and as she read that weekend, this task became more and more difficult. She started writing the most compassionate rejection note she could send out to masses of people. One woman wrote back almost immediately, saying she cried just knowing someone had read her story. So we decided to compile excerpts of hers and six other readers’ stories in their own words and voices. They are, we warn you, devastating — especially if you turn the sound on.

Post Opinions was also recognized as a finalist in Online Commentary, Personal Narrative. In more than 50 years of reporting, Bob Woodward had never made public the full, raw transcripts of his interviews. But after reviewing the 20 interviews he conducted with Donald Trump during Trump’s last year as president, Woodward decided to open his notebook for the historical record. “Trump is an unparalleled danger,” Woodward wrote in The Post’s Oct. 22 Opinions Essay. “When you listen to him on the range of issues from foreign policy to the virus to racial injustice, it’s clear he did not know what to do. Trump was overwhelmed by the job.” Readers can listen and decide for themselves: The online essay has nearly two dozen audio clips drawn from eight-plus hours of on-the-record conversation. (The entirety of their exchanges were published in an audiobook later that month.)

The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award category saw The Post with two finalist spots. The result of our year-long effort – “Cartel Rx: Fentanyl’s Deadly Surge” – is a tour de force that holds to account two national governments, four U.S. administrations and multiple federal agencies. Combining groundbreaking reporting, evocative writing, unflinching photo and video journalism, rigorous data research and compelling graphics and design. The other finalist, “They Lost Their Pregnancies. Then Prosecutors Sent Them to Prison,” revealed that more than 50 women have been prosecuted for child neglect or manslaughter in the United States since 1999 because they tested positive for drug use after a miscarriage or stillbirth, according to the investigation by the Marshall Project, the Frontier and that was co-edited and published in partnership with The Washington Post.

The Well+Being team’s science-based nutrition and personal health coverage was a finalist in the 3M Truth in Science Award. Their reporting helped readers navigate a nutrition field that is rife with misinformation, industry-sponsored research and conflicting advice.

As a finalist in the Digital Video Storytelling, Long Form category, “Exploited for decades, female bodybuilders speak out” — a 13-minute documentary and part of the “Built & Broken” series — shed light on the scores of female bodybuilders who were sexually exploited by officials of the two major bodybuilding federations.

In an innovative project, “3D analysis shows how Israeli troops fired into group of civilians,” The Post re-created the shooting location within virtual 3D space, coupling skillful modeling and animation with intrepid reporting and elegant storytelling. This work was recognized as a finalist in Excellence in Immersive and Emerging Technology Storytelling.

Geoffrey A. Fowler was a finalist in Online Commentary, Package of Columns. With coverage on personal tech spanning from consumer electronics’ death dates to Google’s logging of sensitive data, Fowler’s body of work brings to light how tech’s thorniest problems as well as the gadgets we love impact us and — departing from most other tech commentary — takes readers with him on a hunt for solutions.

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