Two new categories have been added to the list for the Ontario Newspaper Awards this year.
Multimedia journalism – under 25,000 circulation – is given for a single story or package for which the author produced photography and online elements as well as a print component.
The new Enterprise Reporting category is open to small and large circulation member papers, and will be awarded for a single story or consecutive series of up to three stories on the same subject of an investigative, analytical or interpretive nature.
ONA chairman Howard Elliott says the new awards are part of the process of reinventing the awards, which are in their 57th year.
“The recession and changing newspaper economy took a toll on ONA, and a number of major newspaper company sponsors withdrew their support.
“But thanks to the remaining newspaper sponsors and a team of new sponsors, the awards are back on track and stronger than ever,” Elliott said.
ONA intends to re-introduce a student journalist award for the 2012 edition of the awards, as well as move to all electronic award submissions, streamlining the traditional tearsheet process and making the job of ONA volunteer judges easier, he said.
Elliott was also enthusiastic about ONA’s development of social media tools to improve and increase communication and interactivity around the awards.
The awards also launched a website this year (onawards.ca), which will offer regular ONA updates, photo galleries of the gala and the many winners. You can also email questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As well, thanks to ONA organizing committee members under the leadership of The Canadian Press’s Ontario bureau chief Wendy McCann, Ontario journalists can track nominations and other ONA news via Twitter and Facebook.
There are 32 ONA newspaper members across Ontario, ranging from Thunder Bay to Kingston.
Each year journalists and their editors submit their best work, which is judged by an expert panel of volunteer judges, who choose two or three finalists and from that group choose one winner.
In past years ONA winners have received a plaque and cash award, but the award was cut while ONA restructured during the recession.
Elliott noted this year ONA returns to awarding cash as well as plaques, to category winners as well as to the Journalist and Photojournalist of the year..