Finding inspiration in the ONA finalists list

The Online News Association will be announcing the winners of its annual contest early next month, but advisers looking for updated material to inspire staffs working on digital news projects can go to the list of finalists now for inspiration. The list is filled with amazing online projects that will stretch your students to think beyond the typical headline-photo-story template.

The presentation of the finalists this year is especially inspiring because included with each is its backstory, explaining the process of reporting and building the story and the impact it had. This is a great way to pull back the proverbial curtain that sometimes seems to enshroud professional online story packages.

The ONA awards list is always a great go-to place to see what’s up-and-coming in digital journalism innovation, and this year’s list meets that expectation. You might want to share with students some of the 360 degree video projects or some of the immersive audio projects (like NPR’s Stand at the Edge of Geologic Time).

Regardless of how you use it, your students will certainly benefit from seeing what’s possible in online journalism, and these award finalists set the bar pretty high.

Michelle Balmeo

Michelle Balmeo, MJE, is the adviser of The Whirlwind, a reemerging news publication at West Albany High School in Albany, Ore. For 11 years prior to relocating to Oregon, she advised a media staff in the Silicon Valley. In her career, she has been selected as CA Journalism Teacher of the Year, a JEA Rising Star, and a DJNF Distinguished Adviser. She was formerly the JEA Web Curriculum Leader.

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