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Former KDMC Fellows Nominated for 2011 Online News Association Awards

ona logoOn Wednesday, the Online News Association announced the finalists for its 2011 Online Journalism Awards, a yearly acknowledgement of the reporters and innovators pushing digital storytelling.

Among the finalists were four projects produced by journalists and organizations that we've had the pleasure of working with, ranging from investigations on the price of fuel, earthquake safety and lifesaving drugs to a site focused on regional environmental issues.

This year's finalists are a reflection of the explosion of journalistic innovation on new digital platforms, and entries for all awards were open to news produced for any digital device, ONA said.

"We found that excellence in digital journalism today requires not only traditional shoe-leather reporting and engaging storytelling, but also sophisticated use of social tools and multimedia techniques," Anthony Moor, Managing Editor of Local at Yahoo! and co-chair the Online Journalism Awards Committee, said Wednesday in a release by ONA.

It's a sentiment that has been at the core of KDMC since our inception, and what has driven us to try and provide a range of resources that enable journalists to push the limits of our field.

Ecotrope, produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting and NPR, is an online environmental news site focused on the Pacific Northwest, and this summer we held a custom multimedia training for the reporters and producers behind the finalist for excellence in online topical reporting or blogging by a small site.

The Price of Gas, a report produced by our very own program assistant Sarah Terry-Cobo for California Watch and the Center for Investigative Reporting, is a finalist in the excellence in online video journalism from a small site category. It examines the true costs of gasoline; what we pay for at the pump may not be a true reflection of the external costs involved, including pollution and health problems associated with it.

Lastly, InvestigateWest was nominated for innovative investigative journalism for its examination of the deadly consequences of so-called lifesaving drugs. A combination of a text article and video components, the investigation on the dangers faced by healthcare workers was also published by the Seattle Times, MSNBC and Seattle's PBS TV station.

The Washington-based nonprofit investigative news organization is no stranger to publicity. Last year, KDMC director Lanita Pace published a handful of posts about its startup mentality, establishing respectability and esteem for news partners in the region. Co-founders Rita Hubbard (Dec '09), Robert McClure (Jan '10) and Kristen Young (Jun '10) are alumni of our multimedia trainings.

InvestigativeWest's investigation is up against "On Shaky Ground," a look at the seismic safety of California's public schools, another nominated project produced by California Watch and the Center for Investigative Reporting. With data analysis and visualization produced by former fellow Agustin Armendariz (Dec '10), the package featured an array of infographics, maps, videos, an iPhone app and series of written pieces on the "systematic failures by the state's chief regulator of construction standards for public schools."

Eight of the awards have cash prizes totaling $33,000, courtesy of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Gannett Foundation. The Knight Foundation, as you might know — or have deduced from our name — is our benefactor, as well.