Journalism organizations of all shapes and sizes from all across the USA and Europe gathered in Washington, DC this past October 7th to recognize the 'best of the best' in journalistic excellence in all forms of media.
The awards ceremony looked like a "Who's Who" in journalism with representatives from news organizations all across the nation from Los Angeles to Washington DC and throughout Europe. This year's Online News Association's contest received 1,100 entries in 13 categories from journalists all over the world. The ONA is the world's largest association of digital journalists.
WUOT took top honors in "Topical Reporting" in the small newsroom category for TruckBeat, the nine month project WUOT produced in cooperation with the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR). In announcing the award for TruckBeat, emcee Joshua Johnson said, "At a time when many Americans do not feel like the media is listening to them, the judges were impressed by this crowd-sourced project that runs counter to that notion."
TruckBeat built new ties to surrounding communities and produced multimedia stories that captured the reality of health disparities between rural and urban East Tennessee. The project's reporting explored what Charlene Hipsher from the Roane County District Attorney General's Office calls, "an epidemic to opiates that has affected just about every living room in this community." TruckBeat was led by former WUOT News Director Matt Shafer Powell and independent producer Jess Mador.
This first place award from the Online News Association places WUOT among an elite group of journalism organizations.