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NYCity News Service “Missing” Project Earns National Online Journalism Award

  • By Newmark J-School Staff
Jere Hester accepts the ONA award.
Jere Hester accepts the ONA award.

The Missing,” a NYCity News Service project that tells the stories of missing New Yorkers, won an Online Journalism Award Saturday at the national Online News Association conference in Los Angeles.

The special report took top honors in the Student Projects/Large category, beating out finalists that included another NYCity News Service effort: “Counterfeit Ed,” which examines the controversial for-profit college industry.

CUNY J-School Director of News Products and Projects Jere Hester accepted the award, which was handed out in the packed ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Century Hotel. It marked the first OJA victory for the News Service, which had been a finalist three previous times since 2009.

“The Missing” was produced by J-School students Lisa Brown, Mack Burke, Aliza Chasan, Emrys Eller, Asia Ewart, Mia Garchitorena, Justin Joffe, Tionah Lee, Lena Masri, Danni Santana, Annamarya Scaccia, Levi Sharpe and Kanyakrit Vongkiatkajorn, under the direction of Profs. Tim Harper and Chris McKenna. Portions of the project were published by City Limits.

The OJA kudos came a week after the NYCity News Service won the Society of Professional Journalists’ first-ever MOEy award – a best-in-show honor – at the national Excellence in Journalism confab in Orlando. J-School news outlets won three other national SPJ awards, including Best Independent Online Student Publication honors for the News Service for the third time in five years.

The NYCity News Service feeds student stories on New York City neighborhoods and issues to news outlets of various types and sizes, and produces multimedia special reports, sometimes in collaboration with professional news organizations.

The Online Journalism Awards (OJAs), which launched in 2000, are billed as the only comprehensive set of journalism prizes honoring excellence in digital journalism around the world.