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Sunday, 4 October 2009

The New York Times would probably not be the first newspaper a normal person would associate with excellence in online journalism. Nevertheless, the paper today took out two awards in the annual Online News Association (ONA) awards ceremony, held as part of the association's annual conference, in San Francisco.

The paper won the category General Excellence in Online Journalism (Large). This category is for a site with over four million monthly unique visitors. The NYT also captured the award for Outstanding Use of Digital Technologies (Large). This category is for a site with over one million monthly unique visitors.

The New York Times, represented by its website nytimes.com, was also a bronze sponsor of ONA09.

The ONA, which staged its first conference in 2004, awarded 30 prizes this year, each of which has a cash component. The biggest reward for a prize-winner, however, must be computed in terms of the raw kudos associated with winning in this very crowded field. The ONA has been in existence for 10 years.

You can read a full list of awards with commentary here.

The award ceremony capped off the three-day event held at the Hilton San Francisco. The hashtag on Twitter for the event was #ONA09. Twenty per cent of ONA's members represent international news organisations, or are not US residents. This year, the visitor who had to travel the furthest spent 25 hours to get from Rio de Janeiro by plane, stopping in Mexico City and Miami.

Apart from the award ceremony and possibly a few others, no sessions were streamed live on the website.

The conference had numerous sponsors including Yahoo!, Bloomberg, the Associated Press and Marketwire.

A representative sample of NYT interactive, graphics-based multimedia offerings is featured on the website www.10000words.net. Some of them are stunning. The website is the brinchild of Mark S. Luckie, a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

There's a fair amount of interesting stuff to do with ONA09 on the blog of Alfred Hermida, reportr.net. Alfred is professor of integrated journalism at the University of British Columbia.

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