Online News Association
USC Annenberg School for Communication


The best online journalism of 2003 was honored at the ONA conference Nov. 15, 2003. In most categories, there is one winner from among the independent Web sites and one from Web sites affiliated with offline news organizations.

See the complete details of the contest results, including the finalists in each category and the judges' comments about each winner (Microsoft Word Document).

Breaking News

Independent: for its coverage of the Columbia shuttle disaster Affiliated: The New York Times on the Web for coverage of the war in Iraq Special Recognition: and Belo Interactive for its coverage of the Columbia shuttle disaster

Enterprise Journalism

Independent: The Center for Public Integrity, Well Connected – its look into the cozy relationship between the FCC and the broadcast industry. Affiliated: for its coverage of the priest abuse scandal

Service Journalism

Independent: for Health in Hard Times, a special section devoted to dealing with the stress of life in a turbulent time. Affiliated: CBC News for its coverage of SARS

Feature Journalism

Independent: for Day of the Dead on the mysterious deaths of hundreds of women in a Texas border town.

Affiliated: Albany (N.Y.) for “Fourth World/Our World,” on the tiny African country of Malawi and its struggles with disease, poverty and crime.

Creative Use of the Medium

Independent: University of Alaska Fairbanks students, for “Alaska’s Heartland Reacts to the Patriot Act.”

Affiliated: The judges elected to name two winners in this category because there were so many strong entries, and because the two winners display very different creative approaches: Rochester (N.Y.) for A Day in the Life of Our Schools, a multimedia profile of 5 Rochester area schools, and for its audio memorial of the World Trade Center before and after Sept. 11, 2001.

Online Commentary

Scott McCartney for his “Middle Seat” column on air travel for The Wall Street Journal Online.

General Excellence in Online Journalism, for sites with 200,000 or fewer unique visitors

Independent:, a news and information site about New York City

Affiliated:, the Web site of Congressional Quarterly

General Excellence in Online Journalism for sites with more than 200,000 unique visitors per month

Independent: BeliefNet – A multi-faith e-community site covering religion and faith