The Online News Association has been the premiere provider of recognition for digital journalism since 2000. Its awards recognize excellence in digital journalism over a variety of platforms from breaking news to online commentary, which I assume means blogs.

As shown in the screenshot I captured above, I really enjoyed the "Painkiller Misuse Numbs NFL Pain," an Outside the Lines article by John Barr, which was a three-part series on the short and long-term effects of NFL players using pain killers. I found it sad, but not surprising that those who used painkillers (52 percent of the 644 players surveyed), 71 percent of them misused pain pills at some point.

Being from a small town, I decided to take a look at the category for smaller publication and found a great spread by, a Binghamton, N.Y. publication, which won an award for breaking news on a small site, with its coverage of "Massacre on Front Street." I didn't know much about the massacre and knew nothing about the Press & Sun Bulletin, but just looking at the spread the newspaper/online publication produced, it looked to be an extremely tragic day in Binghamton and one worth winning plenty of awards.

I remember where I was during the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings and the Associated Press' coverage forced me to reminisce about that fatal day. At the time, it was the deadliest shooting spree in U.S. history. The interactive map gave plenty of details and made me feel like I was in Blacksburg, Va., that day.

Finally, Sept. 11, 2001 will forever live in infamy in the U.S. Everybody who was alive and competent that day will remember where he or she was when they first heard the news of the terrorist attacks in New York and later in Washington, D.C. and rural Pennsylvania. As one would expect, many of the award winners and finalists in 2002 were dedicated to Sept. 11 coverage. I found the New York Times' coverage to be extremely compelling and thorough, as you would expect from the Times. It was certainly a powerful moment for me when I finished reading all of the coverage the writers, photographers, editors and everyone else involved produced that day.

Overall, I found the ONA to be a useful tool for gauging the impact of influential investigative journalism over the past 12 years. It provided links to enterprising pieces that will be forever remembered for a variety of reasons.

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    I am a senior journalism major and political science minor in the Diederich College of Communications at Marquette University in Milwaukee. I work as the sports editor for the Marquette Tribune and interned with the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa the past summer.


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