NJ Spotlight, a Statehouse News Startup, Wins Prestigious Online Journalism Award

Sep 30, 2011, 19:23 ET from NJ Spotlight

Judges: "The best example in the nation for independent statehouse reporting."

BOSTON, Sept. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NJ Spotlight, the online news service launched in 2010 to spotlight public policy issues in New Jersey, has won a 2011 General Excellence award from the Online News Association, the world's largest organization of digital journalists.

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Founded by veteran print reporters with the support of area foundations, NJ Spotlight (www.njspotlight.com) focuses on news and analysis of education, energy, environment, healthcare, and budget issues. Media partners include WNET TV and WNYC Radio in New York, WHYY/Newsworks in Philadelphia, and Philly.com.

NJ Spotlight won in the ONA's General Excellence category for "micro" sites, based on its audience. In presenting the award, the ONA described NJ Spotlight as "the best example in the nation for independent statehouse reporting. Small but mighty." The award comes with $3,000 in prize money, which NJ Spotlight is donating to the Dunstan McNichol Memorial Scholarship Fund, honoring a co-founder who died earlier this year.

ONA announced the awards on Sept. 24 at its annual conference in Boston.

Other winners included the BBC, Los Angeles Times, WNYC.org, Toronto Globe and Mail, Al Jazeera, Voice of San Diego, and the Asbury Park Press. The other finalists in NJ Spotlight's category were OnEarth.org, The Tiziano Project in Iraq, and Yale Environment 360.

ONA is a 1,600-member nonprofit that spans the entire digital spectrum -- reporters, editors, producers, designers, bloggers, technologists, photographers, academics, and students. Its awards program began in 2000 in partnership with the University of Miami's School of Communication.

About NJ Spotlight: NJ Spotlight launched in May, 2010, supported by grants from the Community Foundation of New Jersey, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the William Penn Foundation and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Its mission is to be a sustainable news and information service focused on critical policy issues in the state. In addition to its daily news coverage, NJ Spotlight hosts live and online events with key stakeholders on issues such as solar power, charter schools, and wind energy. Further information is available on its website at www.njspotlight.com.

John Mooney, founding editor

Kevin Harold, publisher

SOURCE NJ Spotlight