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September 27, 2014 at 11:45 PM

Seattle Times wins two 2014 Online Journalism Awards

Seattle Times journalists were honored Saturday with two major awards from the Online News Association for their coverage of the Oso landslide and for “Sea Change,” an in-depth series on ocean acidification.

The landslide coverage won in the breaking news category and Sea Change won in the explanatory reporting category.

The Online Journalism Awards recognize innovation in digital and multimedia storytelling. Entries are judged on how well they “demonstrate of the special characteristics and emerging technology of digital journalism,” according to the Online News Association’s website.

Seattle Times Editor Kathy Best had this to say about the wins:

The Seattle Times is thrilled by the recognition from ONA for its breaking news and explanatory coverage.

The Oso mudslide was tragic, but the Times newsroom was able to overlay interactive graphics, photos and data onto terrific on-the-ground and investigative reporting to help our readers understand not only what happened, but how it could have been prevented. We married our watchdog reporting with profiles that illustrated the human toll, putting names and faces on the numbers of the dead.

The Sea Change project broke new ground by explaining the potential impacts of ocean acidification around the Pacific — from food supplies to species survival — and warning that changes were happening sooner than predicted.

The digital presentations of both stories engaged readers in new — and unprecedented — ways and helped further the transformation of The Seattle Times into a newsroom that tells compelling  stories on all platforms.

The Times competed against other large news organizations, defined as those with more than 250 employees.

Other finalists for explanatory reporting in the large bracket included NPR, the Detroit Free Press and Al Jazeera America. The only other finalist for breaking news in the large bracket was a collaboration of the Arizona Republic, 12 News and azcentral.com.

“In case there was any doubt, this year’s finalists demonstrate that digital journalism isn’t just bells and whistles, which some think of when they think ‘digital,’” Joshua Hatch, ONA Board member and Online Journalism Awards Committee Chair, said in a press release announcing the finalists. “Judges saw works of original and innovative journalism that truly had no broadcast or print analogue. It’s clear that when journalists go all in on digital, they create completely new and engaging ways to tell stories and inform readers.”

Winners were announced at the Online Journalism Awards Banquet on Saturday evening in Chicago, on the final night of the Online News Association annual conference.

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