ONA Awards 2011: Hyperlocal media need not apply?

The Online News Association announced their 2011 winners this weekend, and while it’s an illustrious list, it’s also a very predicatble–and corporate–one. Why do I say that? No hyperlocal sites that don’t write in NYTimes style won anything-and only two hyperlocal sites won at all.

What’s wrong with this picture?

In a time when business models for  journalism as we’ve known it are
collapsing, ignoring hyperlocal and community media sites that don’t
aspire to be mini-New York Times (I prefer the old NY Newsday, myself),
is just plain short-sighted.

Yes, it’s true there’s great work represented in the award winners, but
these awards are starting to feel like a map that’s so incomplete
because several countries are missing.

ONA, wake up and grow up! Cut through your onerous bureaucracy and red
tape and add a category for community media and bring in journalists who
work for organizations with budgets of less than $1 MM to help judge–or
fact the face there’s a growing category of media you just don’t see.

I’m happy to help you make this happen–and I bet many of my fellow
local site operators, like the sites in the “Authentically Local”
network–would be happy to help as well. After all, many of us have been
ONA judges, committee members, chairs, etc–even if you don’t “see” what
we do now.

As media changes, ONA needs to evolve as well. If this is an
organization that only recognizes mainstream news, you’re missing out on
an emerging and vibrant category–and diminishing your own relevance in
the field.

Come on, ONA, you can do better. Unless you just don’t care.

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  1. Tracy @ WSB says:

    Two things:
    1. Looking at Saturday night’s awards list, it was telling to see that the “small sites” winner in one category was a NEW YORK CITY radio station (unless I was reading it wrong). Small?
    2. Given that those of us in the “hyperlocal” biz are among the small percentage of news sites that are EXCLUSIVELY online, you would think we would take precedence in something called an Online News Association!

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