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ProPublica and Partners Nominated for Five ONA Awards

The Online News Association has named ProPublica a finalist for five Online Journalism Awards, which honors excellence in digital journalism around the world.

ProPublica is a finalist for general excellence in online journalism, medium newsroom. Since launching in 2008, ProPublica has been named a finalist for general excellence 11 times and won five times.

The Quiet Rooms,” a ProPublica Illinois and Chicago Tribune collaboration, is a finalist for two awards: the Knight Award for Public Service and the University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism. The series by ProPublica Illinois reporter Jodi S. Cohen, the Tribune’s Jennifer Smith Richards and ProPublica Illinois reporting fellow Lakeidra Chavis showed how Illinois schools frequently put children in stark “isolated timeout” spaces, or physically restrained them, for reasons that violated state law. The day after the first story was published, Illinois’ governor and state education officials committed to sweeping change, beginning with emergency restrictions. State officials banned locked seclusion immediately, put new restrictions on schools’ use of physical restraint and also announced plans to invest $7.5 million over the next three years to train Illinois educators on more positive ways to work with students.

Adrift” is a finalist for digital video storytelling. The animated short documentary by ProPublica’s Katie Campbell, Joseph Singer and Lucas Waldron, along with contributors Matt Huynh and MacGregor Campbell, tells the story of a midair crash that killed six Marines during a training mission over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan in 2018. Using a combination of on-camera interviews, 3D animation, 2D illustration and atmospheric footage, the team reconstructed the moments leading up to the crash, the crash itself and the botched search and rescue effort. The piece shows why this was more than just a terrible accident — the squadron had been warning superiors for months that their planes couldn’t fly, their training had suffered, their equipment was faulty and risks to American lives were high.

Lawless,” a collaboration with the Anchorage Daily News, a ProPublica Local Reporting Network partner, is a finalist for The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, medium newsroom. Led by Anchorage Daily News reporter Kyle Hopkins, the series uncovered a sexual assault crisis in rural Alaska and how it is compounded by a profound lack of public safety services. Following the series’ publication, U.S. Attorney General William Barr visited the state and declared the lack of law enforcement in rural Alaska to be a federal emergency. The declaration has led the Department of Justice to promise more than $52 million in federal funding for public safety in Alaska villages. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Anchorage also announced the hiring of additional rural prosecutors, and Gov. Mike Dunleavy said the state will hire 15 additional state troopers.

See a list of all this year’s finalists here.

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