NEW YORK, Oct. 15, 2021 — THE CITY, an independent, digital news outlet dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that serves the people of New York, won the Knight Award for Public Service for MISSING THEM, a COVID-19 Memorial and Accountability Journalism Project and the Excellence in Newsletters award for a single newsletter for The Civic Newsroom newsletter from the Online News Association.
The nonprofit newsroom was also named a finalist for the Excellence in Newsletters as a portfolio for The Daily Scoop, The Rent Update, The Worker Update, and The Civic Newsroom.
MISSING THEM is a collaborative memorial and accountability journalism project between Columbia Journalism School and the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY that used crowdsourcing to gather stories about New Yorkers lost to COVID-19.
“This project really put a spotlight on the people of all the boroughs of New York and elevated stories we haven’t heard about over the last year,” the judges said in a statement.
So far, the living memorial has more than 2,300 publicly-identified deaths — all vetted with public records, searchable, filterable and grouped by occupation — and nearly 600 obituaries. Through tips collected from MISSING THEM, THE CITY published more than 20 local accountability stories with partners such as Type Investigations, NPR and Vox.
THE CITY also won for it The Civic Newsroom, which was launched to help New Yorkers navigate the crucial 2021 elections as voters geared up to elect a mayor to lead a city just starting to emerge from the pandemic.
The newsletter started by asking New Yorkers what they need and want to know. The Civic Newsroom newsletter also provided a breakdown of some of the most basic information for voters; for example: What does ranked choice voting mean? How do you request an absentee ballot? Who do you need to yell at to get things done?
“The structure and content of the newsletters made learning about the election accessible and almost fun, which isn’t something usually associated with local elections.” the judges said. “It’s a great example of the medium of newsletters to reach readers where they already are with information they may not even know they needed.”
To date, THE CITY has won more than 30 awards and recognitions, including honors from Editor & Publisher, New York Press Club, and the Silurians Press Club.
ABOUT THE CITY: THE CITY is an independent, nonprofit news outlet dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that serves the people of New York. Our reporters pound the pavement in all five boroughs, working with New Yorkers to tell their stories and make their lives better. We’re here to listen to New Yorkers, dig into their concerns and deliver stories that drive the public conversation and set the agenda on key issues. At a time when the media has been upended by technological, economic and political shifts, we want to reconnect people back to local news – and reconnect local news to getting action.
ABOUT Online News Association: The Online News Association is the world’s largest digital journalism association. Membership includes journalists, technologists, executives, students, educators and other digital media professionals. ONA’s mission is to inspire and support innovation and excellence in digital journalism.