Texas Tribune, ProPublica lead nonprofit ONA winners

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Public broadcasters and online news nonprofits were among honorees in the annual Online News Association awards, announced Saturday at the organization’s conference in Denver.

The Austin-based Texas Tribune was recognized in three categories. It won the award for general excellence in online journalism among small organizations, which included a $3,000 cash prize courtesy of the Gannett Foundation. The Tribune and the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal also shared the award for explanatory reporting among medium-sized organizations for “The Price of Admission,” a series about affirmative action at Texas universities. And the Tribune won for topical reporting among small outlets for “God & Governing: How Texas Legislators’ Religious Beliefs Guide Their Lawmaking.”

ProPublica shared an award in topical reporting among medium-sized outlets for “Reliving Agent Orange,” a collaboration with the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk. The nonprofit also received ONA’s Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award in its division for “The Color of Debt,” a study of the disproportionate prevalence of debt-collection suits in black neighborhoods. The report was co-published with American Public Media’s Marketplace.

Two nonprofits that focus on environmental reporting won awards among small organizations. Climate Central won in explanatory reporting for “Pulp Fiction,” an in-depth look at environmental fallout from Europe’s wood-burning power plants; and InsideClimate News was honored with an Al Neuharth Award for “Exxon: The Road Not Taken,” which looked back at a time when the oil corporation undertook a study of climate change.

A University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism in the small/medium category went to The Intercept for “The Drone Papers,” a report on secret documents detailing U.S. drone assassinations in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. And the Center for Public Integrity’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists shared a large-organization Neuharth Award with more than 100 media outlets for their coverage of the Panama Papers.

Among public broadcasters, Oregon Public Broadcasting won in the breaking news category among medium-sized outlets for “An Occupation in Eastern Oregon,” its coverage of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. And St. Louis Public Radio received the award for planned news/events among medium-sized organizations for “One Year in Ferguson.”

Read the full list of winners.