American Journalism Online Awards

Celebrating the new ways journalists connect with the public

The AJO Awards recognize excellence in reporting, writing and news production across genres. As the media landscape evolves, we want to celebrate great journalism no matter what form it takes — whether a long-form narrative published on a website, a podcast, a newsletter, a Twitter thread, or a TikTok video.

Our goal is to shine light on journalists and publications that live outside the mainstream and don’t fit into the categories honored by many long-standing media awards.

View 2021 Winners

Cartoon: On Background. Mr. Peanut with a journalist saying: "I can tell you a secret about peanut allergies but keep my name out of the story. It could destroy my career" - signed Bob Eckstein

Credit: Bob Eckstein

Nomination Process

Reporters, producers, editors and the public are invited to nominate their favorite outlets and works of journalism published in 2020. You can nominate anyone — even a colleague or yourself. To nominate a work, click on the category below and complete the form. Be sure to include the name of the journalist or journalists who authored the work, the publication, a link and why you think the work or outlet deserves recognition. Nominations must be received by March 1, 2021.



Best News-Based Podcast

Nominations can be for either a single episode or multi-episode arc

Best Solo Newsletter

A news-based newsletter produced by a single reporter

Best Non-Profit News Organization

Nominees must have at least two employees involved in newsgathering and have been publishing for at least two years

Best Non-Traditional News Organization

This category honors newsgathering outside the confines of a multi-subject newspaper

Best News-Based Twitter Thread

Nominations must be for threads of at least three tweets on a single subject

Best TikTok Explainer

A video disseminated on TikTok with the purpose of explaining something in the news

Best Debunking of Fake News

A work on any medium whose express purpose is to fact-check a false statement or story

Best Data Visualization

Creative and clear use of design to illustrate data

Best Use of Public Records

Creativity in using publicly available records

Feature Most Likely to Inspire Future Journalists

Nominated work should show the power and reach of journalism


The Judges

Madeleine Baran

Madeleine Baran

Investigative reporter for APM Reports and the host and lead reporter of the podcast In the Dark. Baran is the recipient of awards including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award, the George Polk Award, and the George Foster Peabody Award.

Sopan Deb

Sopan Deb

A New York Times writer and author, Deb has been the recipient of an Edward R. Murrow Award and was named a “breakout media star” by Politico.

Adam Penenberg

Adam Penenberg

Journalism professor at NYU and founder and director of the American Journalism Online master’s program.

Wendi Thomas

Wendi Thomas

The founding editor and publisher of MLK 50: Justice Through Journalism, a distinguished fellow in ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network, and the winner of multiple awards including the Selden Ring Award for investigative reporting and the National Association of Black Journalists Best Practices Award.


American Journalism Online Program at NYU

Launched in 2019, the American Journalism Online program is a 30-credit journalism master’s program housed at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at NYU. Its mission is to train journalists who want to change the world for the better. With an intensive curriculum and award-winning faculty, including some of the top journalists working today, AJO offers small classes, intensive feedback, a mentor program, and hands-on publishing experience.

For more information contact Julia Dahl: