The Online News Association (ONA) implemented new effective outreach initiatives to boost the attendance of award recipients.
Hollie Schultz, director of awards and community resources for ONA, said the organization sold anywhere between 280 to 300 tickets for Saturday’s award ceremony. This count was taken before the organization announced that a “few” attendees tested positive for COVID-19.
At least 190 people were in attendance, according to a hand count of the room. Unlike last year’s conference, all but one of the award recipients were physically in attendance to receive their awards.
“Yes, we definitely wanted to have more representation of the finalists at the banquet this year,” Schultz said.
“This year we’ve sent all the finalists who are being announced in-person a couple of follow-up emails, encouraging them to attend. It’s crucial to recognize the exceptional journalism we’ve seen,” she added.
Schultz noted that this year’s approach also differed from previous years, and ONA unveiled a new award category for “Topical Reporting: Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Identity.”