Images from the winning projects.

Finalists celebrated, winners honored

El Tímpano and an Anchorage Daily News/ProPublica collaboration take top honors in the 2021 Gather Award in Engaged Journalism

Let's Gather
Published in
2 min readOct 20, 2021

For the 3rd year running, the Agora Journalism Center is, once again, honored to sponsor this year’s OJA/Gather Award in Engaged Journalism. Winners of the 2021 Online Journalism Awards were announced last Friday at ONA Insights in Philadelphia. El Tímpano’s and Anchorage Daily News/ProPublica’s winning projects are perfect examples of how deepening the collaborative relationship between the newsroom and the public can meaningfully contribute to the information health of the communities they serve.

In the case of El Tímpano, which won in the micro/small newsrooms category, their Community-Powered Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic project not only supports their community’s information health but quite possibly THE health of community members. Their innovative approaches to local journalism and civic engagement with Oakland residents and community partners, which they have cultivated in the last three years, are models that other community-centered newsrooms can emulate.

In the Overall Excellence category, Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica won for their Unheard collaborative initiative. As with most successful community-centered projects, it started with listening. The team behind Unheard engaged with hundreds of survivors of sexual assault and child sex abuse. This led to their collaborating with 29 women and men to help amplify their stories to “inspire change and de-stigmatize being a survivor of sexual violence.”

Lightning Chats with the Finalists

Gather hosted two lightning chats earlier this month to hear from the journalists behind the projects. They offered invaluable insights and concrete lessons that you can use to begin your community-centered work:

Micro/Small Newsrooms Category

Learn about El Tímpano’s Community-Powered Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic and The Marshall Project’s Reaching and Engaging Incarcerated Audiences engagement projects.

Overall Excellence

Learn about The New York Times’s Poverty Reporting Beyond the Statistics, Arizona Daily Star, ProPublica’s State of Denial and Anchorage Daily News, ProPublica’s Unheard engagement projects.

The Gather Award in Engaged Journalism honors people, projects, and processes that center community information needs and voices in the production of journalistic work. Entries are required to include the stories published with or as a result of community engagement, as well as evidence of collaboration and interaction with the public. Two prizes are awarded and each winner will receive $2,500 in prize money. The award is made possible by the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication’s Agora Journalism Center.