Announcing the Winners of the First Annual American Journalism Online Awards


May 10, 2021




NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Center for Journalism is proud to announce the winners of the first annual American Journalism Online Awards. The AJO Awards honor excellence in reporting with an emphasis on recognizing new and innovative ways that journalists connect with their audiences, including categories for Best News-Based Twitter Thread, Best TikTok Explainer, Best Solo Newsletter, as well as other more mainstream categories. 

“With the AJO Awards we want to draw attention to some of the great work being done by journalists and publications that live outside the mainstream,” says AJO founder and director, Prof. Adam Penenberg.

These awards reflect the AJO program’s commitment to diverse voices and supporting the way journalists live and work now – often without the benefit of a staff position or job security. The awards were free to enter and we didn’t require a laborious nomination package. We are thrilled to be recognizing the work of nonprofit news organizations, freelancers, and those dedicated to lifting up the stories of marginalized and misunderstood communities.  

To read more about the winners go to:

In addition to our 10 main categories, we have two special honors:

The Eyewitness Award which this year goes to Darnella Frazier, the Michigan teen who filmed the death of George Floyd in May 2020

The Reporting on Race Award, which this year goes to Errin Haines, a founder of The 19th, for her work on the impact of COVID and the elections on the Black community, particularly Black women. 

The AJO Awards were judged by four prominent voices in media:

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

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.

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