An Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News initiative in investigative reporting has won a major journalism award from the nation’s leading online news organization.
The Online News Association (ONA) awarded its Challenge Fund Grand Prize to the Georgia News Lab, an investigative reporting collaboration among AJC/Channel 2 and Georgia’s leading universities.
The News Lab edged out 23 other finalists for the award, and was one of the nearly 200 programs that had applied to ONA two years ago for challenge grant funding.
The grand prize, announced in Los Angeles today, comes with a $65,000 award and is given to the project most “likely to change either local newsgathering, journalism education or both,” according to ONA.
In its first year, students at the News Lab reported, wrote and produced several major stories for the AJC and WSB. In March, the AJC published a News Lab story about $80,000 that disappeared from the campaign reports of former Fulton County commissioner Bill Edwards. The state ethics commission is now investigating that discrepancy.
The partners in the project are the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV.
“The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is proud to support the Georgia News Lab,” said AJC Editor Kevin Riley. “We believe investigative journalism, and the people who dedicate themselves to it, represent all that is important about American democracy. Welcoming students into this work guarantees that this important work will continue.”