REDMOND, Wash. — For the third straight year, and the fourth time in five years, MSNBC.com has been awarded the National Press Club Online Journalism Award for "Best Journalism Site." The award honors "the best journalstic use of online technology to contribute to public awareness of a significant problem" and MSNBC.com's Rising From Ruin: Two Towns Rebuild after Katrina (www.risingfromruin.msnbc.com), is the focus of the award. No other site has received the award four times since the first online award was given out in 1998.
"It is particularly gratifying to be recognized for our yearlong project chronicling the devastating aftermath of Katrina," said Jennifer Sizemore, managing editor of MSNBC.com. "Recently, some prominent journalists have been quoted accusing the Web of hastening the death of public service journalism. I think this project is proof that -- at least at MSNBC.com -- we take our public service responsibility very seriously. We remain committed to telling stories that haven't been told, in ways that no one else can tell them, and we're honored to receive this award for the fourth time."
Rising From Ruin, launched in fall 2005, tells the story of Katrina's aftermath through the towns of Bay St. Louis and Waveland - two small communities on the hard-hit Mississippi coast that have received little media attention - as they struggle with the difficult issues of rebuilding. Rotating teams of journalists share the stories not just of the recovery process, but also of the townspeople's and business owners' struggle to rebuild what they lost to the most destructive storm in U.S. history.
According to the National Press Club judging panel:
"MSNBC's excellent blend of outstanding journalism and comprehensive use of technology continues to lead this category. Their superior blend of text, graphics, interactivity, streaming audio and video in personally configurable formats, combined with solid journalism covering an important problem - the recovery after Hurricane Katrina - and the various perspectives of journalists, readers, and those who experienced (and continue to struggle through) the post-hurricane Katrina recovery, created the winning entry for Online Journalism's Best Site, 2005. From the impressive main page graphics with its uniquely intuitive navigation, to the depth of coverage from a variety of perspectives, this site is the best crafted presentation of all the candidates. The well-used comments section in the online diary and blogs demonstrate a good deal of reader interest and involvement. Overall, an excellent work from a powerful site that leverages web technology effectively to explore what is arguably the nation's biggest problem of 2005."