The entry deadline for the Online News Association's second annual Online Journalism Awards is less than a month away. Last year, almost all of the finalists and winners came from big, well-funded sites, possibly because of the $100 ($80 for ONA members) entry fee. This year I am going to try to level the playing field a little, and I need your help.
I'm asking you and your fellow Slashdot readers, "What's the best online news story you've read lately?" because last year I stood up during the awards ceremony and said I felt the entry fee was way too high (the Pulitzer Prize entry fee is only $50), especially for volunteer and non-profit news sites, many of which do excellent journalism even though they don't have the resources of an MSNBC, ABC News or major newspaper chain behind them.
Since I believe in putting my money where my mouth is, I offered to pay the entry fee next year for five deserving stories published by sites that couldn't otherwise afford to enter. Now it's "next year," and I'm keeping my promise. I would like to make sure the entries I sponsor (the money is coming out of my own pocket) have at least a fighting chance of winning, which means they need to be among the very best published anywhere, not just the best ones I've run across myself. Many eyeballs can make a big difference here.
Please take a look at the contest rules before you start posting your favorites to make sure they qualify, and in which category they should be entered.
I'll select the five entries I sponsor based on your comments, and next week I'll update this post with the titles and URLs of the chosen ones.