The Trace won a “general excellence” award from the Online News Association at its annual conference in Austin, Texas, on September 15. We tied with a, a Cuba-based data journalism outlet, in the “micro newsroom” category, which debuted this year and honors newsrooms with 15 or fewer staffers.

The Online News Association is the world’s largest organization of digital journalists. Honored for general excellence this year in the ONA’s larger categories were the Washington Post, ProPublica, and the Marshall Project. 

“One winner delved deeply into the incredibly important topic of gun violence,” the judges said, “and stayed true to their mission of shedding light on gun statistics by using smart partnerships and data visualizations. They leveraged their limited resources well, creating impact and even making their data available to other journalists.”

In the year under consideration for this award, The Trace used its investigative chops to produce document- and data-driven deep dives into stolen guns and NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer. We published an audio report about the hurdles faced by gunshot survivors, highlighting The Trace’s use of digital storytelling techniques to cover deeply affected communities. An animated guide to bump stocks, produced in collaboration with The New Yorker days after the Las Vegas shooting, underscored the newsroom’s issue expertise at a time when public interest in gun violence was high. And we tested readers’ gun violence knowledge with a quiz, as part of our commitment to increase understanding of this issue among the public.

The other finalists in the micro newsroom category included PublicSource, a nonprofit reporting outfit in Pittsburgh, and The New Food Economy, a nonprofit that highlights underreported stories from the food industry.

The Online Journalism Award comes as The Trace continues to generate impact through watchdog reporting and investigations. Some recent highlights:

  • A federal judge in Virginia removed the star attorney representing the NRA in a case against its longtime insurance partner. The lawyer was kicked off the case for neglecting to mention a major ethics violation — which the judge only learned about when The Trace’s Alex Yablon reported it last month.
  • The city of Houston released a slew of policy recommendations to reduce gun violence. Included on the list: A requirement for gun owners to report their stolen firearms to law enforcement. The report cited The Trace’s Missing Pieces investigation, which examined how gun theft from legal owners is quietly fueling violent crime in America.
  • Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen penned a piece advocating for the mandatory use of ballistics technology by law enforcement in California. The op-ed was inspired by a Trace report about the underuse of NIBIN, an effective crime-fighting tool.

About the Trace

The Trace is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism organization, and the only media outlet dedicated to full-time and in-depth reporting on America’s gun violence crisis. Since our launch in June 2015, we have partnered with more than 60 national and local media organizations, including The New Yorker, BuzzFeed, USA Today, Politico Magazine, Huffington Post, WNYC, Tampa Bay Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Sun-Times, and Teen Vogue. Our stories increase the public’s knowledge and understanding of the issue and spur action by policymakers, researchers, and law enforcement.

The Trace is always eager to hear from journalists interested in partnering with our nonprofit newsroom. Got an idea for a project? Please drop a note to Senior Editor Akoto Ofori-Atta at [email protected].