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SOURCE A FINALIST FOR INTERNET NEWS AWARD

Sept. 16, 2002 – St. Thomas Source is a finalist in the 2002 Online Journalism Awards, presented by the Online News Association and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
The finalists for the third annual Online Journalism Awards were announced Monday by the two organizations.
The competition, which honors excellence in Internet journalism, received 728 entries from 10 countries this year and was judged by a team of distinguished journalism leaders, according to a release from OJA.
In announcing the award finalists, Bruce Koon, president of ONA and executive news editor of Knight Ridder Digital, said, "We know the digital medium continues to grow as a news source for the public and therefore we anticipated many quality entries in this year's awards program. But the depth and diversity of the entries were even more outstanding than expected.
"That reflects an awful lot of hard work and commitment by online news teams and individuals, and accomplished in what are tough economic times. All journalists, regardless of where they ply their craft, should be proud of these efforts."
The Source is one of four finalists in the General Excellence category for independent Internet publications with under 200,000 unique visitors per month.
"This category honors a Web site with fewer than 200,000 unique visitors per month that successfully fulfills its editorial mission, effectively serves its audience, maximizes the unique abilities of the Web and represents the highest journalistic standards," according to the OJA release. The sites were judged on excellence of content, interactivity, multimedia, design, navigation and community tools.
"I am thrilled, naturally," Shaun A. Pennington, publisher of St. Thomas Source, said Monday night, "but I am not that surprised. We have an excellent product put together by a group of consummate professionals who have a complete commitment to this community and to ethical journalism. But I guess when you look at the list of finalists for these awards, it really is pretty awesome — wow!"
For the complete list of finalists, see the Online Journalism Awards Web site.
A two-step process was used to determine the finalists and the winners, which will be announced Oct. 18 in New York City.
First, a group of more than 100 international journalists, working remotely in teams of two, screened and narrowed the scores of entries in each category to a set of 5-10 nominees.
Then, these nominees were reviewed by the OJA final judges — 12 journalists with extensive experience in new and old mass media — who met at Columbia University last week to pick the finalists and the winners. The awards will be presented during the third national conference of the Online News Association, set for Oct. 18- 19 in New York.
Pennington said she plans to be there, "along with a few of the people who have been involved from the very beginning."
St. Thomas Source was launched on Jan. 15, 1999. This is the first time the newspaper has entered a journalism competition.
"We know we play a unique role in mass communication within the community we serve and that our readership has come to rely on us for unbiased, uncensored news coverage," Jean Etsinger, Source senior editor, said. "We thought it was time to see how we measured up in the journalism profession as a whole. Being named a finalist is very, very gratifying."
The final judges of this year's competition were:
– Bruce Koon, Knight Ridder Digital & ONA president
– Robert Anthony, freelance
– Dorian Benkoil, ABC News.com
– John Garcia, NBC
– Bernie Gwertzman, The New York Times
– Jamie Heller, The Wall Street Journal
– Scott Horner, Fort Lauderdale Sun_Sentinel
– Rich Jaroslovsky, Ziff Brothers Investments
– Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal
– Lisa Napoli, freelance
– Steve Outing, The Poynter Institute
– Joe Weiss, Durham Herald_Sun
The Online Journalism Awards are among several major journalism awards administered by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Others are the Pulitzer Prizes, the National Magazine Awards, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards for broadcast journalism, and the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes for inter-American understanding.

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