Documented won an Online Journalism Award and LION Award in October for coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in New York City.
When the lockdown began in March, Documented’s team became a rapid response unit over night, providing vital updates on how immigrants could navigate the crisis. While most newsrooms provided coverage on how to get unemployment insurance and when to call the doctors, none were addressing the unique needs of undocumented immigrants in the city; who were barred from all federal relief packages.
Documented published numerous resources that were collected in our master resource guide. We hosted Facebook Live events with labor lawyers to tell people their rights. We got answers to people’s questions from housing and health experts. We distributed this information through text, illustrations and audio. The response was overwhelming as the need was substantial.
Documented also provided coverage of how the immigration system was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The chaos that ensued as the Justice Department insisted on keeping the immigration courts open in the epicenter of the global pandemic. The decision by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to arrest teenagers at shelters and transfer them to immigration detention centers where the virus was spreading rapidly.
The Online Journalism Awards, the only comprehensive set of journalism prizes honoring excellence in digital journalism around the world, are run by the Online News Association. Documented won the OJA Gather Award for Engaged Journalism and received $2,500 in prize money from a small newsroom. The other finalist was #CheckYourJudges by Injustice Watch, a judicial election guide to help people navigate judicial elections.
Documented was nominated for three awards at the Local Independent Online News Publishers Awards on Friday and was awarded Best Coronavirus Coverage by a solo newsroom.
The judges said our work was, “Very important coverage of an underserved community and innovative use of off-platform channels (WhatsApp, Facebook, Univision) to reach and engage with readers.”
California Health Report and The Charlotte Ledger were also finalsits in the category for their coronavirus coverage this year.
Documented was also a finalist in the Technology Innovation category for the use of WhatsApp and the Best Coverage for Underserved Communities for our overall coverage.