The Seattle Times received high honors from the Online News Association for its 2016 project “Under Our Skin.”
“Under Our Skin,” which used a multimedia approach to examine the topic of race, won an Online Journalism Award for Explanatory Reporting at a medium-sized newsroom.
The project featured videos of people from the Seattle area talking about the language we use when discussing race and identity.
The winners were announced Saturday at the 2017 ONA Conference in Washington, D.C. More than 100 journalists and new-media professionals screened 1,166 entries to select semifinalists, according to an announcement on the ONA website. The finalists and winners were determined by a panel of 30 judges from across the media industry.
“We’re honored for this recognition of our work,” Michele Matassa Flores, managing editor of The Seattle Times, said in an email. ‘The goal of “Under Our Skin” was to foster a conversation around race and the varied perspectives Americans have. We hope it has helped people bridge their differences, open their minds and question their own attitudes.”
According to Times staffers who collaborated on the project, “Under Our Skin” grew out of conversations about how journalists cover race at a time when national and local events — the furor over police shootings, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, protests on college campuses and charged campaign rhetoric — dominate headlines.
Reporter Tyrone Beason, who joined The Seattle Times in 1995, worked on the project.
“We went from having conversations to thinking of ways to explore the issue in the newspaper,” Beason said. “We decided the best way to do that was to have real people talk about what these terms mean to them.”
The project’s team invited 18 people to sit for on-camera interviews discussing terms such as racism, white privilege, diversity and microaggressions.
Although each person was interviewed separately, Beason said the intent was to create the feel of a conversation among strangers.
“The remarks show how difficult it is to approach the issue of race and confront the way certain words impact you,” he said, adding that the project is intended to be the start of a conversation, not the final word.
Since its publication, “Under Our Skin” has earned 10 awards from various local and national organizations. The National Association of Black Journalists named it best “Online Project – Digital Media” in August. Other accolades include a 2017 RTDNA Kaleidoscope award, a silver award from the Society for News Design and an Asian American Journalists Association Leadership in Diversity Award.
While pleased with the attention “Under Our Skin” has received, Beason hopes the project will continue to have an impact.
“The project is no less relevant today than when it was introduced over a year ago,” he said.