Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009 | 4:30 p.m.
Two of the online news industry's largest international organizations have come to the same conclusion: the Web site of the Las Vegas Sun is the best in its class.
The Online News Association honored LasVegasSun.com with its General Excellence in Online Journalism award Saturday night during its annual convention in San Francisco. The organization said the award honors digital journalism that maximizes the use of the Web's characteristics and represents the highest journalistic standards.
Earlier this year LasVegasSun.com was named the best overall newspaper-affiliated Web site in its class nationally for the second consecutive year by Editor & Publisher and Mediaweek magazines.
"One word kept springing to mind and that was meticulous. You click into the site and you see many things worthy of wonder," the ONA judges wrote. "The home page changes all the time. They can do fairly sophisticated things with these stories. ... They've done some amazing projects."
The site competes in the medium category, which includes Web sites that have between 500,000 and 4 million monthly unique visitors. The Web site for the New York Times won the ONA's General Excellence award in the large category.
The Sun also won the Multimedia Feature Presentation award in the medium category for its multimedia coverage of the Las Vegas Valley's water shortage. The category "honors excellence in telling a story to an online audience using multimedia techniques," the ONA said.
The judges specifically pointed out a feature on the "Quenching Las Vegas' Thirst" Web site that allows residents of the valley to determine their household's water consumption. The data were gathered through public records and cover about 450,000 parcels in the valley.
"There's an awesome coordination between map points, graphics and video," the judges wrote about the site. "That's innovation."
The Washington Post's Web site won the award in the large category for its coverage of the Sept. 11 memorial at the Pentagon.
Sun editor Brian Greenspun said the recognition was an honor.
"Winning these awards is a bit like the Oscars," he said. "It feels good to be recognized by our peers for excellent work -- especially when we are compared favorably to the New York Times -- but it is even more rewarding to know that we are doing the best we can to fulfill our responsibility to our community. It isn't easy to do that these days, so this kind of recognition keeps us going."
LasVegasSun.com was a finalist in the Breaking News category for its coverage of a rare snowstorm that blanketed Las Vegas in December 2008. The Web site for the Knoxville News Sentinel won that category for its coverage of a fatal church shooting.
A team of 12 journalists met this past summer in the Miami area to select the finalists. The three General Excellence Award winners -- the Web sites for ProPublica, the Las Vegas Sun and the New York Times -- each will receive a $3,000 cash prize from the Gannett Foundation.
The ONA awards were started in 2000. According to the organization, the awards "have recognized major media, international and independent sites and individuals producing innovative work in multimedia storytelling."
The Sun’s Web site picked up the General Excellence Award from the Online News Association last year and was a finalist in the breaking news category for its coverage of the Monte Carlo fire.