Published 2014-09-30

VG wins online ‘Oscar’ for chess coverage

VG has won the category Planned News/Events for its coverage of last year’s World Chess Championship at the Online News Association Awards.

On Saturday 27 September VG carried off one of the most prestigious awards at the Online News Association (ONA) Awards in Chicago, USA.

See the complete list of ONA finalists

The ONA awards are regarded as online journalism’s equivalent of the Oscars, and this year’s nominees included media giants such as the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. The latter of these was nominated for two projects in the category won by VG, one of them for its coverage of the Olympics in Sochi.

Dan Kåre Engebretsen, Tom Byermoen and Sondre Nilsen from VG’s design unit attended the awards ceremony and received the award on behalf of VG. Engebretsen says that colleagues from The New York Times were impressed by what VG has accomplished.

“They think it’s really cool, and say they want to come to Norway and learn from us,” says Engebretsen.

Went all-in

VG’s Digital Editor Ola Stenberg says he is proud of the award and believes it is an acknowledgement that will be noticed both at home and abroad.

“It’s confirmation that we’re doing a lot of things right in VG, but then it was a clearly defined goal for the chess coverage that we should create something that really stood out from the rest.”

“Winning this award in Chicago is proof that we’ve created something that lives up to international standards, because here we were up against the international heavyweights,” he says.

The jury’s citation refers to our coverage as ‘a project that could have gone very wrong but which nonetheless succeeded in every way.’

“When we decided to go all-in for the World Chess Championship, our gut feeling was that it could be really big, but we had no idea that it would turn out as big as it did,” says Stenberg.

VG has won other awards for its coverage of the Chess World Championship, including BestReader Engagement at the European Digital Media Awards and Best Innovation at the Schibsted Journalism Awards.

Reader engagement

Hundreds of thousands of Norwegians followed VG’s coverage of Magnus Carlsen’s journey to the world championship title.

VG’s chess coverage attracted an average of 330,000 viewers every day and 660,000 at the most.

Overall, VGTV had 7.4 million viewings during the world championship, and more than 500,000 unique users visited VG Direkte.

Apart from the front page of, VG’s live studio was VG’s most-visited site for nine of the 10 days of the championship.

Follow the Chess World Championship on VGTV

On 7 November Magnus Carlsen meets former world champion Viswanathan Anand for a new duel in Sochi, Russia.

Earlier this week the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation and VG announced an agreement to cooperate on TV transmissions from the World Championship. This means that VG’s readers will again receive live images from the chess duel.

Mads A. Andersen will host the broadcasts along with chess expert Hans Olav Lahlum.

“This will be our biggest project this year, with engaging and entertaining content – for both those who know a lot and those who know little about chess,” said VGTV’s Joakim Skogvold earlier this week.