Top Menu Wins $10,000 Knight-Batten Award

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Web site, an innovative overlay of the city’s reported crimes with Google’s online mapping technology, today won the $10,000 Grand Prize in the Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism.

The site, created as a free public service by online journalist Adrian Holovaty with design input by Wilson Miner, was credited with “setting a new standard for interactive journalism.” allows users to search by the type of crime, the street and neighborhood, or the date and pinpoint the location on a satellite map. One can even track crimes that occur en route to work.

“It is one journalist’s ability to see all the pieces and put them together,” the Batten judges said, “but every city should provide this as a public service.”

Top honors also went to $2,000 First Place winner The View, Interactive Magazines Online (IMOL), a quarterly netcasting magazine crafted of hip new story forms produced by senior “solo-jos”—backpack journalists from England, the U.S. and South Africa—using video-centric Web tools to tell point-of-view stories.

Three more innovative efforts each received $1,000 Awards of Distinction for advancing creativity in digital storytelling and recalibrating the role that news organizations play in the community. The awards were presented at a morning symposium at the National Press Club. View the winners as well as other notable entries on J-Lab’s website.

Earning $1,000 Awards of Distinction are:

Also highlighting today’s symposium is a keynote dialogue on participatory news with Michael Kinsley, Editorial and Opinion Editor of the Los Angeles Times, and Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia, a collaboratively written online encyclopedia, and President and Chairman of the Wikimedia Foundation, which recently launched Wikinews, collaboratively written online news reports.

The 2005 Batten Award winners were selected from 65 entries, submitted by print, television, radio, and online news organizations as well as educational and non-profit institutions.

“We were impressed again this year with the range of talents and ideas presented,” said Bryan Monroe, chairman of the Batten Awards Advisory Board and Knight Ridder assistant vice president/news. “Prevailing themes were the increasing transparency, accessibility and democratization of news.”

The Batten Awards spotlight the creative use of new information ideas and technologies to involve citizens in public issues. They are administered by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism at the University of Maryland and are funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. They honor the late James K. Batten, former CEO of Knight Ridder and a pioneer in exploring ways journalism could better connect with audiences.

Also participating in this year’s judging in addition to Monroe were Mark Hinojosa, associate managing editor, electronic news, the Chicago Tribune; Lee Rainie, founding director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project; Andrew Nachison, co-director, The Media Center at the American Press Institute; Jody Brannon, executive producer—news,; Chris Harvey, director, Maryland Newsline; Margaret Engel, managing editor, The Newseum; and Jan Schaffer, executive director, J-Lab.

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