$10,000 Grand Prize
Personal Democracy Forum (New York, N.Y.)
From the judges: “The site not only reports on, but encourages, citizens to participate more directly in the political process. It’s an amazing source of information from a non-traditional news outlet.”
A data-rich group blog that is breaking investigative stories, collecting voter generated content, and charting the metrics of a net-centric presidential campaign—from tracking candidate video views on YouTube, the number of their “friends” on MySpace and Facebook, voter demands for appearances on Eventful, blog mentions on Technorati and voter-generated photos on Flickr.
$2,000 First Prize
CFR.org Crisis Guides
Council on Foreign Relations (New York, N.Y.)
From the judges: “This is an institution stepping up and honoring the best of journalism. It’s filling an absolutely articulated need.”
In-depth, interactive news and information guides to the world’s most pressing crisis zones that seek to operate according to the tenants of objective journalism within a think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations, and seek to help make sense of complex issues beyond U.S. borders.
$1,000 Wild Card
Second Life Virtual News Bureau
Reuters (New York, N.Y.)
From the judges: “It’s a place for the audience that newspapers don’t have to gather.”
Reuters’ virtual news bureau in the online 3D world known as Second Life is engaging more than 7 million users in financial news, participatory interviews with top newsmakers, and virtual news delivery devices all anchored within the professionalism of its real world practice of journalism.
$1,000 Citizen Media Award
Philbrick James Forum (Deerfield, N.H.)
From the judges: “It’s a testament to their vision and grit that their community now thanks them for reporting the news.”
An all-volunteer online newspaper for Deerfield, N.H., that in two years has become the major source of news for three rural communities. In a readership area of 7,000 homes, it has more than 200 bylined contributors and average 37 original articles per week, excluding obituaries, classifieds, letters to the editor and events listings.
$1,000 Special Distinction Award
MyTeam Varsity High School Sports Site
OrlandoSentinel.com (Orlando, Fla.)
From the judges: “It’s a model for others that shows the newspaper’s commitment to serving its community.”
The OrlandoSentinel.com’s highly participative high school sports zone shows the newspaper’s commitment to serving its community by offering every school a customized sports page and every parent a way to track an athlete. User-generated content supplies scores, schedules, announcements, photos and ways to compare high school statistics in Central Florida.
$1,000 Special Distinction Award
washingtonpost.com (Washington, D.C.)
From the judges:“It’s different. It makes you cry. It’s a model for the future of news.”
The washingtonpost.com’s engrossing video-portrait series, capturing the intimate, unexpected stories that citizen narrators share with an invisible journalist, who distills the epiphanies of commonalities among her diverse subjects. Each video can be viewed, downloaded, e-mailed, sent by cell phone or commented upon.
User-generated Content 2.0: Reader-driven investigative Journalism
The News-Press/news-press.com (Ft. Myers, Fla.)
From the judges: “This is a classic case that will go down in journalism history of how to bring investigative journalism to the public.”
Fort Myers News-Press offers its crowdsourcing citizen participation program, which has broken several stories, and its newer Team Watchdog program that brings together 20 readers with expertise in finance, accounting,, criminal justice and other subjects to help with both daily and blockbuster watchdog reporting. Its biggest crowdsourcing project on local utilities drew 6,577 user posts.
Great Lakes Wiki
Michigan State University (East Lansing, Mich.)
From the judges: “The result is one interconnected encyclopedia of public knowledge about the region.”
A project of Michigan State’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, Great Lakes Wiki is a site that enables citizens of the wide expanse of the Great Lakes region to share information and stories in a multimedia environment.
New Assignment.net/Assignment Zero
Wired News/New Assignment.net (San Francisco, Calf.)
From the judges: “It pushed outside the box in terms of service to the field.”
An intriguing open-source experiment by NewAssignment.net and Wired News to harness the collective wisdom and expertise of members of the public under the guidance of professional journalists in reporting and writing stories.
Lake Tahoe Explorations, Nevada Matters,
Reynolds School of Journalism, University of Nevada-Reno (Reno, Nev.)
From the judges: “This is a school that is preparing students for a future anchored in the belief that journalism and democracy are deeply related.”
Student-built sites providing multiple non-linear stories and games to explore the area and community of Tahoe. An effort to provide an opportunity for readers to establish a sense of place and community.
The Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis)
The Indianapolis Star created this online, real-time, interactive map showing the locations and reasons for emergency 911 calls in Marion County, Ind. Users can focus on specific neighborhoods with the map to see what emergency calls are placed near their home or office. All data is saved in an archive.
Interactive Storytelling Through Mapping
The Bakersfield Californian (Bakersfield, Calif.)
The paper’s interactive maps initiative includes staff produced maps as well as collaborative maps to which citizens can add data, photos or video, which are embedded in the maps. Among the offerings are maps of red light cameras, potholes and local graffiti, as well as local quirks, such as the oldest elevator in town.
In the Loop
Minnesota Public Radio (St. Paul, Minn.)
A monthly public affairs show that involves audiences in unusual, creative ways. Minnesota Public Radio invites any of its 500 collaborators to meet in monthly brainstorming sessions (10-20 show up) at local spots to discuss news topics to cover. Program is also taped live for audience feedback and broadcast and podcast for multiple playbacks. About 4,200 people download the weekly podcasts.
Watchdog page/Brevard Watchlist blog
Florida Today (Melbourne, Fla.)
A daily freedom of information blog providing readers with searchable databases of information from numerous governmental reports from crime to property taxes to restaurant inspections. A “blow the whistle” button gives readers the opportunity to be involved and focus attention on civic problems. This project has become model for other Gannett papers.
Asbury Park Press (Neptune, N.J.)
The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey created this online clearing house of government data. Users can search for home sales data, property ownership records, town-by-town crime statistics, government employee salaries, state prisoner records and more.
Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting (Washington, D.C.)
The center gives travel grants for international reporting projects to journalists who agree to blog from the field, publish in print and online outlets, write longer magazine stories and short documentaries for public television and do feature-length documentary production. The focus is topics that have been under-reported or inaccurately reported.
FRONTLINE/World (Berkeley, Calif.)
A regular series of online video reports from around the globe, providing an outlet for emerging documentary talent as well as established reporters.
NewsTrust (Mill Valley, Calif.)
A nonprofit social news network providing Web review tools that allow citizens to make informed decisions using a quality news filter and media literacy tools. Users rate news articles by filling out an online form that prompts them to answer questions about how interesting, trustworthy, fair, balanced, important and accurate the story is.
Annenberg Political FactCheck
Annenberg Public Policy Center (Washington, D.C.)
FactCheck.org provides a verification service to the public, truthsquading claims made as fact by political candidates. It has more than 3.6 million unique visitors per year. It is now turning its spotlight on judicial campaigns.
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs,
Princeton University (Princeton, N.J.)
An online outlet created at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson Center to distribute speeches, articles, lectures, panels and events from more than 40 universities, including Duke, Penn and Northwestern. Content is not usually available outside academe. It is streamed, downloadable to MP3 players, or available as transcripts. Web site registers more than 1 million hits a month and 2,000 to 8,000 daily downloads.
Herald-Tribune.com (Sarasota, Fla.)
The Herald-Tribune published a state database of teachers who have a record of abusing students. While fighting two years for the official records, reporters built their own database from 30,000 paper records. Resulting stories provided a view of a state system in disarray showing students at risk.
Kim Clark of U.S. News & World Report and Kiplinger Fellowship (Perryville, Md.)
A U.S News reporter developed this site as a Kiplinger fellow; it’s dedicated to helping students and parents decode and understand the jargon and consequences of applying for and receiving college financial aid. Using database analysis and user interaction, the site demonstrates the journalist’s best use of technology.
From Here to Excellence
The Chicago Tribune (Chicago)
An in-depth, multi-part series about how to revamp Illinois’ public education system that grew into a multimedia, participatory online presentation. With focus on specific targets, the series used extensive database research and interactive opportunities for the public to become involved in the debate.
The Deadly Gap
Newsday.com (Melville, N.Y.)
A detailed data investigation, produced on deadline in one day, of the of danger of the gaps between platform and cars of the Long Island Rail Road that have killed or seriously injured passengers. Data let users see safety records at each station, hear from victims, and watch video.
The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)
The Allentown Morning Call believes it is the first newspaper in the country to develop widgets that can be embedded in other Web sites to allow users to search the newspaper’s databases without first having to come to the paper’s Web site. Widgets allowed users to search databases of regional kennels and inspection reports, outdoor calendar activities and presidential poll results.
Being a Black Man
washingtonpost.com, Newsweek Interactive (Arlington, Va.)
Narrated slides shows, videos, Web chats, and other multimedia events complemented print articles on the lives and shared experiences of black men. The feature looked at multiple facets of being a black male, beyond the typical news headlines.
Downtown After Dark
St. Cloud Times (St. Cloud, Minn.)
Multimedia Web package highlighting the downtown St. Cloud, Minn., area bar scene and the effect it has on the community. Uses video, audio, photography, searchable database, Flash and forums. Story also in print.
Home Sweet Home 2037
Star Tribune Newspaper (Minneapolis)
Reporters worked closely with architects, research scientists, climate-change specialists, designers, futurists and engineers to create a house of the future that realistically projects the impact climate-change will have on our future. The Web use allows viewers to manipulate the house.
MSNBC Rich Media
MSNBC on the Internet (Redmond, Wash.)
Multiple packages with extensive use of interactive and visual online media, including contributions from users, including primer on Iraq conflict with Richard Engel; Memorial Day remembrances and photos of fallen soldiers in Iraq; rate the candidates; a Diamond’s Journey; and a chronicle of two towns hit by Katrina.
“The Last Word” Online Video Obits
The New York Times (New York)
Giving a multimedia spin to a traditionally text-only sextion, The New York Times conducted video interviews of prominent people for use as online obituaries. Multi-hour interviews are condensed to 30-minute or less online oral histories.
www.redbankgreen.com/ Redbankgreen.com (Red Bank, N.J.) A visually rich, smartly-written, hyperlocal site for the New Jersey coastal town of Red Bank. Run by a husband and wife team and a freelancer, the site gets 8,500 page views per week.
Current TV (San Francisco)
Hybrid Web-tv short form documentary work by citizen and professional journalists, targeting the 18-34 year old demographic, is posted on the Web site. Users rate the videos and their favorites are aired on Current TV’s satellite and cable stations in the U.S. and U.K.
Content aggregating system/Citizen publishing solution
The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati)
The Cincinnati Enquirer, Post and 27 weeklies created a site to aggregate their content and incorporate citizen photos, videos and stories. It now has 222 community sites and 2,000+ stories per week. The system was developed and deployed without additional staffing.
Voice of Vashon
Voice of Vashon (Vashon, Wash.)
An independent community media project offering Webcast radio, a public access TV station and an EBS radio signal. Volunteers from the community create much of the content on air and built a studio to keep the project up and running.
Bluffton Today (Bluffton, S.C.)
One of the first citizen-generated news projects, this site gives each registered user a free blog and photo album and ability to participate in share community calendar. The goal is “a community in conversation with itself.” The Web site provides user-generated content for a print newspaper and has more than 8,500 registered users in a community of about 17,000. The site averages 10 new signups per day and 95% of the market reads it.
Melrose Mirror On-Line
SilverStringers (Melrose, Mass.)
The SilverStringers, a senior citizens group, write, edit and publish the Melrose Mirror to provide community news in an online format. Supported by MIT, the reporting teams cover range of news not covered by other local newspapers.
Paulding.com (Paulding County, Ga.)
Paulding.com is a 3-year-old citizen news site covering Paulding County, Ga., that now has over 108,000 topics and 1.3 million posts. The site uses online forums for user-submitted news and discussion rather than the blog-style system that many other citizen media sites use.
Valhalla Community Voices
ValhallaCommunityVoices.com (White Plains, N.Y.)
ValhallaCommunityVoices.com was created as an online monthly newspaper for residents of Westchester County, N.Y., using a blog format. The site touts itself as providing the residents of the Valhalla School District “a venue to learn about issues, events and achievements.”
Rye Reflections (Rye, N.H.)
This group of mostly seniors publishing the citmeida site RyeReflections.org showcase how they have advanced their storytelling and photo skills in covering major storms hitting the N.H. seacoast. Citizen stories, images contributed to packages produced by staff under extraordinary circumstances.
The Associated Press and NowPublic.com
The Associated Press (New York)
A partnership with The Associated Press and start-up NowPublic.com is starting to provide credible citizen journalism to AP for global distribution. AP asserts it’s a radically different way for the organization to create a global network of citizen journalists and connect them to mainstream media.
Charleston Voters’ Guide 2007
Charleston Gazette (Charleston, W.V.)
The Charleston Gazette in West Virginia created a Google Map mash-up that allows users to localize the ward level candidate and election information for the 2007 city council election. The Gazette created this feature in preparation for larger use of the system for the upcoming 2008 elections.
Election Coverage 2006-2007
www2.ljworld.com/elections/2007/apr/03/races/lawrence_city_commission/ Mediaphormedia (Lawrence, Kan.)
Online coverage 2006 and 2007 local and state elections using the best benefits of news on the Web. Each candidate had a page, with multiple forms of media covering all aspects of the campaign and election-night happenings.
2008 Campaign Tracker
washingtonpost.com (Washington, D.C.)
Washingtonpost.com created this database driven tracker and Google Map mash-up to provide users up to date information about each of the presidential candidates’ travels, fundraising, comparisons with other candidates and other campaign-related information. Intended for use not just by readers, but also by other journalists and organizations.
The Next Mayor
WHYY and the Philadelphia Daily News (Philadelphia)
A classic civic journalism initiative by WHYY public television, the Philadelphia Daily News and the Committee of 70 to focus on voter issues in electing the city’s next mayor. Included were blogs, videos submitted by organizers of more than 100 candidate forums, 1,260 videos submitted on a YouTube site, neighborhood reporting of citizen issues, and a news archive of all candidate coverage.