2006 Media Blog Newspaper Site Awards

These are the first-ever Howard Owens Media Blog Awards.

Why should I give awards? Why not? Besides, I just wanted to highlight at the end of 2006 some of the best work of the newspaper industry online. If you don’t like my awards, give your own. If you do, let me know and I’ll link to your post. If enough bloggers give these awards, maybe we’ll arrive at some sort of consensus awards.

I’m making up my own categories and my own rules. I’m ignoring circulation categories and generally only naming one winner per category. Because of my conflict of interest, sites associated with my present employer as well as Bakersfield.com and VenturaCountyStar.com are not eligible.

The Awards:

Best Overall News SiteWashingtonPost.com. While the WaPo’s home page, like pretty much all newspaper.com sites, is over cluttered with links, the Post is doing a lot of t hings right online — lots of multimedia, blogs, chats, trackbacks, tagging and good story-level navigation, not to mention the generally high quality of the Post’s journalism. Close second is KnoxNews.com. I love KnoxNews video and the great site design, but the site still lacks the level of interactivity on WaPo.com.

Best Site DesignTCPalm.com. It’s pretty much impossible to find a newspaper site that doesn’t try to shove too much on its home page, so we’ll overlook that flaw on the TCPalm site and recognize it’s general excellence at providing a lot of information at the top of the page in a clean, well organized manner. The site is both attractive and functional. It’s easy to navigate and highlights news, what’s inside and the local communities well.

Best VideoIndyStar.com. The site uses the standard Gannett video player page, but more than any Gannett site I’ve seen yet, they do a lot of local video. They find a wide range of interesting topics to cover and keep personalities well in focus. I especially appreciate their emphasis on nightlife and sports.

Best Vlog or Web NewscastTimesCast from Roanoke.com. Roanoke serves up a nice recap of the news in a well-done, professional manner that makes no conscience attempt to be like a television broadcast. It’s fun and full of personality. Roanoke’s player is also well conceived, with the ability to share related links in a side pane.

Best BlogsChron.com. The Houston Chronicle offers up a full slate of staff-written blogs, and also invites outsiders into its blog realm. The quality of the blogs is mostly pretty good, and readers can leave comments.

Best User ParticipationSpotted. The web is a visual medium. Spotted makes it easy for users to share photos and view photos. It’s a natural fit with the visual nature of the web and the desire of content contributors to see themselves in the content. Spotted is an application of Morris Digital Works and runs on several sites, and in some cases under different brand names. (Disclosure: I do have a business relationship with Spotted/Morris.)

Best Entertainment SiteLawrence.com. Still king of the hill after all these years. The site Rob Curley started still can’t be beat for its local focus, edgy style and functional content.

Best Calendar SiteVita.MN. Rumor has it that much of the credit for Vita.MN goes to whiz-kid Matt Thompson (co-creator of Epic2014). This site, not even a month old, is smart and hip and filled with events. It’s also on its way to being a contender for best user-participation site and best entertainment site.

Best Classified SiteWashingtonPost.com/Jobs. This award can go to either a general classified site, or a traditional vertical. In this case, I’m selecting WaPo’s job site because not only is it functionally pure, it has a range of high quality content that make it exceptionally useful for job seekers and those seeking career advice. It shows what a newspaper vertical can be and should be.

Best Vertical SiteHartford Courant Pets. If newspapers are going to succeed at creating new revenue streams, they need to break away from traditional ways of viewing their customers and concentrate on people’s interest and advertiser needs. The pets category is a natural fit. Hartford has done a great job and leveraging existing advertising against great content and user participation.

Best ContestCourierPress.com with Karaoke Idol. What a great idea. Here’s a contest that plays off one of the hottest shows on television, people’s natural desire to show of their talent (or lack of it), user-generated content and bring forward the names and faces of people in the local community. Smash hit with a bullet.

Please argue in support your favorite newspaper.com sites and efforts in the comments.

UPDATE: Lucas Grindley doesn’t like TimesCast much.

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  • http://www.jacklail.com/blog jack lail

    KnoxNews “close second” to WaPo. I’ll take it. Now, where’s the awards … ah … “reception.”

    Seriously, it’s a great list, KnoxNews notwithstanding.

    I also like Savannah Now (and the Morris “Innosight” sites that I’ve seen are very interesting) and since I’m not affiliated with it in any way, Bakersfield.com, of course.

  • http://www.collegemediainnovation.org/blog/2006/12/02/user-generated-j-awards/ Innovation in College Media » Blog Archive » User-generated

    […] Following the trend of UGC (user-generated content), Howard Owens whips up his own set of newspaper web awards for 2006. Worth a look. Some of the winners are those you would expect. Others are sites you might learn a thing or two from. Why should I give awards? Why not? Besides, I just wanted to highlight at the end of 2006 some of the best work of the newspaper industry online. If you don’t like my awards, give your own. If you do, let me know and I’ll link to your post. If enough bloggers give these awards, maybe we’ll arrive at some sort of consensus awards. […]

  • http://www.howardowens.com/ Howard Owens

    Thanks, Jack. You’re doing great stuff in Knoxville.

  • http://timescast.roanoke.com Seth Gitner

    Many thanks Howard, from the whole roanoke.com TimesCast team.

    FYI The TimesCast hits the 1 year mark this week.

    So please “tune” in on Friday for our special TimesCast anniversary episode.

    Seth M. Gitner
    Multimedia Editor
    The Roanoke Times/roanoke.com

  • http://www.howardowens.com/2006/taking-a-disruptive-path-with-video/ howardowens.com: media blog » Blog Archive » Taking a disrup

    […] Lucas Grindley doesn’t like the Roanoke TimesCast very much. Regular readers know I do. Yesterday, I even gave it an award (which prompted Mr. Grindley’s response). […]

  • http://www.HamptonRoads.tv Chris Kouba

    Great list of innovative sites, Howard. If you get a chance, check out http://www.HamptonRoads.tv – we’re producing 2 or 3 local videos each weekday, both from a dedicated online team and the newspaper staff, and integrating them with our other local sites, PilotOnline.com and HamptonRoads.com. We’re celebrating our first anniversary this weekend with “reruns” of people’s favorite funny videos, and we’ll add a search next week to make it easier to sort the both the latest and the favorites.

  • http://www.huffyinthestreet.com Patrick Beeson

    I’m a Web developer for The Roanoke Times, and have been involved with the TimesCast since the beginning.

    Thanks for recognizing our efforts! (And make sure to watch me every Monday at 3:30 p.m.)

  • http://washingtonpost.com/jobs ken barbieri

    Hi Howard,

    Thanks for the recognition…much appreciated.

    Ken Barbieri
    Director, Jobs

  • http://www.courant.com/pets Polly Edwards

    Thanks very much for awarding our Pets page “Best Online Vertical.” We’ve recently upgraded the site, adding more content (with more to come). You can get to the new page via http://www.courant.com/pets. Thanks!

  • http://timescast.roanoke.com Seth Gitner

    Well we’ve done it! One year of the TimesCast — and we are posting tidbits about how the TimesCast came to be and where we are now with the daily video newscast — you can find this info. on our online newsroom blog called the 404.

    Check it out, we have heard lots of questions in the past year and AME Dwayne Yancey has explained it all.

    We will be posting numerous postings about it all on our blog throughout the day.

    Please post comments and questions on the 404 if you want to know more about what we are up to.


    Seth M. Gitner
    Multimedia Editor
    The Roanoke Times

  • http://www.howardowens.com/2006/house-ads-that-rock/ howardowens.com: media blog » Blog Archive » House ads that

    […] When I gave my 2006 new media awards, I excluded, for reasons of conflict of interest, Bakersfield.com.  If I were to add a category, however, and give an award for best house ads, Bakersfield.com would have to win.  The current campaign for the new recruitment vertical, “find a job that rocks” is great. Previously, they posted some very well done and entertaining video ads featuring members of the staff. Most house ads are pretty dreary — and probably shouldn’t be run at all — but what Bakersfield.com is running of late make them fairly worthwhile. Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  • http://www.bakersfield.com Mary Russo

    I appreciate the compliment for my house ads despite the conflicts of interest!

  • http://www.andydickinson.net/2007/01/03/the-roanoke-times-timescast-one/ Andy Dickinson.net » Blog Archive » The Roanoke Times Timesc

    […] Late to the game as usual, I’m just now getting time to have a good look at The Roanoke Times video cast : The Timescast. A number of people have already commented on this. Lucas Grindley admitted to possibly being the only person not like it in response to Howard Owens giving it an award. For me, the TimesCast is an elaborate teaser fest. It’s a lot of effort to repackage the day’s news with what should be witty repartee. Except, it’s rarely witty. So what’s left is a nice looking, and superficial, video project. […]

  • http://www.howardowens.com/2007/dickinson-weighs-in-on-timescast/ howardowens.com: media blog » Blog Archive » Dickinson weigh

    […] Andy Dickinson has caught up with an old post — were we debate Roanoke’s TimesCast.  Since the post is buried in the archives and readers might miss the pingback, I thought I’d do this post just to draw your attention to it.  Andy has some good things to day. Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  • http://seanblanda.com/blog/design/the-top-7-articles-you-need-to-read-before-you-redesign-your-news-site/ The best 7 articles you need to read before you redesign you

    […] Media Blog Newspaper Site Awards […]