Here are your winners

It took a couple of days, but the list of winners from this week’s New Statesman awards has finally emerged. As predicted, MySociety didn’t go home empty-handed, with recognition for their FOI site, What Do They Know? And it’s good to see Patient Opinion getting recognition in the Community Activism category – their approach to patient feedback, and how it can help improve NHS services, is not going unnoticed.

But it’s a shock to see the BBC taking home the Democracy In Action trophy for a campaign around Radio 4’s You and Yours, which (frankly) really isn’t that great, and doesn’t demonstrate any obvious connection with democracy. Quite simply, that award should have gone to Unlock Democracy for their magnificent Vote Match site, based round the London mayoral election. You was robbed, guys.

Next up in awards season are the UK Catalyst Awards, which have now posted their shortlist. There’s an immediately obvious resemblance in the lists of nominees, but a few you probably won’t have seen before, which are worth a look at least.

The best we can do?

Nominations have closed for this, the tenth year of the New Statesman new media awards. So the winners of the five trophies are (theoretically) listed somewhere on this page. You might find a few gems you didn’t previously know about, but overall, I instinctively find the list a bit depressing.

Most nominees have only received a single nomination, in many cases by themselves, judging by the frequent use of the words ‘I’ and ‘we’. Most are pretty straightforward uses of off-the-shelf technology, by ‘one man band’ operations. And from a technical and/or creative perspective, most frankly aren’t great.

Maybe there’s a lesson in that. It’s now trivially easy to set up a passable website. Quality still takes time and skill, but you can get to the start line in next to no time, and with minimal up-front investment. From there, it’s really a question of the passion and commitment of the site ‘owner’, and its readership / community.

But I dare say it’ll be the bigger fish who will win. Expect at least one for MySociety. And I’d like to see recognition for the London Mayor ‘votematch‘ site, one of the few sites recently to really make me think. (The result it gave still haunts me.)

New Statesman nominations now open

Nominations have opened for the 2008 New Statesman new media awards. Although they’ve been running for a decade now, I’m not sure they’re as prestigious as they might be, and Bill Thompson argues that it’s a shame they still exist… but I bet the winners, which last year included MySociety, David Cameron and MySociety, wouldn’t agree.

Five categories up for grabs this year: ‘Democracy in action’, ‘Inform and educate’, ‘Community activism’, ‘Campaign for change’ and ‘Innovation’. Nominations close on 1 June, giving a couple of obvious award candidates some time to prove themselves; the trophies get handed out in July.