Friday, April 27, 2012

Are the Webbys Fair? Better yet, what are the Webbys?

I’ll admit it. I’m technologically challenged. And if you are like me, then you have no idea about the Webby Awards. In a recent Huffington Post article, David-Michael Davies, a member of the Webby board, fights back against a Wired Magazine article that calls the Webby Awards “a mishmash of corporate websites, usual suspects, and Flash ad campaigns. Pioneering, innovative sites show up once in a while, usually when sponsored by a large company.”

Davies states that the board of the Webby Award tried to find “the best of the web,” whether it is a creative blog or a professional website. He even understands how most individuals cannot fathom a small group of five members choosing the best of the Internet. Yet, he believes that through the years they have perfected the ways in which the Webbys choose their nominees and winners.

Overall, I think the problem with the Webbys, according to Wired, is the fact that there is an entry fee. While the fee is relatively inexpensive (costing only $295), Wired infers that the only websites that enter the Webby Awards are sites with campaign backers, stating “nominees are effectively paid advertisers.” Wired points to other Internet awards, such as the Crunchies Awards where popular vote is taken into account by a board to determine the winners. Wired hopes to push the Webby Awards into the modern age and recognize new, inventive work that doesn’t rely on money.

Even though I am technologically challenged, I acknowledge that the Internet is an important part of modern society, and sites should be recognized for their cultural contribution.  The concept of the Webbys is good in theory; but I understand why Wired scrutinizes the awards. Wired doesn’t believe that money should be a determining factor in choosing a winner, and I agree. A website should be nominated for a Webby based on its contribution to the Internet realm, and civilization in general. 

1 comment:

  1. It's great that you cite two important online news sources (Wired and the Huffington Post) as a way to situate the debate about the fairness of the Webbys in the context of digital journalism. But you could probably do more to directly relate it to our course materials. For example, what role should slick web design play in digital journalism? Or how much do similarly rigged online popularity contexts mirror the conditions of digital journalism.