Knight-Batten Awards for Journalism Innovation Announced

By: E&P Staff

The winners of the 2006 Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism were announced Tuesday by The Institute for Interactive Journalism at the University of Maryland (also known as J-Lab). The awards recognized winners for their use of technology to involve citizens in public issues.

This year’s seven honorees were: HealthNewsReview.org, Global Voices Online, Transparent Newsroom, IBISEYE.com, U.S. Congress Votes Database, Bakersfield Californian?s Social Media Platform, and TCDailyPlanet.com. The top winner will be announced on Sept. 18 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

HealthNewsReview.org was launched by a University of Minnesota professor whose goal was to help consumers find accurate health news. It serves as a database of articles collected by a team of 20 professional reviewers, with each article rated on a scale of one to five.

Global Voices Online is a project run by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. Through the aid of automated international feeds, the Web site produces news and conversation from over 160 countries through the monitoring of blogs, photo sites, podcasts, and other mediums. It is run by a team of 15 international and multilingual blogger-editors.

Transparent Newsroom is produced by The Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review, and is a daily Web cast of the newspaper?s editorial meetings. Its interactive style includes online chats between readers and the editorial staff, and blogs written by editors that explain the daily news. E&P wrote about the Spokesman-Review?s groundbreaking decision to broadcast its editorial meetings on June 14.

ISBISEYE.com was developed by the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune with the goal of minimizing hurricane and tropical storm damage upon the local communities. Using public records and a real-time weather alerts map, the Web site helps readers research which buildings are at risk in their community, and to report actual damages should they occur. Web site users can also access a database surveying the past 155 years of hurricane activity and the damage it wrought.

U.S. Congress Votes Database is a user-friendly Web site developed by washingtonpost.com. Readers are able to track and research every recorded vote enacted by the houses of Congress since January 1991, and then sort the data according to several indicators, including particular legislators, states, and/or political parties. The site also contains an interactive map that monitors Congressional races, as well as a separate link to campaign finance information.

Bakersfield Californian?s Social Media Platform was recently introduced in order to give the community a networking site similar to MySpace. The platform, called Bakomatic, allows users to create profiles and then submit stories, photographs, and events for publication. Its use not only encourages social networking, but also recognition of groups within the community.

TCDailyPlanet.com is a local news Web site for Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn. The Web site brings together the work of over 35 local and ethnic news organizations with the purpose of brining coverage to communities that do not receive enough news attention. The site aims to educate citizens so that they are better able to not only participate in, but also contribute to the news.

The Knight-Batten Awards were created to honor the late James K. Batten, who was a former CEO of Knight Ridder newspapers.

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