Activism thriving at Webby’s

Not only do the prestigious international Webby Awards have a category on activism but it is first on the list. It’s a reassuring sign that one of the core principles of the Internet – promoting free speech and citizen participation – has a strong heartbeat.

The winner of the 2004 Activism category is Tolerance.org, a website New Zealand audiences should find topical given its devotion to fighting hate and promoting tolerance. Included in the website is news, actions and ways of digging deeper. The design is fresh, the language snappy and the content current. I was almost going to sign the Declaration of Tolerance but noticed it was for making America (sic) a more tolerant country. Luckily there were 100 other tools for tolerance for me to look into.

The “people’s choice” award in the Activism category went to the Human Rights Campaign, the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy organisation in the United States. There is a strong action orientation and loads of backbround information. Again there is information topical in Aotearoa right now: facts and figures on civil unions.

Other categories worth checking out are:

  • Film – won by Fog of War, Errol Morris’ documentary on former Secretary Defence Robert McNamara.
  • News – inclusion of Aljazeera.Net provides a reassuring level of inclusiveness.
  • Politics – more about participation that parties.
  • Youth – the winner of this category is the politically focused Wiretap, an offshoot the reliable alternative news service AlterNet.

The website is instructive not only for links to good websites, but because the criteria reinforce good webdesign and active content management. As well as looking for material relevant to each category judges assessed content, structure and navigation, visual design, interactivity, functionality and overall experience. A full list of judging criteria is available online.

New Zealand does rate a mention, with the Pure NZ website being one of five nominees in the travel category.

Although the Award winners were announced in May, the Webby’s are worth a visit. You might even like to consider nominating your website for 2005. Entries close our spring.

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