New Media Awards 2007 Winners
Create-a-scape by Futurelab
The Create-A-Scape website is provided by futurelab, with the support of the DfES and HP Labs, to enable teachers and students to create mediascapes (location-based media) as easily as possible and to find all the resources they need for their creation in one place – software, step-by-step guides and the inspiration to get started. Create-A-Scape was inspired by prototype research projects, which demonstrated the enormous potential of mobile technology for learning.
To create a mediascape, students start with a PDA handheld computer (with or without a GPS unit), headphones and digital map of their local area. Then, using free software, they can begin their explorations, attaching digital sounds, pictures and video to places that they choose on the map.
The judges were impressed and excited by this innovative and considered approach and wished they were a few years younger so that they could have a go.
Stop the Traffik
STOP THE TRAFFIK, is a global coalition of over 800 organisations, working together to fight against people trafficking; by raising awareness on a subject that is little known or understood. It aims to expose people trafficking, lead governments to action and unlock freedom.
The coalition’s determination to succeed is clearly visible online, where pages of its website have been translated into 20 languages, from widely spoken languages like Chinese and Russian to the less widely spoken languages of Khmer, Igbo and Lithuanian. The clear design and excellent information architecture of the site enable visitors to quickly get to grips with the subject matter and how it is affecting people across the globe, as well as discover how they can make a difference.
In addition to a traditional web presence STOP THE TRAFFIK has set up a mySpace area, created viral videos, put together downloadable PowerPoint presentations for businesses and made available to download many other campaign resources.
The judges thought the site was very well thought out and an excellent example of how to use digital media as a tool for advocacy, campaigning and education.
No. 10 Downing Street Petitions
There has been a long-established tradition of members of the public presenting petitions at the door of No 10 Downing Street. The No 10 ePetitions service has been designed to offer a modern parallel to this tradition and also provide an opportunity for No 10 to respond to petitioners via email. The service allows anyone who is a UK citizen to create a petition and to collect signatures via the website.
Since the site launched in November 2006 it has been scarcely out of the headlines, capturing the attention and imagination of citizens and ministers alike. The service has so far processed 4,431,417 signatures, orginating from 3,214,070 different email addresses, across 22,336 petitions.
Most encouragingly for a government website, it was built by mySociety on an open-source platform, so other governments or organisations wishing to build a similar service are welcome to copy the source code – providing they, likewise, make their code available to any such projects.
David Cameron’s main website uses the standard Conservative party website template. It is functional but not something that would generally win an award, unlike David’s other site, WebCameron, which, in the past year has set new standards for how elected representatives and UK political parties use digital media.
WebCameron is where the leader of the opposition posts written and video content on his activities and gives voters a behind-the-scenes look at what he’s been up to. Once registered, readers can post comments, contribute to the forum, add new topics for discussion and pose questions to the Tory leader – many of which Cameron responds to.
What impressed the judges was Cameron’s continued engagement with the project, the genuine use of it by the public and how the site had encouraged others in politics into using similar online communication and engagement methods.
At 21, James Wheare is the first winner of this new award and wins for his work in creating and developing livebus.org .
LiveBus is an online service that gives users real-time bus information, currently across three counties in the UK – Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex. It works by combining locality data from National Public Transport Gazetteer and bus stop data from the National Public Transport Access Nodes, with real-time bus updates from local authorities. Travellers can search for a bus stop by name, locate it on a Google map, and browse by bus route or locality to find the stop they require, to discover when buses are due.
Wheare built the service independently of the Department of Transport, local authorities, bus companies or online travel information supplier, using a custom web application, built with Python and Django framework. The application then talks to a PostgreSQL database over psycopg and is served by FastCGI over Apache running on a FreeBSD server at Csoft.net – complex stuff.
The capacity to solve this complicated public transport information problem, his ambitions to expand it to the whole of the UK and the civic spirit to even begin such a project makes James Wheare a very worthy winner.
Contribution to Civic Society
MySociety - Neighbourhood Fix It
Like many previous mySociety projects, Neighbourhood Fix It does what it says on the tin. Launched in February 2007, residents across the UK can use the site to report, view or discuss local problems, such as graffiti, unlit lampposts, abandoned beds and broken glass on a cycle path, by simply locating them on a map.
Problems are reported to the relevant council by email. The council can then resolve the problem in the normal manner. Alternatively, users can discuss the problem on the website with others and, together, lobby the council to make changes or even fix the problem directly themselves.
This site was built by mySociety, in conjunction with the Young Foundation and paid for via the Department for Constitutional Affairs Innovations Fund.
The judges were impressed by the deceptive simplicity of the website and how it served residents and councils alike.
Information & Openness
Intelligent Giving describes its mission as: “To help you give happily and with confidence.” To do this, it annually profiles over 1,500 registered charities in England and Wales, based on the annual report sent to the Charity Commission, and places its findings online for anyone to view for free.
Profile details include the charity’s size, ethical-investment policy, how long their reserves would last and the salary range of the highest paid employees. Readers are also able to add their own comments to the profile, adding to the information provided. The site’s website wizard helps you to find your ideal charity.
Intelligent Giving is an independently financed not-for-profit company based in London and is not linked to any charity or government body.
The judges thought the information provided offered an alternative, informative voice and that it enhanced people’s potential trust in the charity and not-for-profit sector.
Listen to the podcast of the NMA 2007 awards ceremony.
More from New Statesman
- Online writers:
- Steven Baxter
- Rowenna Davis
- David Allen Green
- Mehdi Hasan
- Nelson Jones
- Gavin Kelly
- Helen Lewis
- Laurie Penny
- The V Spot
- Alex Hern
- Martha Gill
- Alan White
- Samira Shackle
- Alex Andreou
- Nicky Woolf in America
- Bim Adewunmi
- Kate Mossman on pop
- Ryan Gilbey on Film
- Martin Robbins
- Rafael Behr
- Eleanor Margolis