New Media Awards 2006 Winners

Accessibility

This award goes to the individual or organisation that has maximised access to information or services through its use of new media technology.

Winner

Commission for Social Care Inspection
www.csci.org.uk

The Commission for Social Care Inspection inspects and reports on care services and councils to improve social care and cut out bad practice. CSCI provides information for those who need care, such as the disabled and elderly, and for carers themselves. The web site answers questions about finding a social care provider; provides examples of good and bad care; acts as an outlet for complaint against poor-quality social care providers; provides free access to inspection reports and makes available an extensive database of carers. CSCI designed the site effectively, addressing the special needs and vulnerable position of its audience. The site also offers great usability through its use of audio, easy-to-read pages, illustrations and clear instructions for use in six different languages.

Advocacy

This award goes to the individual or organisation that has most effectively influenced opinion and behaviour through its use of new media technology. Pressure groups, lobbying firms, charities, corporate public affairs departments and campaigning organisations are all eligible.

Winner

Pledgebank
www.pledgebank.com

Whether it is pledging to form a human chain around the Westminster no-protest zone, donating money to charities, or running through the fountains at Piccadilly Gardens, MySociety's Pledgebank encourages people to come together to improve their communities, inspire others or just have fun. This site harnesses collective action and raises awareness of important issues by allowing users to publicise personal pledges and it advertises for others to join. It is a free, simple service . This charitable organisation connects people who want to make a difference. By acting as a catalyst for social good, Pledgebank exemplifies the positive force of the internet. It encourages people to pledge, because of its approach, which is to say, "If you do something good for the world, I will, too."

Contribution to civic society

This award goes to the project that makes best use of new media technology to contribute to civic society.

Winner

Write to Them
www.writetothem.com

MySociety: Write to Them is a wonderful example of a service which the government could provide. The site helps UK citizens locate and contact their councillors, MP, MEP, MSP and Welsh or London Assembly Member for free. More than 40,000 Write-to-Them messages reached politicians last year. In addition, users can join e-mail groups which enable them to develop more personal interaction with their local politicians. Write to Them is a superb conduit for democracy and the exchange of ideas via the 21st century's technological world. It is a simple, efficient and effective way to have local concerns heard by the politicians in power.

Highly Commended

Patient Opinion
www.patientopinion.org.uk

Education

This award goes to the body or project that has made the most significant contribution to education through the use of new media technology.

Winner

Sonic Postcards
www.sonicpostcards.org

Sonic Postcards blends beautiful online imagery with real-world elements to create a whimsical journey through the sounds and images of everyday life across the UK. A schools programme, aimed at children from nine to 14 years old, inspires them to gather sonic soundbytes from their local environments and exchange them, via the internet, with children in other schools. The children embark on field trips to record the sounds; learning to use audio editing software back in the classroom. They then combine the sounds with pictures and video to create a sonic postcard package to upload on to the internet. By navigating through an online map, visitors to the site can experience the noises collected by the children. Sonic Postcards wins for helping children learn about new media technology by developing a fun and educational experience.

Highly Commended

Film Street
www.filmstreet.co.uk

Ordnance Survey GIS Zone
www.mapzone.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/giszone

Elected representive

This award goes to the elected representative who best uses new media technology to communicate with the electorate.

Winner

Derek Wyatt
www.derekwyatt.co.uk

Derek Wyatt is an experienced hand at using the web and has consistently absorbed new technologies into his site as a means to communicate with his constituents. His mix of weekly blog entries and podcasts provide users with a variety of means to keep updated on Wyatt's work and local issues. Wyatt not only uses the frequently-updated site to keep constituents informed, by producing blog and debate sections, he gives users the opportunity to debate issues and give him feedback into the subjects that matter to voters. By keeping the focus of his cleanly-designed website on local and national news and, most importantly, his constituents, Wyatt has continued to show his venture into new media is heartfelt.

Highly Commended

Rt Hon David Miliband MP
www.davidmiliband.defra.gov.uk

Independent information

This award will go to the individual or organisation that best uses new media technology to provide an alternative, informative voice enhancing democratic debate

Winner

openDemocracy
www.opendemocracy.net

OpenDemocracy focuses on the news the mainstream media often leaves behind. Writers take vital global topics, ranging from climate change to terrorism, and present them in a comprehensive, user-friendly way that leaves readers inspired and impassioned. OpenDemocracy is a community where individuals who want to make a difference in the world can gather to discuss the issues of the present and set strategies for the future. The site's articles inform readers and inspire them to develop ideas about how to organise to tackle major issues. OpenDemocracy's forums also give readers a chance to debate authors' views and develop a global discussion of current events. The site routinely proves its unwavering commitment to democracy worldwide. Its ability to utilise a democratic process and its global focus in the realm of news analysis make OpenDemocracy a clear winner.

Highly Commended

UK Freedom of Information Act
http://foia.blogspot.com

Innovation

This award goes to the new media innovation that does most to improve public life.

Winner

BBC Back Stage
backstage.bbc.co.uk

Backstage is an open-source developer network launched in July 2005 to encourage innovation, identify talent and spark creative use of BBC-generated content. Web developers can choose from a wealth of content feeds to create and post prototypes of applications on the backstage blog. To date, most creations involve use of the BBC's television and radio programme listings and traffic information. Examples include a searchable database of current traffic congestion, a news digest sorted by how positive or negative articles are and hourly news updates of the latest BBC headlines via Instant Messenger. However, this is only the beginning. The judges commend the site for acting as a springboard for new ideas and making old material available to a new audience.

Highly Commended

ReadSpeaker Podcaster
www.readspeaker.com

Modernising government

This award goes to the most innovative use of new media technology to improve and modernise services at any level of government.

Winner

Love Lewisham
www.lovelewisham.org

Lovelewisham is based on a simple premise: residents want to keep their communities clean and safe. This website gives Lewisham residents the opportunity to take digital photos with their mobile phones of any environmental issues, such as graffiti, rubbish and potholes, and send them via SMS message to local clean-up crews. Visitors to the site can chart the progress of the clean-up online, or they can request an SMS update, when the mess has been cleared. "The software exudes brilliance not only because of its ease of use and simplicity, but because of its sheer effectiveness," Lewisham resident Kamal Uddin said. Lovelewisham's website wins this award for its ability to focus on a specific community problem and employ a genuine use of new technology to fix it. This is a novel idea that could and should be replicated by more local governments.

Highly Commended

Stop Crime-Devon and Cornwall Police
www.stopcrime.co.uk

Read more at http://www.newstatesman.co.uk/newmedia

This article first appeared in the 31 July 2006 issue of the New Statesman, Sell-out: Why hedge funds will destroy the world