Sunday, April 09, 2006

Burning the midnight candle for the EPpy Awards

I have been burning the midnight candle. I had to beat the deadline for the EPpy Awards Judging period, which closes at 10 pm ET on Monday. Given the time difference there is still enough time, but assessing 33 sites might take more time than expected.

The EPpy Award is an prize instituted by the US magazine Editor & Publisher. The EPpy Awards competition is expressly designed to honour Internet sites that are affiliated with the media industry, and especially newspapers, television networks and affiliates, radio networks, syndicated shows, local radio stations, and magazines.

The EPpy Awards were in fact the first cross-media awards in the world as the entries were always a combination of newspapers, magazines and television and radio stations together with internet sites. In the first years, the late nineties, the newspapers showed their electronic versions of the newspapers with articles and photographs. Only later movies, animations, audio- and slideshows as well as interactive shows were added.

The EPpy Awards started as a mainly US centered competition, but over the years it has become international. But the majority of the entries are still coming from the US. It is interesting to see that Editor & Publisher, now part of VNU, has never initiated a European and Asian version of the competition.

To be an EPpy Awards juror is interesting as you review a number of sites which currently are in fashion. The entries show you what the preferred lay-out of sites is and what the innovations are. So these days you see quite an imbalance between the original media (newspaper, magazine, television and/or radio shows) and the multimedia attributes. Remarkably info-graphics are not abundantly present The site owners still have not found a format integrating the multimedia attributes. But there are several experiments ranging from home pages with the start of a documentary movie to a simple column with boxes for audio interviews and graphics.

Last year I saw a beginning of an internet format for newspapers. The Spanish newspaper El Pais had produced a special about the bombing in Madrid in 2004. It was a worthy monument to the bombing victims and subdued rendering in multimedia of the happenings.

This year I saw an interesting site in the section classified. It was an obituary site. This site was intriguing to me as a Dutchman. In the Netherlands printed obituaries are still very, very sober in size and expression. Large obituaries are for important and rich people. You will hardly see a photograph or an ornament. Go to Belgium and you will find large advertisement, embellished with photographs and drawings. So far the Dutch newspapers have not used the internet opportunities so far like, which has slick multimedia tributes to the deceased.


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