Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The BOBs: Best of the Blogs

The U.S. blog Sunlight Foundation won the top award for Best Weblog in the third annual Deutsche Welle Best of the Blogs (BOBs) Awards. The international blog competition is sponsored annually by Deutsche Welle, the German international broadcasting service.

The 2006 BOBs jury members said they admired the Sunlight Foundation blog for its work to increase transparency in government. They called the project "a positive example of how blogs can shape political discourse" and praised it for its potential to be adapted for use in other countries.

Here's one example cited of what that blog has accomplished:
The [Sunlight] Foundation helped bridge the ideological divide in the blogosphere by bringing together liberal and conservative bloggers in its "Exposing Earmarks" project. Volunteers tried to find more information on 1,800 earmarks -- or hidden funding -- inserted into a Labor bill. This effort led to a new transparency law in Congress mandating a publicly accessible online database with detailed information on all future spending bills in Congress.
BOB Awards were also presented for the best blogs in several different languages, including English, German, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese. PaidContent.org, which won the award for Best English Weblog, tracks the different business models being tried and tested in the realm of digital media.

In the Reporters Without Borders category, the BOBs first prize award was shared by two Persian-language blogs, the photo blog Kosoof, which publishes photos of Iranian dissidents with their families after their release from prison, and Hamed Mottaghis' Weblog Tanine Sokut, which focuses on human rights violations in Iran and issues not covered by Iran's national media.

The BOBs also named a top podcast, Mezumei Studio of China, and gave its coveted Blogwurst Award to Aref-Adib, an Iranian photo-commentary blog that I've already bookmarked for posterity.

For just a taste of Aref-Adib, a recent post shows a noose labeled with the names of Mideast nations and the caption: "Saddam verdict didn't give Bush the big swing he was hoping for!"

More than 5,500 blogs in 10 languages were nominated for this year's BOBs by internet users from around the world. That's double the number nominated last year.

Nominees were first vetted by an international jury of bloggers, independent journalists and media experts, who created a shortlist of 10 nominees in each of the contest's 15 categories. Then the nominations were opened up to the public for three weeks of voting. The BOBs includes both jury awards and user awards.

One of this year's jurors was from the Bay Area: Lisa Stone, an organizer of the locally based BlogHer conference. She gives her take on the BOBs, including the user-named favorite English Weblog, Black Looks by Sokari Ekine, on a post on the BlogHer site.

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