Best of the Web/Best of Digital 2018 WINNERS

Introducing the winner of 2018 AEJMC BoW/BoD part I: Individual/Team/Single Class for Website category.

In the last issue, I talked about an overview of the Best of Web/Best of Digital competition. In a two-part series, this and next issue of the newsletter will introduce the winners of the 2018 BoW/BoD competition, starting from the winners of the Individual/Team/Single Class for Website category. This piece will also provide tips on what makes a successful entry, borrowing words from the first-place winner.

The first-place winner of the Individual/Team/Single Class for Website Category was the Re-enact team from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. The entry, http://www.reenactmag.com/, is a digital publication for those who love living history and members of the re-enactment community. The website was created for a graduate-level capstone course called Journalism Enterprise. Through in-depth reporting, research, conversations with experts, photos, and videos, this digital publication takes the audience back to historical battlefields, covering the lifestyle on and off the field. It also informs its visitors of a list of calendar events, travel guides, and authentic kit materials through its marketplace.

The second-place winner was Professor Bettina Fabos (University of Northern Iowa) and her seven-member team. Her entry, “Proud & Torn: A visual Memoir of Hungarian History (https://proudandtorn.org/),” is a photo-history website that delivers a story of a sister and brother born in Hungary in the 1930s and the previous generations in their family. Proud & Torn demonstrates how visual communication, history, interactive design can be weaved into a visually stunning website on an interactive storytelling format. It also shows how a digital narrative storytelling can contribute to our understanding of modern history.

The third-place winner was Marquitta Crichlow, a graduate from Michigan State University. Her website, “Working through imperfections: Navigating the gray areas inside relationships (https://relationshipbehaviors.wordpress.com/),” exposes the gray areas in relationships where people experience doubts and insecurities. It shares the stories of couples about the feeling of vulnerability in their relationships and the process of finally coming to understand each other and maintaining a stable relationship in the amidst of insecurities.

Overall, a panel of judges evaluate each entry in terms of its design, technology, and content elements. More specifically, each site is examined on the basis of criteria relating to visual presentation, use of technology, efficient coding (or the amount of customization if the site is a CMS website like WordPress), accessibility, informational value of content, and functionality.

Putting the target audience at the center of the design process is also the key. When asked what made their submission a success, Elliot Williams, the Editor-in-Chief of the Re-enact team notes, “One thing we did early on in our creation process during the pitching stage was to seek all types of criticism… we worked really hard to create something better… to interview people who would potentially read this website, finding out what they cared about, and then staying up late to work on reshaping this idea.”

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Su Jung & Michael
Best of the Web/Best of Digital Competition Chairs

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