The Mountain Democrat’s ever-evolving online component was recently recognized by judges with the Inland Press Digital Journalism Awards for its layout, accessibility and content.
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Winners of the fourth annual competition, which is open to all Websites run by U.S newspapers, were announced Thursday.
Honorees recognized by judges included the Sacramento Bee, the Knoxville News Sentinel and the Daily Advocate.
Although the Democrat Website did not take top honors in its category, it tied for second place in the category of General Excellence in Online News Service for papers with a circulation of less than 200,000.
The site was commended as having “among the cleanest, most accessible presentation and design of all entrants,” according to contest judges.
Judges also called the Democrat Website “rich in content” and applauded it for its “system of using the Web platform as the main content management system to feed print and online.”
“It’s an honor to be recognized by the newspaper industry,” said Democrat Publisher Richard Esposito. “Our staff has done a marvelous job transforming our Website and incorporating new technology.”
The Inland Digital Journalism Awards honor newspapers’ achievements in producing and disseminating news content via media platforms.
The Inland Press Association, founded in 1885, is a not-for-profit foundation that dedicates itself to advancing the welfare of papers in the United States, Canada and Bermuda.
Judges noted, however, that the Democrat Website could be improved through “more social network integration and visible signs of fruits of user interaction and participation.”
David Martinelli, the Democrat’s online editor, said plans to improve the paper’s online component are already in the works.
“Over time, we intend to add more rich media to our Website, including an increased emphasis on video,” he said. “We also hope to develop a number of online features that really present information in a unique way that our readers can engage in.”
He continued: “We’ve really only scratched the surface of the potential our Website can deliver. Almost daily, we’re making small tweaks to improve the look and functionality of the Website.”
Although the Democrat site only re-launched in October 2010, Esposito said recognition from the Inland Press Association validates the niche of smaller papers.
“This award just proves small newspapers like ours can adapt to a rapidly changing industry and employ the innovation necessary to meet today’s challenges,” he said.
For more information on the Inland Press Association, visit inlandpress.org.
E-mail Jim Ratajczak at email@example.com or call 530-344-5069.