World Association of News Publishers

Best Practice in Digital Media

Best Practice in Digital Media


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The World Digital Media Awards are always an inspiring showcase of what the industry can do, but this year's prize crop included a particularly moving selection that underlined the power of technology to inspire emotion as well as awe.

The awards were presented at the start of the annual get-together after the first day of the World Publishing Expo in Hamburg.

The report takes a close look at the 2015 winners and what made their entries special and successful. In interviews, the people behind the winning entries describe the thinking and preparation that went into them – and what they learned in the process.

As judge Mario García, CEO of García Media and Senior Adviser on News Design/Adjunct Professor, Columbia University School of Journalism, writes in the foreword, "Reviewing the work of these winners proves that 2015 was a year of major transformation for how we present information across platforms, how we engage readers and how we take storytelling to the next highest level.… Congratulations to the winners. They now provide us with a textbook of fantastic digital storytelling examples."

Best News Website

Winner: The Guardian

A genuinely global news site with input from three continents, the Guardian has made waves with big ticket campaigns such as Snowdon and government surveillance but retains the loyalty of its readers with less talked-about but no less worthy stories about health and women's issues that don't always feature on rivals' home pages.

Guardian News and Media's unrelenting pursuit of a digital-first agenda, including its in-house metrics analysis shared with journalists, has made it a leader in technology but not at the cost of forgetting the basics of good news. 

Best Digital Advertising Campaign

Winner: Telekurier Online Medien, Austria.

Project: Bildung Braucht Innovation (Education needs innovation) 

George Nimeh, the former Chief Digital Officer, underlined the potential of creativity in overcoming obstacles when he observed that "we decided the ad-blocking stories we hear today are sending a signal, and that signal is about non-transparent data gathering and the cost to the consumer of the speed it takes to download so we needed to do something about that."

Best Data Visualisation Project

Winner: the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation

Project: Norwegian homicides over a 10-year period

The power of storytelling by chasing down the raw data; the team from NBC identified and examined every single murder in the country after being inspired by the effect provoked by a single missing-girl story. In the process, they made clear the role of mental illness in murder rate and with that highlighted the importance of taking mental health seriously. 

Best in Tablet Publishing

There were joint winners in this category: Axel Springer, Germany, and Aftenposten, Norway

Projects: EPOS (Springer); Aftenposten+

Joint winners are a rarity at WAN-IFRA because the results don't come down to sentiment but a careful system of points. This time, however, the judges' combined points ratings set these two products as being outstanding equals.

The Best Mobile Service

Winner: DIE WELT, Germany

Project: KOMPAKT

Designed to appeal to a younger demographic DIE WELT launched KOMPAKT in May 2014 as an iOS-only app. KOMPAKT is part of WELT kompakt, DIE WELT’s daily compact format. Downloaded and installed more than 100,000 times, 50 percent of its users are 30 or younger.

The Best Reader Engagement

Winner: Grupo Clarín, Argentina

Project: Ecosistema Digital

Rousing worldwide appreciation of the passion behind Argentinian football was the flag bearer for Grupo Clarín's Ecosistema Digital projects of interrelated and mutually supporting social media and digital creation. “Clarín has a strong and active presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Also the big data use for personalized content offering is highly innovative,” observed Rosana Fuentes Berain of Mexico Media Lab.

Best New Product

Winner: Verdens Gang (VG), Norway


MinMote, a fashion website complete with a range of daily tips and inspiration, introduced e-commerce to allow users to shop directly from an article with a single click as the mood took them. In describing the project, the company said its “commercial collaboration with Sobazaar played a crucial role in bringing in new revenue while maintaining editorial integrity and giving the user a simple and user-friendly buy option.”

Best Use of Online Video

Winner: The Straits Times – Singapore Press Holdings

Project: It Changed My Life Series

An outstanding example of the raw emotional power of the medium in the hands of an expert, and a shining example of cross-media collaboration. The "It Changed My Life" Series started with a senior writer on the newspaper profiling people who had undergone dramatic transformations and he then worked with the media group's star film-maker, Shawn Lee Miller, who managed to get the traditionally shy and insular Singaporeans to recount their astonishingly moving stories in a series of videos that combine cinematic quality with online-friendly, three-minute formats. 

Steve Shipside


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2016-01-22 14:55

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