Cactus Kate Wins Inaugural AirNZ Blog Award
Cactus Kate Wins Inaugural Air New Zealand** Best Blog Awards
Cactus Kate (http://asianinvasion2006.blogspot.com ) has won the New Zealand Bloggers' Union's inaugural Air New Zealand** Best Blog Award.
Blogs to be shortlisted by at least one judge were: Hot Topic (http://hot-topic.co.nz ); In A Strange Land (http://inastrangeland.wordpress.com ); Kiwianarama (http://www.kiwianarama.co.nz ); Liberation (http://liberation.typepad.com ); and Not PC (http://pc.blogspot.com ).
The union launched the awards after another media awards competition, sponsored by a foreign budget airline that uses decrepit Boeing 767s for its Trans-Tasman services and doesn't even have proper lie-flat beds in Business Class, failed to follow its own criteria in selecting its short list.
More than 30 entries were received by the deadline while all other top 20 blogs in New Zealand, as measured on the authoritative Tumeke! blog ranking index (http://www.nzblogosphere.blogspot.com ), were given wild card entries.
The judging panel consisted
* Martyn "Bomber" Bradbury, co-author of Tumeke! and a moderate-left media commentator and presenter;
* Regan Cunliffe, founder of Throng Media, a global network of television community websites and ffunnell, an advertising network for independent publishers;
* Matthew Hooton, managing director of Auckland lobbying firm Exceltium, and a moderate-right political commentator and columnist;
* Tim Selwyn, co-author of Tumeke! and creator of the Tumeke! blog ranking index, and a former political prisoner under the regime of New Zealand's deposed leader Helen Clark; and
* Ricardo Simich, director of marketing and communications company One Agency and a prominent Auckland socialite.
As far as possible, the judges set aside their personal political views and interests and sought to reach their decisions by consensus.
In awarding the Supreme Award to Cactus Kate, the judges described the blog as: "Intelligent, persuasive and influential, with the sort of investigative journalism Metro should be publishing. This is a blog which has contributed to changes in the administration of some of New Zealand's most important regulatory bodies, as well as providing a healthy degree of humour."
In awarding the Runner Up Award to Dim Post, the judges described the blog as: "Genuinely world-class political satire on matters both weighty and absurd, delivered almost every day. While clearly demonstrating a centre-left perspective, the writer also has the ability to surprise with unpredictable ideas."
The judges said they struggled most with the choice between No Right Turn and Whaleoil for third place.
Commenting on Whaleoil, the judges said: "While the writer's vitriol can be distasteful and his spelling and grammar sometimes leaves much to be desired, Whaleoil is the ultimate right wing blogger, delivering scorching critiques of current issues every day, and undoubtedly influencing real political events."
Commenting on No Right Turn, the judges said: "While there is some doubt about the degree to which the blog has influenced real events and the lack of a comments option could be seen as against the spirit of blogging, No Right Turn provides extremely well researched and well-written contributions - with a decent dose of hard-left anger - on a very wide range of political, social, constitutional and human rights issues."
The judges recommended that Whaleoil consider investing in a more advanced spell and grammar check program and that No Right Turn consider opening up his site to community discussion.
The judges said it was noteworthy they had decided to offer no award or commendation to the Tumeke! index's highest rating blog, Kiwiblog ( www.kiwiblog.co.nz) nor to two other high-ranking blogs, The Standard ( www.thestandard.org.nz) and Red Alert (http://blog.labour.org.nz)
The judges said: "Kiwiblog has regrettably become tame following the change of government in 2008 while The Standard and Red Alert can also be seen more as propaganda tools for political parties. They continue to have value in terms of offering insight into thinking in parliament and in the union movement but, to be considered for high recognition in future, Kiwiblog needs to again find its more independent voice while The Standard and Red Alert need to learn to surprise and challenge rather than merely offer predictable opinions."
The judges and organisers thanked all those who participated in the awards and look forward to expanding the Air New Zealand** Best Blog Awards in 2011.
Full commentary from the judges on all the nominees will be posted at http://www.airnewzealandbestblogaward.blogspot.com and on http://www.tumeke.blogspot.com.
** Yeah, yeah, Air New Zealand is not really sponsoring the award but the judges would like to honour it anyway having found that its Business Class is so much better than Qantas even in First Class. That's except for Tim and Bomber, but even they can report that Air New Zealand's Economy Class is much better than Qantas's Economy Class too (but that's kinda irrelevant - who cares what happens down the back of the plane anyway?)