AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) today awarded three prestigious Digital Edge Awards to Morris Communications Corp. newspapers. Two awards also cited Morris Digital Works, the online division of Morris Communications. The "Edgies" were announced and presented during Connections, NAA's annual electronic media conference, taking place at San Francisco's Moscone Center June 17-20.
The awards recognize industry trends and honor outstanding achievement in online publishing. The Best Online Newspaper award is divided into three separate areas: Best News Site, Best Regional or City Guide, and Best Vertical site. This year's Morris winners are as follows, Athens and Juneau winning jointly with Morris Digital Works:
Jacksonville.com, site of The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, for Best News Site (circulation category 75,000-250,000).
Judges wrote, "Exceptional functionality, deep community content and excellent informational architecture make this site outstanding."
Online Athens, site of the Athens (Ga.) Daily News and Athens Banner-Herald, for Best News Site (circulation less than 75,000). "University of Georgia students and Athens residents needn't look any further for news about the university community," judges said.
JuneauAlaska.com, city guide site of the Juneau Empire, for Best Regional or City Guide (circulation less than 75,000). Judges noted, "Locals and tourists alike benefit from this inventive guide to Alaska's capital city that places utility ahead of news. Excellent execution of Flash maps, database applications and video."
According to Gordon Borrell, president of the NAA New Media Federation, "Newspapers have always been a terrific repository of creativity, public service and business acumen. This year's winners prove that the industry has not only transferred those talents online, but also magnified them. . . .[the winners] are excellent examples of how to meld Internet technology with local content to capture -- and captivate -- audiences."
Morris Communications President Will Morris said, "We are extremely proud of the consistent creativity of our online teams and Morris Digital Works. Technology must be pushed to its limits in the service of our readers and advertisers. In our company, we view innovation as a service to customers."
"This recognition from the NAA is clear evidence that the Internet employees at Morris are at the top of their game," added Michael Romaner, director of Morris Digital Works, the corporate support arm for all Morris Internet efforts. "We are so proud of everyone associated with these awards.
"I hope the communities served by these Web sites understand what these awards mean," Romaner continued. "They're a powerful message that the best of the Web is right there in their backyards. Yahoo and AOL may be great resources. But no one does 'local' better than we do. Never have. Never will."
This is the fourth consecutive year of the five years Edgies have been awarded that Morris Communications has claimed top honors in their circulation categories. Other citations have gone to:
www.searchcolorado.com Best Newspaper Web Site 1999
www.augustachronicle.com Best Online Newspaper 1998
www.augustagolf.com Best Interactive Feature 1997
Additional Morris Web sites have earned international and statewide recognition this year as well. They are:www.jacksonville.com (The Florida Times-Union) EPpy Award for Best Sports
Section in a Newspaper Online Service; awarded worldwide by Editor & Publisher magazine.
www.jacksonville.com (The Florida Times-Union) Best Newspaper Web Site in Florida; awarded by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors.
www.thekansan.com (The Newton Kansan)Best Newspaper Web Site in Kansas; awarded by the Kansas Press Association.
www.dodgeglobe.com (Dodge City [Kan.] Daily Globe) Best Newspaper Web Site in Kansas; awarded by Kansas City Press Club chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Morris Communications is a privately held media company with diversified holdings that include newspaper and magazine publishing, outdoor advertising, radio broadcasting, book publishing and distribution, and computer services, and is the parent company of The Augusta Chronicle.