[The below is my 500 word supporting statement to the Canon Media Awards judges that accompanied my entry in the category of ‘Best Blog Site’, submitted today. My chances of winning are zero anyway so I don’t see the harm in sharing it here!]
Unfortunately, based on the criteria, categories, and previous years’ judging, I have little confidence that either the Canon Media Awards organisation or its judges have their heads around what a blog actually is. I must therefore give up most of these 500 words trying to explain it.
The dictionary definition of a blog is “an online journal”. A blog is a space where people write in a very personal way about whatever topics they are into. Often those topics are very niche – and this is one of the great strengths of blogs, in that they often fill gaps that the mainstream media show little or inadequate interest in.
A journalist can be a blogger, but a blogger is not necessarily a journalist. In the digital age, blogs should be considered part of ‘the media’ but that doesn’t mean they should be measured with journalistic measuring sticks. Your competition is not called the ‘Canon Journalism Awards’. It’s the ‘Canon Media Awards’.
There seems to be a common misconception that a blog is by definition about politics and current affairs – it most certainly isn’t! The most read blogs in New Zealand might be about politics, but many of the most famous and well-loved blogs around the world are about food and/or fashion to name but two popular genres.
You also seem to think that blogging is all about writing. I doubt that a photoblog (a blog that is mostly photography and/or art) or a vlog (video blog) would stand a snowball’s chance in hell in these awards based on the criteria. That is unfortunate when some of the best blogs in the world by far, in my opinion, are not based around writing.
If you are going to have a category in New Zealand’s premier media awards recognising blogs, then every kind of blog needs to have a fair chance. Otherwise you should call it ‘Best Current Affairs Blog Writer’ and dispense with the fiction that you are embracing the modern world.
Your criteria also seem to indicate that you will judge blogs partly based on readership numbers, growth and levels of audience engagement. You can look up my stats if you want – they are publicly available – but shouldn’t this be about quality?
I am not arrogant enough to think that I run the best blog in New Zealand. I am entering more to make a point. But for what it’s worth, in 2015 we published 174 pieces of writing and almost a thousand professional quality photographs (some of which were also published in major dailies) of and about football (soccer) in New Zealand.
We featured guest posts from high profile individuals such as Helen Kelly on workers’ rights issues surrounding Qatar 2022, and we featured guest posts from bidding entities for the ASB Premiership expansion – a topic of significant national interest barely covered in any depth by the mainstream media. I also interviewed former All Whites assistant coach Neil Emblen and ITUC President Sharan Burrow.
Thank you for considering my entry.
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.