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RFE/RL’s New Media Efforts Nab Annual Webby Honors

RFE/RL was recognized for several creative technologies, including innovative mobile sites that allow its 19 Language Services to deliver news in streamlined formats.
In the World Wide Web, it doesn’t get much more elite than the Annual Webbys Awards. And for the second year in a row, RFE/RL was named an “Official Honoree” in the Radio & Podcasts category.

The 17th annual Webby Awards, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences (IADAS), is the leading international award that honors excellence on the Internet. Chosen from a field of 11,000 entries from over 60 countries worldwide, the Webbys recognize excellence on the Internet in more than 100 categories. While not part of the final five Nominees in each category, the Official Honoree distinction is awarded to the top 15 percent of all work entered that “exhibits remarkable achievement.”

RFE/RL was honored for its outstanding achievement in new media and creative technology to reach its global audience, including innovative mobile sites that allow its 19 Language Services to deliver news in streamlined formats.

“We have a rich selection of audio programs and podcasts in several languages, easily available to the user via an audio dropdown menu, audio schedule, audio program pages and podcast pages,” said Kim Conger, RFE/RL’s Design and Deputy Director for Internet Technology and Strategy. “Our sites are well-designed and easy to navigate.”

RFE/RL’s standout Uzbek Service mobile page attracts more than 100,000 visitors each month. Likewise, the Turkmen Service has significantly increased visits to their mobile page. The Azerbaijan Service was awarded March’s "Best Of RFE/RL” for building audience interest with extended multimedia coverage of the March 10 protests in Baku. Radio Farda receives 10 million page views every month and is one of the very few remaining sources of uncensored news and information for people in Iran.

Conger adds, “RFE/RL's future is increased web content distribution -- from tablet, mobile, SmartTV and desktop apps. Having confirmation from industry experts that our Internet Team does it successfully means a brighter future for all of us.”

The IADAS Executive Academy and its judges are made up of industry leaders such as musician David Bowie, Internet inventor Vint Cerf, Huffington Post Media Group chief Arianna Huffington, Twitter founder Biz Stone, “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening, Virgin Atlantic chairman and founder Richard Brandon, and many others. Members also include writers and editors from publications such as The New York Times, Wired, Details, Fast Company, Elle, The Los Angeles Times, Vibe, and WallPaper.

Final Webby winners will be announced at a May 21 ceremony in New York City.

--Huzan Balay