OTB Wins Golden Dot Award

Photo: Golden Dot Awards 2006 Outside the Beltway won the Golden Dot Award for Best Blog, presented last night at the Politics Online Conference sponsored by the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet (IPDI) of the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.

Best Blog: A Golden Dot will be awarded to an outstanding Web log that successfully informs the public about political issues, provides its audience with reliable, objective information, maximizes the unique abilities of the Web and represents the highest journalistic standards.

Tapped, Bench Memos, Confirm Them, and The Survival Blog of New Orleans were also nominated.

While the Golden Dots have been around a while, this is the first year that a Best Blog category existed.

Given the quality of the other nominees, much less the incredible number of superb blogs out there, this is indeed an honor. Indeed, I am more than a little surprised.

I found out that we had been nominated last Friday afternoon through an e-mail from Ed Trelinski, the Golden Dot Coordinator. Considering that the notice came three days before the conference was scheduled to begin and was accompanied by “an exclusive ‘2 for 1’ ticket deal” allowing me to get two tickets rather than one for the low, low price of $500, “a huge saving,” I was skeptical and declined the invitation. My thanks to Mike Krempasky for the heads’ up about the win.

In fact, it turns out that it was, as advertised, “the premier industry conference for online political professionals.” My wife, who travels in these circles in her work for Public Opinion Strategies, was instantly aware of the event (although not the Golden Dots). Paying $500 to attend these type of meetings, while unheard of in academic circles, is par for the course for professional conferences in the area. Of course, attendees are usually not paying it out of their own pockets.

The published Award Criteria for the Best Blog category:

Effectiveness – Reports the issues discussion, current campaign races, debates or legislative outcome. Uses innovations that can be adapted by others, helping to advance the issues debate. The judges will pay particular attention to creativity as well as the best use of content, design, navigation, multimedia, interactivity and community in telling a story related to American politics.

Clarity – Prose and graphics present information in a manner that is easily comprehensible by the general public. Highly developed precision of communications between the Web site or Web log and online visitors, including customization innovations.

Responsiveness – Direct, prompt answers to questions put forth by the general public. This should include Help and FAQ sections of the Web site in addition to evidence of prompt responses to incoming e-mail inquires.

Disclosure – Financial, personnel and public activity data about the organization sponsoring the issue campaign, provided in an accessible form. Explanations of how the organization sponsoring the Web site operates and makes decisions. Inclusion of information that serves to increase public awareness of public policy issues, including factual information, pro and con arguments and explanations of government programs.

Privacy – A clearly stated, prominently presented and faithfully upheld policy covering the privacy of information gathered from the public in the course of their interaction with the Web site.

Accessibility – Provisions on the Web site or blog that permit access by groups of citizens with special needs, including multiple languages where relevant, options that facilitate access by individuals with disabilities, access by individuals with low computational capacity or speed, graphical displays, multimedia offerings, navigability, indexing/search capability and help functions.

Searchable Archive – A searchable archive that gives users access to past articles.

Outreach and Integration – This category honors excellence in content, interactivity, multimedia, design, navigation and community tools. Emphasis will be placed on innovative use of technology to create public awareness on any issue of public concern.

We do most of that here, although we should probably have more clearly posted FAQs and Privacy statements. The searchability of our achives, however, is second to none. That’s probably what put us over the top!

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. R Gardner says:

    Let me be the first to congratulate you. I don’t blame you for not ponying up the $500.

  2. Maggie says:

    We don’t need anyone to tell us YOU’RE TOPS!

  3. Poly says:

    Congrats JJ.
    I’ve always enjoyed your site.

  4. Bithead says:

    Good to see good things happen to good people.

  5. ICallMasICM says:


  6. Elmo says:

    I musta missed the online blog campaign? I don’t recall seeing anyone around here begging for votes ….. what gives? I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to all of this year end’s best blog contests. All that ho-ing makes me absolutely bonkers. Oh, by the way …… Congrats 🙂