A local shot at a Webby award

John Gushue
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The Webby awards are often described as the Oscars of the Internet, although there are key differences. You won’t see actors giving acceptance speeches with five-word limits (an innovation that has brought the Webbys much-deserved praise, not to mention some creative responses), and the public doesn’t get a say on who wins.

The point of the comparison is that a Webby is prestigious, and coveted. (Some of my colleagues are nominated for one in the news category, and the whole unit is thrilled.)

I imagine the folks at Downtown St. John’s (formerly known as the DDC) are feeling the same way.

They earned a nomination in the Associations category for the website that was overhauled and redesigned by John Atkins & Co. (JAC), and they deserve it.

Downtown St. John’s


The Downtown St. John’s site is bright, lively, colourful and even fun to look at it. (Expatriates will swoon.) It’s built around themes of being cosy yet professional, neighbourly yet cosmopolitan. Apart from the nice looks — the photography is exemplary — there is real meat on the bones, with good use of interactives and information, and an ability to customize the site.

Voting for the Webbys (at least in the People’s Voice segments) is open until April 29. Winners will be announced May 3, and the Webbys will be handed out on June 13.

At this writing, Downtown St. John’s is trailing. Let’s see if the hometown spirit can provide a lift.

Communications honours

Speaking of honours, it’s worth mentioning that two local entrants won significant awards on the international scene for communications work.

Memorial University and the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association have both won what are called Gold Quill awards from the International Association of Business Communicators. My wife received one of these in the past, and I know they’re not handed out lightly, or often.



The NLMA won for its campaign on physician shortages in the province, which launched last spring during a particularly touchy period with the provincial government over bargaining. The ads — which focused on wait times and human stories — appeared in print, on radio and TV, and online, through services like YouTube. You can see much of the campaign’s products here.

The Shining


A Zagger’s Guide to Memorial University


Memorial University won for two different reasons. The first is a research report called “The Shining,” which uses movie titles and themes to honour the best research on campus; gone, definitely, are the days of a grey, just-the-facts rundown of who got what grant. They got researchers to play along, and the results are wildly creative.

The Zagger’s Guide is the recruitment publication that Memorial uses to lure would-be students to the campus, and it uses the university’s lack of proximity to other major cities as a selling point.

Elsewhere this week



Jukesy is an online music streaming service that you can customize, not unlike a jukebox. It uses YouTube (and the bazillion music videos and tracks uploaded there) and last.fm to make something of a hybrid. You can coast around the proverbial dial and play based on theme, or register and start saving your own playlists built on whatever you like. It’s ridiculously easy to use, and could be useful if you like having music play in the background.

Classic Guitar Riffs Quiz


If you were kicking around in the ’70s (or, let’s be blunt, have been listening to the stuck-in-a-time-warp world of FM radio since), you might do very well in this quiz. Finally, a test that rewards people for knowing their Ted Nugent!

John Gushue is an online editor with CBC News in St. John’s. Twitter: @johngushue.

Blog: johngushue.typepad.com.

Organizations: John Atkins Co., Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, International Association Jukesyjukesy.com/Jukesy CBC News

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