Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

FC: Request for nominations: Best & worst Net journalism

------- Forwarded message follows ------- Date sent: Sun, 12 Dec 1999 18:47:09 -0500 To: From: Declan McCullagh <> Subject: FC: Request for nominations: Best & worst Net journalism of 1999 awards Send reply to:


[Disclaimer: I am a judge. --DBM]


Date: Sun, 12 Dec 1999 22:49:34 +0000 From: "Internet Freedom" <>



Internet Freedom today launched the first Internet Freedom Journalism Awards.

The awards will name and shame the worst journalistic examples of caricature, misrepresentation or stereotyping of Net users. The IFJA will also recognise high quality journalism and highlight good practice by journalists striving to report news about the Internet.

Chris Ellison, chair of the awards, said:

"The Internet Freedom Journalism awards are about giving journalists there just desserts. Quality journalism will be recognised, so too will sloppy journalism. Many myths, distortions and lies have been written about Internet users. These myths have served as ammunition for the censors in the war against free speech. In the campaign for the rights of Net users, Internet Freedom has been at the forefront of demystifying some of the myths of the Internet."

Jonathan Wallace, judge, said:

"Still unknown to most people today is the common sense proposition that the Internet is in reality a constellation of printing presses and bookstores - computers which produce content and servers which make it available. The press has a special responsibility in this regard: they have the power to help us all understand that the Net is to be treated no differently than print media; or to hype it as a self-created monster bearing no relationship to what has gone before. The first and most significant test of a journalist writing about the Net is whether he or she understands this fundamental principle."

Mark Newman, judge, said:

"We've all seen those regular scare stories about online hackers and fraudsters - yet in reality the Net is far safer than many journalists would have you think. Eye-catching stories about the Net may sell magazines and newspapers, but they don't educate readers about what's really happening on the Net."

Declan McCullagh, judge, said:

"The Internet may be reshaping the world's economy, but we shouldn't let it entirely reshape journalism. Writers and editors need to keep in mind the tried-and-true principles that good journalists have always followed: Fairness, accuracy, and timeliness. Technology may provide us with new ways to deliver our work and interact with our readers, but we must not let it sacrifice the high standards we set for ourselves."

For further comment call Chris Ellison on 00 44 (0) 956 129 518


1. Internet Freedom is one of the UK's leading cyber liberties campaigns. Their web site is at They can be contacted on 00 44 (0) 207 681 1559 or emailed on

2. The categories for the awards are:

*Internet Article of shame. For a news report, feature or opinion piece distinguished by misrepresentation, bias or invention of inflated dangers about the Internet.

*Internet Investigation of the Year. For a news story or feature revealing attempts to regulate the Net.

*The Fair Reporting News Agency of the Year. To a news organisation for consistently high standards in writing about the Net.

*Internet Journalist of the Year. To a journalist for consistently high standards in writing about the Net.

3. Only work published between 1 January and 31 December 1999 is eligible. Work can be from any media.

4. The closing date for nominations is 1 January 2000. Nominations can be made via Winners will be announced on 10 January 2000.

5. The judging committee comprises of Mark Newman, Declan McCullagh and Jonathan Wallace. Chris Ellison will chair the committee.

6. The judges and chair not eligible for awards.

7. About the chair and judges:

Chris Ellison is founder of Internet Freedom and has written for The Guardian, Index on Censorship and the Institute of Economic Affairs. He was listed by Internet magazine as one of the top 40 most influential figures in the Internet industry.

Declan McCullagh is the chief Washington correspondent for Wired News and lives and works in Washington DC. Until October 1998, McCullagh was a reporter for Time Digital Daily and Time Magazine, and continues to contribute to Time Magazine on a freelance basis. An award-winning journalist, his articles have appeared in publications from Playboy magazine to the Los Angeles Times.

Jonathan Wallace is author of 'Sex, Laws and Cyberspace' and publishes 'The Ethical Spectacle'. He lives in New York.

Mark Newman is editor of UK magazine Practical Internet.

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