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Quality in the Internet

On June 15 the second annual Grimme Online Award will be presented to the best German internet site. This year DW-WORLD is among the top nominees. And the jury wants to know what the user thinks.


The user decides which German website is the best

It’s not everyday that a consumer is asked to give his or her opinion about the quality of a product, let alone when the product is in the running for a top media prize.

Just think about the Oscars or the Grammies. No one in the film or music industry ever stopped to ask the fans which actors or musicians they preferred. Instead, the jury awards the prizes and honors according to its own system of appraisal.

In the World Wide Web, things operate a little differently. The individual consumer or user stands more in the center of attention. Some even say the Internet is the great democratic media, where users get to speak out and participate directly in its formation. Others are a little more cautious and insist that the internet, like other traditional media, has its set of rules and limitations, but users are invited to interact and give their feedback.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that one of the internet’s prestigious quality awards is based on users’ opinions.

The Grimme Online Award, which recognizes outstanding German internet sites, is open for suggestions and voting by users – ordinary internet surfers. By asking for user input in determining the best website, the Grimme Award jury takes into consideration a variety of different perspectives.

User input

After receiving 1,600 suggestions for best websites from users and web providers alike, the nomination committee of the Grimme Award makes an initial pre-selection and narrows the list down to 23 nominees. These sites are divided up among three categories: "TV", "Web-TV" and "Media Journalism".

This year DW-WORLD is up for nomination with 14 other sites in the category "TV".

The winner of the online quality award is determined by a combination of input from the jury and users. The jury is made up of journalists, media analysts, internet experts, and specialists from culture and education. The members of the jury evaluate each of the 23 sites and award points for content, functionality and graphic design.

The webpages can also receive extra points for user popularity. A pop-up ballot box on the Grimme Award page allows users to click on to a particular site and add a point for that page. As an added incentive to contribute their opinion, voting users can register to win an Intel laptop.

Who sponsors the award?

The Grimme Online Award is a veritable newcomer among internet honors. This is only the second year it’s been given, and it still doesn’t have quite the star-status of a Webbie, the Academy award among websites. But the Adolf Grimme Institute, which sponsors the award, numbers among the most important European research centers focusing on questions of media politics and communication.

The Institute is responsible for the observation, analysis and evaluation of program offerings as well as the tracking of media trends across a broad spectrum from television to radio and the internet. The Adolf Grimme Institute sees itself as a forum for a Germany-wide discussion of media theory and praxis. It also advises media companies on product and program production and the training of young media professionals. The institute is based in Marl in North-Rhine Westphalia.

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