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Technology

Wanted: The Best Weblogs

DW-WORLD.DE, the online portal of German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle, is scanning the Web for the world's best blogs. The competition will begin on Sept. 17, DW-WORLD.DE's tenth anniversary.

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Weblogs, or Internet diaries, are fast becoming popular the world over, and many sites have already developed a cult-like following. Blogs cover a lot of different issues, and a growing number recently have dealt primarily with politics. At the recent Democratic National Convention in Boston, blogs established themselves as an important form of news reporting.

Entries from around the world

"We're already in a state of suspense over who will participate in the competition," said Guido Baumhauer, head of DW-WORLD.DE. "We expect entries from all over the world in the 2004 Deutsche Welle International Weblog Awards because, after all, The BOBs are being awarded in seven languages and in no fewer than 11 categories. It's one of a kind."

The awards are directed at the competition languages: Arabic, Chinese, German, English, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish. In addition to the "Best Blog," "Best Subject," Best Design" and "Best Innovation" prizes, an award for the best work of journalism, "Best Journalistic Blog," will also be given.

Promoting free speech

Our focus on journalistic blogs is deliberate. "DW-WORLD.DE's birthday isn't our only motivation for presenting the international blog competition," said Baumhauer. "As an international broadcaster and Internet site, Deutsche Welle has seriously promoted freedom of information and the press in many countries of the world since it was founded in 1953."

By creating the award, Deutsche Welle is undertaking a further effort to foster greater freedom of opinion around the world, Baumhauer said. "Blogs represent a further revolution of the transmission of information over the Internet, just as the Internet revolutionized the media landscape a decade ago," he said. "And we're certain that, especially in places where blogs are appearing as private news pages and because of their decentralized nature, blogs are making a worthy contribution to the freedoms of the press and information."

Diaries are no longer kept under lock and key

For some time now, diaries have no longer been something people keep private. The times in which diaries were kept under a thick lock and hidden away are over. Internet journals are open to everyone and enjoy a great degree of popularity. There are already an estimated five million online diaries, and the number is growing every day.

But you're going to have to wait a while before you can find out who will be honored with the right to name themselves among the Best of the Blogs. From Sept. 17-Oct. 17 (during the suggestion phase), blog fans from around the world can suggest their favorite candidate sites at http://www.thebobs.de. Subsequently, an international jury of independent journalists, media experts and blog experts will make ten final nominations in each competition category.

In total, 22 awards will be given in 11 categories -- one Jury Prize for each as well as a User Prize. The winners will be determined in voting that will take place between Nov. 1 and Dec. 5, 2004. On Dec. 6, the winners of the 2004 BOBs Awards will be announced and the prizes awarded.

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