Writing for the Web

Category General Observations

There was a pleasing diversity of topics covered in the entries submitted. Note to editors: a cut-and-pasted media release or admissions information package placed online does not a digital story make!

Many stories incorporated multimedia elements of some kind, although the sure execution of this content remains a work in progress for a number of the institutions. The growing investment and experimentation in infographics is pleasing and to be encouraged, however.

The most successful entries were those that married a clear sense of editorial purpose with great writing and design. Some stories were compromised by the limits of their respective content management system - font choice and size were problematic in a number of entries.

It's great to see the growth in this category, with a significantly higher number of stories submitted for judging compared to 2016. More entries from institutions outside of North America are encouraged.

74 Entries
Comments on Winning Entries

Grand Gold Award

University of Washington (Washington) - Growing Veterans

  • A complete package beginning with a meaningful headline and stand first. Top-shelf feature writing is complemented with thoughtful, unobtrusive design elements which help to flesh out the story and draw the reader's attention to where it should be. Quality photography, animated infographics, and the added dimension of multiple audio interviews give the story impressive and compelling depth. An exemplar of how winning magazine story design can and should be adapted for a satisfying online experience.

Gold Award

University of Washington (Washington) -  Inclusive Engineering

  • This story starts with an evocative image and pull quote that draws the reader in. Typography is a design element in its own right and is artfully employed. Detailed infographics help to explain the rare condition of emimegalencephaly and the remarkable engineering research that is helping to improve one young patient’s life.

Silver Awards

Harvard Business School (Massachusetts) - Bernie Madoff Explains Himself

  • This story hinges on a simple yet stunning piece of digital content - an audio snippet of an ongoing conversation between fraudster Bernie Madoff and Harvard Business School professor Eugene Soltes. Soltes, a researcher into white collar crime, plays this interview for his MBA and Executive Education students to better understand how (im)propriety can fester in the stressful, ruthless world of big business.

University of Michigan (Michigan) - Escaping with Theater

  • This is a rich, multi-layered story about the University's Prison Creative Arts Project and its signature exchange with Brazilian colleagues. Large scrolling images and simple infographics help contexualise the story, and the effects on participating students are clearly and powerfully articulated. The University is also to be applauded for publishing this story in parallel Spanish and Portuguese versions.

Bronze Award

Johns Hopkins (Maryland) - 100 Objects That Shaped Public Health

  • This is a treasure trove of content that exploits the capacity of the web. There is no way you could publish such an expansive list in print. Alongside the expected entries (cigarettes, hypodermic needle, vaccines), there are lots of surprising items too (American cheese, hot dogs, sippy cups). Snappy, enjoyable writing.

University of Central Florida (Florida) - The Magic Touch 

  • A great feel good feature that tells the story of the successful prosthetics program at the University. The celebrity video certainly doesn’t hurt, and there is a natural link to the corporate philanthropy that helped to fund the research.

University of Notre Dame (Indiana) - Steps in Time

  • A pleasingly designed package that details the little-known competitive sport of Irish dancing. Notre Dame has rich Irish connections, and these are teased out in generous fashion.