Columbian’s website a finalist for two national awards




The Columbian is one of three finalists for a national journalism award for its website.

One of the newspaper’s blogs, All Politics is Local, is one of five finalists for best political blog.

Editor & Publisher magazine announced Wednesday that a team from the magazine and a panel of 54 judges voted on the 2011 EPPY awards.

Winners will be announced Nov. 30.

In the category of “Best Daily Newspaper Website with 250,000 to 1 million unique monthly visitors,” the three finalists are The Columbian, the San Angelo Standard-Times (San Angelo, Texas) and the Ventura County (Calif.) Star.

In the category of “Best News/Political Blog with under 250,000 unique monthly visitors,” the five finalists are All Politics is Local and blogs from the Rapid City (S.D.) Journal, Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune, The Denver Post and Minnesota Public Radio.

Libby Tucker, The Columbian’s Web editor, said Wednesday she wrote in the newspaper’s entry that “ this year set out to improve civic discourse on important issues and increase accountability both online and offline with community initiatives.”

“Like most daily newspapers on the Web, The Columbian has struggled with anonymous commenters who bring down the level of discourse and prevent productive conversations from happening. On June 1, we became a leader among other mid-sized dailies when we switched our commenting system to Facebook and required the use of real names to comment on our stories. Since then, we’ve seen a dramatic improvement in the quality of comments as well as the variety of community members who are now participating. Other Washington papers are now following our lead and switching to this new platform,” Tucker wrote.

She also cited the new health microsite, Live Well, which was launched in July in partnership with 21 community organizations in Southwest Washington. Lead Live Well reporter is Marissa Harshman.

Tucker submitted posts from All Politics is Local, which she described as “a must-read for city and county insiders and politicos who want to stay on top of the inner workings of local government in Southwest Washington.” All Politics is Local is written by reporters Andrea Damewood, Harshman, Ray Legendre and Stephanie Rice.

Columbian Publisher Scott Campbell announced the news in a companywide email Wednesday.

“Congratulations to everyone for this awesome recognition!” Campbell wrote.

The EPPY awards recognize the best in print and television media. This is the 16th year for the awards. There are 43 categories.

Stephanie Rice:;;