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The Arts Desk wins Best Specialist Journalism Site of 2012 | reviews, news & interviews

The Arts Desk wins Best Specialist Journalism Site of 2012

The Arts Desk wins Best Specialist Journalism Site of 2012

We triumph in Online Media Awards 2012 over Financial Times and Guardian

The engraved award for Best Specialist Journalism Site of 2012

The Arts Desk has been voted Specialist Journalism Site of 2012 at the Online Media Awards. In a celebratory dinner at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium recognising "the best and boldest of online news-based creativity and also the most original", The Guardian were the major winners with five awards, but even their new Data Store section was outgunned in the Specialist Journalism category by The Arts Desk.

In a category contested by 11 nominees, The Arts Desk's prize was the first of two given by the judges acclaiming two specialist sites "for very different reasons" - the other went to The Economist, the long-established magazine. Runners-up with commendations were the Financial Times, Nature News and Comment and the Guardian Datastore. Also shortlisted for the category were Reuters Breakingviews, Bloomberg, Red Online, Wired, Press Gazette and International Network of Street Papers.

The judges said they "liked The Arts Desk's breadth and the mix of high and lower-brow content", and commented on "nice use of big strong images". It was full of topical content and felt busy but not overpowering.

award presentationThe Arts Desk was set up in 2009 by a large group of arts critics and writers who felt that the web offered a new and better arena for top-quality arts journalism than the shrinking print media. After a meeting at El Vino's, the old Fleet Street journalists' pub, they formed as a collective of equals, with no editor, no offices and initially no staff. Run totally online, the ethos of The Arts Desk is that every art form is covered without prejudice to any other, and its deskers (more than 70 now) all have a share in the business. (Pictured, writer Ismene Brown and publisher Kevin Madden presented with the award.)

The Online Media Awards, which aim to recognise the best in digital news and journalism, attracted entries from some of the world's leading websites including The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Times, BBC, Sunday Times, Mail Online, Reuters and Wall Street Journal.

The awards were judged by a 20-strong international panel chaired by Noel Young, owner of, and including Ed Bell, ex-bureau chief at the Associated Press, Mark Coyle, editor of BBC London 2012, Nick Blunden, digital publisher at The Economist, Nick Wrenn, VP digital at CNN International, Maria Eftimiades, ex-bureau chief of People magazine, David Mill, managing director of MediaCo, Bill Hagerty, retiring editor of British Journalism Review, and Jim Chisholm, director of the Scottish Newspaper Society.

The Guardian won Website of the Year and four other awards, and the Chairman's Award was presented to MailOnline. The Sunday Times, The Times and the BBC each won two awards. Online Editor of the Year was Carla Buzasi, Editor-in-chief at The Huffington Post UK.

Online Media Awards founder Gordon Young said, "Now in their second year the Online Media Awards have very quickly become established among the world’s top online media owners and editors as an important benchmark for the work that they are doing to build strong online brands. This year’s awards attracted many major national and international media brands all of whom are really pushing the boundaries of online journalism. What is also encouraging to see is that not only the major media brands are winning these awards, but smaller brands are also proving that when it comes to great online journalism it is not always who has the deepest pockets that wins."

The Online Media Awards 2012 were sponsored by the Press Association, Society of Editors, National Union of Journalists, and IE School of Communication. A full list of winners and categories appears in The Drum, the marketing magazine, and at

The judges liked theartsdesk's breadth and mix of high and lower-brow content. Nice use of big strong images

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Congrats on the award. Let's hope they also start to cover more regional exhibitions in the UK.

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