As I return from vacation to the horror of Hurricane Katrina and the surprise of two openings on the United States Supreme Court, I am particularly glad to focus on The BOBs -- The Best of the Blogs Awards, hosted by Deutsche Welle International. I've accepted an invitation to join the jury of journalists judging this competition. Our job is to select a baker's dozen of the world's best current-events blogs in the following categories:
Best Weblog Best Multimedia Blog Best Podcasting Site Special Award from Reporters Without Borders: This category is for Weblogs that take a strong stance for freedom of information all over the world. Best Journalistic Blog: The best blogs written in nine languages will receive this award. The languages for 2005 are: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Note: The BOBs site defines "journalistic" blogs as Weblogs that are not necessarily written by professional journalists but "make use of the journalistic attributes of analysis and commentary on contemporary issues (politics, culture, business, sports) and other hot-button topics."
You may ask, who are we to say who's best? That's exactly what I wondered when I was invited to join the other jurors. As you'll see, they're an impressive bunch of journalist-types. Unlike many of the other jurors, I blog in only one language. Unlike all of them, I'm American. And female.
Despite our differences, I'm going to make an assumption that we share one thing in common: A belief that our ability to identify the best blogs depends upon you. In other words, I'm asking for your help -- help us make sure we see the best of the best. The BOBs are soliciting nominees for each of the categories outlined above. Please, nominate a blog that deserves one of these awards -- whether it's yours or someone else's. Complete this suggestion form by the end of the month, and your nomination goes into the hopper and onto the official Web site. As Julien Pain of Reporters Without Borders wrote at the end of his intro "Blog for Freedom" in the jurors blog, "I look forward to discovering new blogs, new people and new ideas through these Bobs."
The public nomination process is the big reason I'm interested in these awards. At a time when international events demand and deserve authentic, independent writing, reporting and insight about current events, bloggers around the world are chipping away at rhetoric to deliver the real thing. Take Katrina -- you want commentary about real people and news of how failed policy affects everyday lives? These blogs have it.
So if there's a deserving blog out there and we don't know about it, it won't be for lack of asking. Tell us -- We've been given until Sept. 30 to recruit blog nominations for these awards.