Future of Media Awards shortlist: 2022's best podcasts, newsletters, sites

Future of Media Awards shortlist: Best websites, podcasts, newsletters and more of 2022

Future of Media Awards

Press Gazette is proud to announce the final shortlist for our first Future of Media Awards.

This event celebrates the best in online news innovation including categories for websites, podcasts and newsletters.

It has a focus on highlighting great work that signals the way to a sustainable future for quality news content in the digital age.

Sixteen independent judges scrutinised around 150 entries to come up with the final shortlists.

They were looking for work that fulfilled the following criteria:

  • Technical proficiency: slickness of delivery and ease of access to information for the audience 
  • Quality of design 
  • Journalistic excellence: rigour, revelation and investigation 
  • Commercial sustainability: is this work which helps create a sustainable future of quality journalism in the digital age? 
  • Readership: meaningful engagement with the target audience.

Chairman of judges Dominic Ponsford said: “It was encouraging to find so much online journalism based around deep reporting, originality and making a difference for the target audience.

“We’ve taken care to include links to all the shortlisted work so that readers can be inspired by a selection of the best online journalism of the last year.”

The winners will be announced at a reception directly after Press Gazette’s Future of Media Technology Conference at the Waldorf Hilton in London on 21 September.

Those involved in a shortlisted entry can attend the conference and awards for the discounted price of £175 (quote discount code: FOMC-FINALISTS-2022).

Book your place at the Future of Media Technology Conference and Future of Media Awards.

Sponsorship inquiries for the Future of Media Awards should be directed to richard.jamieson@pressgazette.co.uk.

Future of Media Awards 2022 shortlists

Data Journalism

Financial Times – Climate Capital:  The Climate Game, How each country’s emissions and climate pledges compare, Draw your own chart: test your climate change knowledge

“Climate Capital from the Financial Times combines deep-dive expert reporting on climate-related topics with innovative editing, visuals and data. It specialises in immersive stories, encouraging readers to interact with what they read on the screen.”

The EconomistThe Pandemic’s True Death Toll 

“The Economist became the first and only organisation in the world to publish a daily updating estimate of the pandemic’s true death toll, as well as estimates of excess deaths for every country in the world. These are, as far as we are aware, the only estimates of excess deaths – the best metric of pandemic mortality, partly because it does not depend on testing – available at the global level updating regularly.”

The Times (News UK)Covid Loans

“Used innovative data journalism techniques to uncover the truth about the mass defrauding of the government’s pandemic loan schemes. The findings exposed how basic failures by the government and banks meant recipients of the loans were able to use the money to go on gambling sprees, refurbish their homes and buy luxury watches and cars.”

Reach Data Unit Child Poverty, Levelling Up and Isolated Communities

“Reach Data Unit interactives were viewed and used more than 100 million times in 2021 and early 2022. Everything the Data Unit produces aims to engage with our readers on topics that matter most to them, and to give them clear and useful information, which otherwise often hides buried in mountains of obscure government data tables.”

Bloomberg NewsThe ESG Mirage

“The story revealed that corporate greenwashing – the false projection of an environmentally responsible public image – is merely a symptom of a much deeper problem that effectively makes ESG ratings meaningless. Our exhaustive analysis of the ratings system showed how sustainable investing has been turned on its head by gauging not the impact a company’s actions have on the planet but the impact government regulations and other factors have on its bottom line.”

DC ThomsonThe 5,025 Aberdeen WW1 victims, The 6,089 Dundee WW1 victims

“For Remembrance Day we honoured the fallen by geolocating and mapping their home addresses. We also included a map our readers can explore and a searchable table as well as a separate map of where they were laid to rest for any of our readers who wished to pay their respects.”

Digital Media Excellence – Specialist/B2B

PA Media – PA Explore

“PA Explore is a dynamic, digital platform delivering all the news agency’s content, and allowing every user to tailor the experience for their personal needs.”

Sifted

“Sifted reports on Europe’s tech startup and venture capital (VC) sector, a significant driver of economic growth in the region, but also one that has not been given proper attention by media to date.”

MLex

“MLex is an independent, online news business with an acclaimed team of investigative journalists reporting on legal and regulatory risk from bureaus across the globe.”

Management Today (Haymarket Media Group) – Management Today in the metaverse

“Over a four-month period, we recreated MT’s front cover in Decentraland, one of the big ‘decentralised’ – community-owned – metaverse platforms. We built our 12m high cover on one of R/GA’s 16x16m plots of land. We built a day and a night version of the cover (a 24-hour cycle passes in 1 hour on the platform). We wrote a provocative cover line ‘The internet is dead’ to attract attention. The image of our cover in the metaverse became the print and digital cover of the next magazine (a ‘meta, meta’ cover).”

Growth and Innovation

Reach – Google News Showcase

“The Google Showcase team is less than 18 months old but has grown to be one of the biggest referrers of page views – driving 100 million page views a month as well as getting paid to do it.”

Tortoise Media – Slow Newscast

“Tortoise’s audio-first journalism is published Monday to Friday, early and ad-free to over 55,000 paid-for members, and reaches nearly 3 million listens per month across major podcasting platforms.”

The Telegraph – Stories That Matter – advertising in quality digital news

“We have seen a notable increase on sell through rate (STR) against ads in a news environment year on year, tripling from 26% in 2020 to 75% in 2022. Despite increased STR for ads aligned with both culture and lifestyle content (traditionally deemed more commercially appealing), we have managed to bring news STR in line with these areas.”

Brands4News

“Brands4News.org was founded to help brands support quality journalism by providing them with free-to-use creative templates designed to run against crisis-related news content. These display advertising banners have a clear message that describes the cause and intention, whilst prominently displaying the brand assets (e.g. logos) in a ‘sponsored by’ manner.”

Digital Launch of the Year

TES

“A major relaunch for 2022, the new Tes.com/magazine site was re-imagined to appeal to the needs of busy, information-hungry educators – from middle leaders concerned with classroom teaching strategies to MAT CEOs responsible for million-pound budgets, early new career teachers just starting out to international head teachers based across the globe.”

Haymarket Media GroupMove Electric

“Move Electric is a new launch from Haymarket Automotive, and is designed to expand the firm’s core automotive audience by stretching into other forms of electric mobility.”

National World plcNationalWorld.com

“NationalWorld has outperformed all of our forecasts, growing to 14m monthly users. The site is also recording 5-6m monthly video views, and it leads the group on this metric as well. Our explainers have proven to be incredibly popular, and we enhance this content with infographics, interactive charts and and ‘explained in 60 seconds’ video format.”

The EconomistEspresso

“For existing users of Espresso, the relaunch has raised levels of satisfaction (and justified an increase in the subscription price, introduced in 2022). For any existing subscribers to The Economist who indicate they wish to cancel their subscription, Espresso is now offered as a less expensive “cancel-save” option, to slow subscriber churn.”

Bloomberg NewsBloomberg UK

“Customers were front of mind when designing the layout of the product, with new navigation, clearly-defined franchises and anew way of rendering video on our homepage to showcase our multimedia capabilities. The website has experienced an immediate and sustained increase in audience since the launch, with readership as much as 50% above pre-launch levels.”

Digital Media Excellence – News and Current Affairs

The Economist

“The Economist is fast moving from being a weekly print magazine, to becoming a digital-first media organisation. Over 50% of subscribers now consume Economist content only in digital form. Where subscribers were previously once-a-week consumers of our journalism, they increasingly come throughout the week.”

The Financial Times

“The FT’s digital coverage of the Ukraine war expertly deciphered the intricacies of the conflict, combining frontline journalistic rigour with digital innovation.”

Sky News

“Our award-winning journalism has attracted new audiences in the UK and globally: with 500k app downloads around the Ukraine war, an additional 1.4m YouTube subscribers this year, and a focus on TikTok, where we are now the second biggest UK news publisher with 1.6m followers. 4m users come to the Sky News website and apps every day on average – consuming over half a billion (560m) pages per month.”

ITV NewsHere’s the Story

“The Here’s The Story team has produced content which has generated tens of millions of views across social platforms and has driven a big spike in our total followers/subscribers on YouTube and TikTok in 2022 . Our biggest audiences on YouTube and Instagram are 18-24, demonstrating how Here’s The Story content is reaching and engaging the target audience.”

Newsletter of the Year

Inkcap Journal – Weekly digest

“The Inkcap Journal weekly digest is a roundup of nature and conservation news from across Britain. It goes out every Friday morning to around 800 paying members; although occasionally we send out a free sample to our full list of around 5,700 subscribers.”

ReachThe Northern Agenda

“The Northern Agenda was launched in early summer of 2021 with the aim of providing a distinctly Northern perspective on politics.”

Tortoise MediaSensemaker

“We believe slower, wiser news must be part of the future of journalism. Sensemaker is a key to that model. Although it’s sent daily, the goal is for our members to come away with clarity, not confusion. As one member wrote to us it is an ‘informative summary that digs below the headlines’.”

The SpectatorLunchtime Espresso

“Lunchtime Espresso uses every resource available at The Spectator, which is probably why it has almost 105,000 subscribers. Britain’s best political writers, such as James Forsyth, Isabel Hardman and Katy Balls often write the lead article. Spectator editor Fraser Nelson is heavily involved, offering insight – and writing leads – while economics editor Kate Andrews steers the newsletter’s direction and has the final sign off.”

The TelegraphDispatches from Ukraine

“Our Dispatches from Ukraine Newsletter was a rapid response to the surge of interest in the unfolding Ukraine-Russia war, and the corresponding explosion in Ukraine-Russia content being published. We wanted to shine a spotlight on the local and global impact of the war and expand the reach of our very best war journalism as the story continued to develop.”

Reach Lemon-Aid

“The newsletter launched in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic and was delivered daily for the first three months as shell shocked parents adjusted to the ‘new normal’. Whilst Lemon-Aid started out as a support for parents during lockdown, its success has continued beyond the pandemic. To date, Lemon-Aid has 45,344 subscribers and an average open rate of 32% in May 2022.”

Digital Media Excellence: Lifestyle

The Sun (News UK)Fabulous

“Over the past 12 months alone Fabulous page views have grown by 91% to May figures of 99.5million. Readers placed  775,000 votes in our Beauty Awards. Our body positive and celebratory Instagram account has grown by 87% in the past two years. Our audience on the parenting-focused Facebook page generated 2.39M interactions in six months.”

Bookish Magazine

“Literary content is scary. It’s often inaccessible for those from working class backgrounds, queer folks and those with disabilities – we should know. So, we started Bookish. An easy-to-read, accessible site that covers bookish content.”

Digital Storytelling, sponsored by LineUp Systems

The Times (News UK)DVLA staff off work on full pay amid application backlog crisis

“Paul Morgan-Bentley worked undercover at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency amid complaints from millions of people about delays in processing applications. He found that hundreds of staff at the DVLA had done no work on full pay for significant periods of the pandemic, while managers joked of watching Netflix at the public’s expense.”

Sky NewsAfghanistan Fight for Survival 

“In February, just five months after the Taliban seized control of Kabul, Sky’s special correspondent Alex Crawford returned to Afghanistan as it teetered on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. Aid agencies said millions were at risk of starving in the bitter Afghan winter. The people of Badghis – the poorest county’s region, were isolated and in the gravest danger of all. In the mountains, it was difficult to reach, and no-one had reported from there.”

 

Financial TimesHow London became the dirty money capital of the world video

“The FT video team set out to make a film explaining how London became the dirty money capital of the world, scrutinising whether the UK really is serious about clamping down on kleptocracy and financial secrecy. We animated a flow chart to illustrate the different steps to laundering money in London.”

The Economist – The Putin Show, Russia’s military build-up enters a more dangerous phase, The curious case of Russia’s missing air force

“The Economist’s special-projects team has tracked Russia’s war in Ukraine across a range of formats, demonstrating the newspaper’s new-found digital breadth. Innovative storytelling has combined with the paper’s traditional rigour.”

Reach – NextGen International project 

“This innovative piece of journalism was devised and co-ordinated by Rhian Lubin and launched in August 2021. Rhian used her journalistic skills to help 40 teenagers produce a unique series of reports which were beautifully designed using the Shorthand platform. Over the past eight months she has worked sensitively and often in difficult circumstances with young adults in the Solomon Islands, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Nepal, Mongolia and Ecuador to tell their story from the climate front lines.”

DC ThomsonMissing the the Broch: The Disappearance of Shaun Ritchie

“Our first investigative documentary for The Press and Journal. The documentary involved extensive filming on location and the creation of graphics to create a timeline and maps to help tell the story. An SEO plan, newsletter campaign and social campaign, including a trailer, were also created to help support the launch.”

ReachDaily Express Spotlight: Women In Sport #SheCan 

“Since starting the series, we’ve had over 50,000 views across 14 episodes streamed live on Facebook and Twitter and seen rapid growth with eight times more viewers watching now compared to our first broadcast.”

Podcast of the Year

PoliticoWestminster Insider

“Politico’s Westminster Insider introduced a new kind of podcasting to British politics. Crafted with higher production values than its rival discussion-led political podcasts, and newsier than traditional radio documentaries, Westminster Insider tells exceptional stories with exceptional audio production.”

The Bureau of Investigative JournalismSmokescreen

“The eight-episode podcast Smoke Screen delved into the shadowy world of corporate espionage in the tobacco industry, exposing a 200-strong spy network stretching across South Africa and beyond. The podcast follows a year-long investigation that brought to light a complex web of corrupt practices at the heart of southern Africa’s violent tobacco market between 2012 and 2016.”

ITV NewsShamima Begum: The Blame Game

“This podcast is the first to try and unpack the complex and compelling story of Begum’s disappearance and then re-emergence. It centres around the issue of blame. Why weren’t the warning signs picked up? Why weren’t the girls stopped? Could multiple agencies have done more now, or then? It explores how the media portrayed the girls and also investigates the question of gender bias and whether we judge women and men equally.”

The Times Stories of Our Times

“Stories of Our Times is the flagship narrative news podcast from The Times and The Sunday Times, featuring one remarkable story, told in depth, each day. Driven by exclusive access and reporting, it is presented by award-winning journalists Manveen Rana and David Aaronovitch.”

The TelegraphBed of Lies

“The second series of Bed of Lies, a Telegraph documentary podcast, lifts the lid on the infected blood scandal – when doctors infected tens of thousands of people with HIV and hepatitis. A cover-up has prevented justice for 40 years – but that changed in 2021. Politicians were finally in the dock. With survivors dying and the pandemic spurring interest in public health and BigPharma, now was the time to tell the full story.”

Tortoise MediaSweet Bobby

“Sweet Bobby is an investigative series from Tortoise Media which reveals how a former head girl carried out a sophisticated catfishing operation on a member of her own family. The first three episodes have been downloaded over 1 million times each and the series now has over 8 million downloads.”

ITV News  – What You Need to Know 

“Vladimir Putin’s decision to wage war fast-tracked the arrival of ITV News’ new flagship podcast on February 24th. The format’s design, flexibility, audience reach and, above all, quality of journalism was ready to match the moment – and answer our audience’s most-searched questions: Why’s Russia invaded Ukraine and can Putin be stopped?”

Financial TimesTech Tonic

“Relaunched in 2021, the Financial Times’ Tech Tonic podcast illuminates the most pressing tech stories of our time. In the midst of a digital revolution with the lines between the physical world and cyberspace looking increasingly blurred, deep-dive reporting combined with the FT’s world-class journalism untangles the threads of the ever-evolving digital landscape.”

Press Gazette is hosting the Future of Media Technology Conference. For more information, visit NSMG.live

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Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette