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September 21, 2022updated 14 Oct 2022 6:21am

Future of Media Awards winners revealed: Best digital journalism products of 2022

By Bron Maher and Charlotte Tobitt

Tortoise Media was a double winner at the inaugural Future of Media Awards celebrating excellence and innovation in digital journalism.

Also taking home prizes were News UK titles The Times and The Sun, The Financial Times, The Economist and education title TES.

Sifted, which writes about the European tech start-up scene, and Inkcap Journal, a nature newsletter, also received praise from the judges.

The Future of Media Awards event contains nine categories, including podcasts, digital storytelling, newsletters, and growth and innovation, with a focus on how entrants reached their target audiences and whether they had found a strong business model.

The winners were announced at a ceremony at London’s Waldorf Hilton Hotel on Wednesday evening, following on from the Future of Media Technology Conference.

The winners were chosen by a panel of 16 independent judges who scrutinised around 150 entries to choose a shortlist and nine winners.

Criteria included:

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  • 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 that helps create a sustainable future of quality journalism in the digital age? 
  • Readership: meaningful engagement with the target audience.

Slow news outfit Tortoise pivoted in the past year to put more focus on its audio journalism. Both of its Future of Media Awards wins were for its podcasting: The Slow Newscast won the Growth and Innovation category for its impressive audience reach, while the “blockbuster success” Sweet Bobby won Podcast of the Year.

The FT-backed website Sifted, the visual storytelling team at the Financial Times and The Sun’s Fabulous brand were all given plaudits for their excellence in digital media.

The  Future of Media Awards were sponsored by: AdvantageCS, Auddy, Glide Publishing Platform, Lineup Systems, NLA Media Access, Outbrain, PressReader, Pugpig, and TCE Exchange.

Future of Media Awards 2022 winners

Data Journalism – sponsored by TCE Exchange

WINNER: The Economist The Pandemic’s True Death Toll 

The Economist picks up Future of Media Award for data journalism. Picture: ASV Photography/Press Gazette

The judges said: “The Pandemic’s True Death Toll from The Economist was a ground-breaking investigation, months ahead of its time, which was widely cited by governments and official bodies around the world and will no doubt find its place in the history books of this period.”

Future of Media Awards winner Economist graph

Digital Media Excellence: Specialist/B2B – sponsored by Advantage CS

WINNER: Sifted

A member of the Sifted team collects the Future of Media Award for Digital Media Excellence – Specialist/B2B. Picture: ASV Photography/Press Gazette

The judges said: “Sifted is a great example of using strong, multi-platform journalism to create a community and build a sustainable business.”

Future of Media Awards winner Sifted homepage

Growth and Innovation – sponsored by Pugpig

WINNER: Tortoise Media – Slow Newscast

Phoebe Davis of Tortoise Media collects the Growth and Innovation prize at the Future of Media Awards. Picture: Press Gazette/ASV Photography

The judges said: “Tortoise has shown impressive growth since its pivot to audio last year and today claims some three million listens per month. Its flagship product has helped to reach over 50,000 paying members. It is thoughtful, sustainable and grounded in journalistic rigour.”

Digital Launch of the Year – sponsored by PressReader

WINNER: TES – relaunch

Dan Worth of TES collects the Digital Launch of the Year award at the Future of Media Awards. Picture: Press Gazette/ASV Photography

The judges said of the winner: “The TES is doing proper journalism and providing essential reading for its target audience.”

TES magazine website homepage on 20 September 2022

Digital Media Excellence: News and Current Affairs – sponsored by NLA Media Access

WINNER: The Financial Times

FT team collects the Digital Media Excellence – News and Current Affairs prize at the Future of Media Awards. Picture: Press Gazette/ASV Photography

The judges said: “The FT’s digital coverage of the Ukraine war expertly explained the conflict and combined frontline journalistic bravery and rigour with innovative digital storytelling.”

A screenshot of the FT’s visual storytelling piece: How Russia’s mistakes and Ukrainian resistance altered Putin’s war

Newsletter of the Year – sponsored by Glide Publishing Platform

WINNER: Inkcap Journal – Weekly digest

The judges said: “Inkcap Journal has shown that high-quality coverage of a niche subject can quickly be turned into commercial sustainability on the newsletter platform.”

Digital Media Excellence: Lifestyle – sponsored by Outbrain

WINNER: The Sun – Fabulous

The Sun’s Fabulous prize is collected at the Future of Media Awards. Picture: Press Gazette/ASV Photography

The judges said: “The Sun’s Fabulous has seen impressive audience growth over the last year and served its readers well with strong video and hard-hitting features. The fact its awards attracted some 800,000 votes is testament to its huge brand impact.”

Digital Storytelling – sponsored by Lineup Systems

WINNER: The Times – DVLA staff off work on full pay amid application backlog crisis

The Times wins the Digital Storytelling prize at the Future of Media Awards. Picture: Press Gazette/ASV Photography

The judges said: “This was undercover investigative journalism that shed light on a hugely important national issue and which expertly used a number of digital storytelling techniques.”

Podcast of the Year – sponsored by Auddy

WINNER: Tortoise Media – Sweet Bobby

Tortoise wins Podcast of the Year for Sweet Bobby at the Future of Media Awards. Picture: Press Gazette/ASV Photography

The judges said: “Sweet Bobby has become a blockbuster success, using great access and expert production skills to tell a fantastic tale. A great example of long-form investigative journalism via podcast.”

Future of Media Awards winner Sweet Bobby

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