What do I have in common with Drew Barrymore and Megan Thee Stallion? I walked the same New York City red carpet as they did on May 13. And what does Moore have in common with NASA, 60 Minutes and The Washington Post? A Webby Award.
The Webby Award is the internet’s highest honor, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Last year, 13,500 international entries were submitted; this year, we were one of 587 winners. We won a Government Website award with our partner UnderStory for our digital work with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for its Protecting Florida Together website.
Earning this award was the recognition —and the experience — of a lifetime. Can I tell you about the spectacle of our experience at the Cipriani Wall Street? We arrived in the pouring rain but were rescued by event staff with golf umbrellas. Just as we were about to walk the red carpet, handlers paused us to let Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black), influencer Patrick Starrr and Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) enter — then us — to be immediately followed by Drew Barrymore. The afterparty was DJ’d by none other than Questlove. And the awards ceremony was an inspirational, dynamic celebration of content that raises the bar on informing and entertaining audiences.
Why we won
The Protecting Florida Together website is a state effort to provide water quality information through environmental transparency and a commitment to action. Filled with information about how to protect Florida’s precious waterways, its signature feature is a real-time statewide dashboard that informs residents and visitors about water quality and restoration projects near them. The information helps them decide whether it will be safe or comfortable to fish, swim or take their pets to the beach — especially for those sensitive to algal blooms.
The project, four years in the making, challenged Moore and UnderStory to get under the hood and gain a degree of technical expertise. (We learned the difference between nitrates and nitrites, and then some). We had to be versatile, scrappy and a true extension of the team at Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection.
Our shared result is a truly audience-centric website with a high degree of novel user functionality.
What we learned that we think you should know
As we heard about each winner, it became clear that the victors had some traits in common. A few quick takeaway tips to consider for your own website and digital channels:
- Use the privilege of your digital platform as a force for good.
- Ensure that the content you create is both culturally and contextually relevant.
- Work to create content that is in tune with what is happening in culture, and society and with your audiences.
- Bonus points if your content moves people to change, or stand up and use their voices.