Slugger Awards 2010: Making politics better…
In 2008 and 2009, Slugger O’Toole has managed a set of awards designed to ‘catch people in public life being good’. It was intended as an antidote to the world-weary cynicism and negativity that often dominates the media.
Up until now, we have worked with a pre-defined list of categories – MLA of the Year, Up-And-Coming Politician, Journalist of the Year etc, and then we’ve asked for nominations from our readers. A panel of judges then selected the winners in advance of an Awards evening, organised in conjunction with our ridiculously energetic friends at Stratagem.
These awards established an important principle – that political blogs can be positive and useful – as well as giving everyone a good cheap night out while raising our issues with hundreds of people in the process
But this year, we’ve grown in confidence. We are sure the awards are more than just an experiment, and we’re keen to make them more meaningful. We’re confident of our ability to involve people and our ability to make an impact with the event and the results.
Gear-change for 2010
So in 2010, we are going to deepen and broaden the quality of participation. We will be ‘crowd-sourcing’ the award categories. In particular we will be asking our readers and contributors to identify the kind of behaviour that we want to reward. There are three over-riding categories:
- Politics – better representation
- The Media – a more socially useful Fourth Estate
- Public Administration – more accountable, efficient dynamic and effective
We will be asking our contributors to tell us what they want politicians / civil servants / media organisations to do more than they are currently doing?
In the past, the focus has been on a final judges selection process. This time, once the description of the awards has been agreed, selecting winners will be a good deal more inclusive.
To get involved in this process as a partner or sponsor, please call Paul Evans on 07973 714206 or email us using this spam-proof link.
The Slugger Awards 2010 – process.
The Slugger Awards Essays
Over the autumn, Slugger will commission a series of essays from regular contributors and a few guest writers asking them each to identify a unique award category – a form of behaviour that they would like to reward.
Public event – ‘Political Innovation’
We will be organising an event in Belfast to cover the subject of ‘Political Innovation’ in October / November and the Award selection process will form the centrepiece of that event. It is our aim to involve 100+ people in an event at which they discuss what they would like public servants (elected or otherwise) to do better.
This will be followed by a breakfast event in Belfast at which we will be encouraging different political figures to ‘adopt’ a particular award and make the case for it. The breakfast event will allow the proposers of particular awards to make an ‘elevator pitch’ for their idea in the hope that it will improve the awards final chances of being adopted.
Readers choosing the final award categories
Once we have enough ideas, we’ll then invite the readers to vote on them – choosing the awards that they want instead of the ones we have defined. We will be seeking a partnership with a media organisation in the promotion of this process and will be hoping to showcase these ideas very widely in order to drive traffic to the voting site.
Once this process is complete, we will be using Slugger O’Toole to seek nominations for each of these awards. Having received the nominations, a small team of Slugger’s regular contributors and friends of the site will choose the winners in advance of our awards evening at the end of November.
We’re confident that this process will involve a great deal more active engagement with a wide audience throughout Northern Ireland (with a good deal of interest beyond!)
The Awards Evening
In 2009, we organised an awards evening in Belfast – hosted by Tim McGarry – followed by a ‘Winners Dinner’. While the Winners Dinner was hugely successful and well-reviewed by all who attended, it wasn’t core to our project and we are neutral about whether we do one again. It will depend entirely upon our ability to attract sponsorship.
The awards evening will be much more dominated by a need to provide a mixture of political discussion and entertainment. For this reason, we will be using a professional events management company to handle the production on the night and we will be focussed on making the entertainment for focussed on the political interaction that flows around the website. We will charge for entry to this event in order to cover our costs.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty