A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

SDX Awards: Online, non-deadline reporting, CNET News.com

By Quill

To explain the technology and benefit behind high-speed Internet access, CNET News.com presented “Digital Agenda.” Once there, visitors learned what a national broadband system could mean for their everyday lives – higher productivity, distance learning, improved health care and on-demand entertainment. News.com also reported on what was retarding the United States’ progress in creating one.

High-speed Internet access is rapidly evolving from a Web-surfing luxury into an every day necessity. But the development of broadband technology remains stunted by market uncertainty and mind-numbing bureaucracy.

News.com’s research took it to Asia, where in some areas Internet connections are more than 50 times faster and cheaper than those used in America.

“Our reporting from South Korea showed how much can be accomplished when a national government stays focused with minimal partisan bickering,” said executive editor Mike Yamamoto.

The series encouraged readers to use more than just News.com to learn about the benefits of broadband connection. News.com offered a full page of links to various resources and stories from rival publications. The Web site also hosted a News.com-Harris Interactive Poll and a detailed Web log.

“As one of the few projects done in this ground-breaking format – going beyond traditional reporting to include studied recommendations to solve problems – this series helped us create a new type of journalism for News.com,” said Yamamoto.

Judges said that News.com’s coverage made news out of an overshadowed issue.

“The reporting team cites example after example of the potential benefits of broadband investment and the factors that have held it back,” said the judges. “ … This was never going to be a hot campaign topic, but perhaps it should have been.”