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Global Voices Online Awarded the Grand Prize for Innovations in Journalism from the Knight-Batten Foundation

Cambridge, MA - The Knight-Batten Foundation awarded Global Voices Online, a citizen media project run by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, the Grand Prize for Innovations in Journalism.

The Knight-Batten Awards spotlight the creative use of new information, ideas and technologies to involve citizens in public issues. They are administered by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism at the University of Maryland.

"It's an extraordinary site that allows for both editorial gatekeeping and wide access to news and information from underreported parts of the world,” said the Knight-Batten panel of judges. The judges also credited the project and its corps of bloggers with helping to elevate standards in the blogosphere.

Global Voices Online is a network of global news and conversation from more than 160 countries - with a focus on countries and communities outside the U.S. and Western Europe. Co-founded by two research fellows at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, technologist Ethan Zuckerman and journalist Rebecca MacKinnon, the site is run globally by a team of 16 international, multilingual blogger-editors, and more than 80 volunteer contributors.

"People in many parts of the world are frustrated that the international media ignores or misunderstands them. They are now taking matters into their own hands by blogging, podcasting, or uploading pictures and video to the web," said co-founder Rebecca MacKinnon. "This award vindicates the hard work of many people. It gives us hope that innovative new media structures may promote a more democratic and inclusive global discourse."

Launched in the summer of 2005 with seed funding from the MacArthur Foundation, Global Voices Online now receives core funding from Reuters, making it possible to support a global team of blogger-editors who select, explain, and translate citizen news and views from outside North America and Western Europe.

"As a strategic partner, it gives us great pride to see Global Voices Online recognized for innovation in journalism by such a prestigious organization;" said Dean Wright, Senior Vice President and Managing Editor for Reuters Consumer Media Services.  "This is quite an accomplishment for everyone involved and real evidence of the important role bloggers are playing in the global conversation."

Global Voices Online recently launched a content partnership with WITNESS, a human rights video network, to amplify human rights-related video being uploaded onto the Internet by concerned citizens around the world.

The site's parent organization, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School is a research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development.

"We at the Berkman Center could not be more proud of what the Global Voices community has accomplished in an extraordinarily short period of time," said John Palfrey, Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the Berkman Center's Executive Director.  "As the Knight-Batten Award has recognized, Global Voices is helping to change the way people access, publish, and analyze information about enormous parts of the world that mainstream media has failed to include meaningfully in its coverage."