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Saturday, September 25, 1999 Published at 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK


News Online carries off Prix

Bob Eggington receives the award from RAI president Roberto Zaccaria

By Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall

BBC News Online has won its first international award, taking a prestigious Prix Italia for best Website.

The site, which was the first to win a Bafta (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award, pulled off the Italian job at a ceremony in Siena on Friday.

The award was for quality content on a web site.

The Prix Italia was instituted in 1948 and is considered one of the most important Radio and Television awards in the world. A special Website prize was introduced for the first time this year to celebrate the millennium and the Internet revolution.

The site was chosen from an initial list of more than 100, which went through several selection stages, including examination by a team of assessors at universities in Japan, the USA and Britain.

One of the judges at the final stage, the veteran American media commentator Les Brown, announced the decision at a ceremony in the Italian city of Siena.

He said: "The site contains an extraordinary amount of information on a global scale, from breaking news to special reports. It is notable also for its uniformity of style, clarity of language and excellent navigability, with the time of latest update indicated for every story.

"Technically, the graphic interface is varied and functional, and even in the variety of graphics the interactive icons are clear.

Beyond the comprehensive, reliable reporting of current news, the site offers a rich archive of stories that have passed into recent history. This archiving is supported in great measure by an excellent search engine, which is fast, accurate and easy to use."

Accepting the award, Bob Eggington, Project Director of News Online, said: "It is astute of the Prix Italia to recognise the growing importance of the Internet. BBC News stands for quality of content above all, so it is especially pleasing to have won this inaugural prize."

Other awards went to CNN for usability, and SVT of Sweden for technical innovation.

The judges decided to give a special award to CBC4Kids, a Canadian site, for innovation and interactivity.

Online's honours list

BBC News Online, launched in November 1997, is now recording more than 50m page views a month and is the biggest content site in Europe. It has won an impressive series of awards:

  • Online Journalism Awards, July 1999 - News Online won three of the eight categories in the first UK Net journalism awards.

  • 1999 Radio Academy British Telecom award for technical innovation - Talking Point won this for its multimedia phone-in.

  • 1999 British Press Awards - winner as Best Internet News Service.

  • 1998 Interactive Baftas - Best News site.

  • 1998 Financial Times International Business Website of the Year - News Online's Business Section won the Best Public Sector site.

  • 1998 Site of the Year - as chosen by Internet magazine.

  • 1998 British Interactive Multimedia Association (BIMA) awards - Best Consumer Information Service category

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