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Last Updated: Monday, 18 September 2006, 10:24 GMT 11:24 UK
Lib Dems award 'blog of the year'
An Oxford city councillor has scooped the inagural Liberal Democrat blog of the year award.

Stephen Tall's weblog was praised by the judges, which included blogging MP Lynne Featherstone, for its entertaining style and use of video.

Mr Tall and five runners-up have been given media accreditation to cover the party's conference which is being held in Brighton this week.

The party said it hoped to repeat the contest at next year's conference.

Mr Tall said he was delighted to receive the award, although it was a "concern" that his editorial independence might be seen to be compromised by being endorsed by the party.

"It is risky, but then blogging can be risky," he told the BBC News website.

"The danger is that people will think my blog is an official party blog, which it isn't," he added.

"My blog is reasonably moderate. I never make personal criticism and try concentrate on policies."

'Engage'

He said he had entered the contest because he wanted to win the prize of press accreditation.

"It means I can get into press conferences and report from behind the scenes," said Mr Tall, who works as a development director at St Anne's College, Oxford.

His kicked off his coverage with a report from a fringe meeting on "building a liberal consensus on immigration".

Mark Pack, Liberal Democrat internet campaigns chief, said the blogging contest had been a success and would probably be repeated next year.

"The number of Liberal Democrat blogs has trebled in the past 18 months," he said.

"As a result far more people, members and supporters and the wider public, can engage and feel part of the debate going on in the party."

Blogging had been instrumental in raising the profile of Chris Huhne during his bid for the party leadership, said Mr Pack.

And the party's green tax proposals, which are dominating debate at the party's conference, would not have taken shape in the way they have without the input of bloggers, he added.

The party received more than 50 nominations for the award.

The runners up were Andy Meyer, Liberal Review, Liberal England, The Very Fluffy Diary of Millennium Dome, Elephant and Peter Black AM.


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