2009 We Media Game Changers winners announced

Recipients include digital storytellers, social networking activists, mobile media pioneers and a foundation focused on journalism.

RESTON, VA  – Online media star ZeFrank, mobile texting service Twitter, Obama campaign mastermind David Plouffe, Japanese digital designer Yugo Nakamura, Kenyan mobile alert service Ushahidi, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation are among the inaugural winners of the We Media Game Changers Awards to be presented at the We Media Miami conference in February.

Winners also include Innocentive’s crowd-sourcing model, Humana’s Freewheelin’ site and social network SocialVibe.

The awards recognize people, projects, ideas and organizations leading change and inspiring a better world through media. The winners will lead workshops and discussions on their breakthrough approaches at the annual We Media Conference at the University of Miami Feb. 24-26, 2009. The conference will also include case studies of the winners as well as one-on-one meetings with winners and judges. Registration is at www.wemedia.com/miami.

An international panel of pioneers from media, technology, business, social activism and blogging selected the winners from more than 250 nominations. The public selected SocialVibe in online voting.

The awards highlight achievements through transformational communications methods, novel business models, significant social impact, innovative design and powerful visions of media for the connected culture. More about the awards at: www.wemedia.com/awards.

Judges cited the winners for the following contributions:

Twitter for changing the real-time communication game. A cultural phenomena that’s almost like ESP; nothing comes close to this digital mind-meld for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?
Innocentive for taking Web 2.0 to the marketplace. A prototype for employing the wisdom of crowds beyond mere conversation, the crowd-sourcing model does for business what Twitter does for the culture.
— The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for incubating innovation in news media. Shifting its focus and funding to the changing needs of communities, Knight seeds the rethinking of news media and media policy in a connected society that is expressing democracy in new ways.
Ushahidi for redefining the ability of people to quickly communicate vital information for action. Unlike many citizen journalism initiatives, it dispenses entirely with the many-to-one model of information dissemination and instead makes it possible for many people to communicate relevant information to many people simultaneously. Created by young people during a crisis, it builds on low-cost, high-penetration existing technologies that foster participatory action into the future
Freewheelin’ for demonstrating that the Internet is not just something on your screen. Humana’s program challenges the fundamental assumption that health insurance is only for after-the-fact-care, and redefines it as a partnership in preventative care and holistic health. Its suite of digital tie-ins helps translate the ambiguous ‘whole health’ benefits of biking into tangible results that spur people to long-term commitment.
ZeFrank. Essential contemporary culture, Z proves that new a new type and scale of engagement and entertainment is possible. He creates the new rules with wisdom, personality and playfulness.
Yugo Nakamura, the designer of Design and the Elastic Mind, for exploring non-traditional forms of storytelling through interactive systems in digital and networked environments.
David Plouffe. The mastermind behind Barack Obama’s campaign for president, Plouffe mobilized millions with a methodical media campaign that utilized the Internet, cell phones and personal communication devices as never before.
SocialVibe for unleashing the power of distributed advertising on personal media. A runaway winner in public voting, SocialVibe taps into the networks of the young and connected, creating a place where members get sponsored and give back. Social media meets syndication and social good.

The awards are organized and administered by iFOCOS, the media think tank and futures lab that organizes the We Media conferences and global membership community.

The We Media conference also features a media-venture startup gallery and an early stage media-venture startup competition with up to $50,000 in seed capital awarded to winners.

About We Media
The We Media conferences, community and awards are organized by iFOCOS, a media think tank and futures lab founded in 2006 by media visionairies Andrew Nachison and Dale Peskin. They help anyone create, operate and sustain ventures in a media-centric culture powered by everyone. We Media programs function as a marketplace of ideas and actions for business and social innovators. They connect individuals and organizations from across industries who believe the power of media, communication and human ingenuity should be applied to innovate in business and to make the world better through media. More about We Media at: www.wemedia.com.

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