2010 Game Changer Awards

The Community Choice poll has closed

And the winner is …: Tom Stites. Congratulations Tom.

Community Choice Finalists

Congratulations to these Community Choice finalists for the 2010 We Media Game Changer Awards. They were selected from nominations submitted by members of the global We Media community.

The winner selected by our public online poll will present a keynote talk at the We Media Miami conference, March 9-11, 2010. All of the Community Choice finalists will be honored there, along with award winners selected by the We Media team. If you’d like to attend the conference, click here for details and to register.

The Finalists

Patricia Aufderheide/
Center for Social Media

Patricia Aufderheide and the American University Center for Social Media have changed the game for media makers, producing Codes of Best Practices in Fair Use for Documentary Filmmakers, Media Literacy Educators, and Online Video creators. Through these codes media makers and educators are significantly more aware of copyright law and their rights. Pat continues to explore areas where copyright confusion restrains creative possibilities.

Wendy Brawer

During the past 15 years Wendy founded and has led the evolution of the nonprofit Green Map System, fostered the development of its acclaimed universal iconography and exploited the possibilities of the internet to build an inclusive methodology. She has also inspired and mentored a locally-led global network of Green Mapmakers which now spans five continents, 55 countries and over 600 place-based projects. Her philosophy in creating and sharing adaptable tools to map nature, culture and sustainable living resources allows each participant to shape the project to best serve local conditions while connecting it to a global movement for awareness, accountability and stewardship for our planet in the face of climate change.

Chris Callahan/Arizona State University

Led by Callahan, the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State has changed the game for journalism education. Backed by numerous foundations, since 2005 the university has invested in a dream team of traditional and digital news experts and a curriculum focused on entrepreneurship to build a next-generation journalism school. Beyond its state-of-the-art facilities and the personnel, Dean Callahan has put together a digital curriculum that is preparing students to step immediately into key positions in digital media. The Knight Center for Entrepreneurship prepares students to create their own products, innovations and jobs. The New Media Innovation Lab creates widgets, apps and mobile and web products for the strapped news industry.

Common Language Project

Partnered with the University of Washington, CLP reporters are inspiring journalism students to get out of the classroom and into the field, and training them to produce quality in-depth multimedia journalism and explore online storytelling. CLP pioneered a hybrid funding model for investigative and international reporting, raising funds from foundations and individuals who care about the state of news, and using those resources to produce the vital public service journalism that struggling mainstream news outlets can no longer afford. Their stories have been carried in a wide range of outlets, from the Seattle Times and San Francisco Chronicle, to NPR and PBS . This may provide a replicable model for institutional partnerships between universities and journalists to support the kind of journalism that everyone agrees is vital to democracy, but that is currently at a loss for financial support.

Electric Literature

Electric Literature pioneered the new concept of microserialization by tweeting a major new work by acclaimed author Rick Moody, written expressly for Twitter. EL, the first literary magazine to publish to the iPhone, is the work of a collection of 30 or so unpaid volunteers trying to use new media and innovative distribution to keep literature vital in the digital age. EL uses on-demand printing and distribution on virtually all digital platforms to reduce up-front costs, make literature available to more people and create a perpetual digital archive. EL has published award-winning authors such as Michael Cunningham (The Hours), Jim Shepard, Lydia Davis and Colson Whitehead.

ELF Project

The biggest environment threat facing our society is ignorance and inaction. ELF aims to produce films and stories with environmental messages.

Jean-Yves Gatete


Jean-Yves Gatete is involved in the promotion of information and communication technology (ICT) activities for development, and education for young people for peace, diplomacy and making changes in East Africa’s Great Lakes region. He has worked as the general secretary of Collectif National pour le Développement Humanitaire (CNDH) since 2006. In 2002, while in high school, he launched the Burundian Youth for Peacebuilding and Young Refugees Inegreation (BYPRI). He has also advised the secretariat of the UN’s Internet Governance Forum, and he continues working with poor people and youth in Burundi and across Africa.

Global Voices

Global Voices aggregates and curates blogs from around the world, providing a window on politics, culture and daily life everywhere. A community of more than 200 bloggers around the world provide translations and reports from blogs and citizen media everywhere, with emphasis on voices that are not ordinarily heard in international mainstream media.

Herdict Web

Herdict Web has opened the world’s eyes to Internet filtering. Herdict’s community crowdsources the task of testing and monitoring Internet censorship, and elaborates on the “”how”” and “”why”” of Internet filtering. Prior to the launch of Herdict, researchers spent great amounts of time developing test lists and employing testers in different countries to gain insight into the filtering trends of other countries. Herdict now provides a real-time picture of Internet filtering. The result is accurate information from every corner of the globe.


Infegy’s Social Radar platform collects millions of messages every day from blogs, social networks and news sites to give businesses the ability to listen and understand what people are saying about their brands and products. This effectively gives the people a way to communicate to big organizations by just sharing their thoughts and opinions on the web.

Kiba Kiba Books

Kiba Kiba Books encourages arts participation and promotes early exposure to the arts by providing rewarding illustration workshops to children ages 4 through 12. By publishing the children’s original art in high quality books and ‘zines in multiple languages and countries, Kiba Kiba Books aims to revitalize and broaden authentic arts involvement.

Lise LePage/iBrattleboro

Lise co-founded hyperlocal citizen journalism site iBrattleboro in 2003. She provides a powerful example of a citizen using media to improve a community – by herself and with others. When newspaper folk say, “But who will cover the town meeting if newspapers are gone?” one obvious answer in Brattleboro is: people like Lise LePage.

Mission Loc@l

Mission Loc@l launched in October 2008 to test a new model for community collaboration, student action and philanthropic support for hyperlocal journalism – and to fill a gap left by shrinking mainstream media. Funded by the Ford Foundation and working with the UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, the bi-lingual site covers San Francisco’s Mission District, a community of 80,000 that is nearly half Latino and immigrant, but with a big population of hipster techies.


NewsTrust’s network of reviewers helps people find quality news. It enables citizens to become more discriminating news consumers – and teaches the public how to detect accuracy, fairness, sourcing and other core journalistic principles.


Newsy is revolutionizing the way people consume news. A news analyzer, not an aggregator, Newsy highlights the key differences in reporting, offering context with convenience on multiple platforms – broadcast, mobile and web.


As local and hyperlocal news sites continue to proliferate, PaperG has introduced two innovative ad platforms that give online publishers the tools enabling small businesses to create and place rich, display advertising – many for the first time.

Project Haystack

Designed to foil internet censors, even in areas with heavy internet filtering such as Iran and China, the creators of this software say they use a novel approach to obfuscating traffic that is difficult to detect or block, while allowing users to use normal web browsers and network applications.

Sacramento Press

A made-from-scratch platform for hyperlocal news and advertising uses storylines, rather than articles or posts, to organize current and archived information. The site advances and integrates interface design, Web publishing, data analytics, digital media and the social Web to deliver a unique, warm and engaging hyper-local user experience.


SeeClickFix allows anyone to report and track the status of community needs – lke potholes that need filling. The service has paved the way for more open government and more inclusive government around the world while creating interesting hyper-local news content that provides solid revenue opportunities for media partners who host the tool in their site.

Tom Stites

A journalist and entrepreneur with a passion for democracy, Tom Stites is changing the game through his vision as president of the Banyan Project. With Relational Journalism that’s firmly grounded in the needs of its reader/users, Banyan aims to strengthen democracy through the Web using techniques that serve, engage and give voice to the civic energy of the less-than-affluent everyday citizens who are at best ill-served by mainstream journalism.


Blending Twitter and crowdsourced insight with art, craft and activism, the London organizers of ThisPlace aimed to create empathy among delegates at the 2009 Copenhagen climate change conference. They asked one simple question and collected responses through Twitter: What’s worth saving in #thisplace? Responses from around the world were fashioned into a pocket-sized book with illustrations from 18 London-based artists. Then the organizers delivered 5,000 books to Copenhagen in two green taxis, borrowed from Green Tomato Cars. “The idea was to get the books into the hands of delegates at COP15, to remind them of the personal, local and immediate context of climate change.”


It’s an entirely new, comprehensive business model for news content online that embraces content, audience, advertising, revenue and technology. And it’s already making money and growing at a rate of 30 percent per week.


Ahead of its times when founded in 1988 by musician Peter Gabriel, Witness uses video to open the eyes of the world to human rights violations. Witness empowers people to transform personal stories of abuse into powerful tools for justice, promoting public engagement and policy change.


Backed by more than 1,000 community newspapers, zip2save.com aggregates ad circulars, deals, coupons, travel specials and more and drills down to a hyper-local level. It’s a game-changer because the community newspaper industry came together to produce a product that will benefit consumers without regard to politics or competitive issues that normally are associated with collaboration in the newspaper industry. All media partners (radio, TV, metro dailies, etc.) are invited to join the effort and enjoy the same revenue share benefits as the owners. The newspaper partners were also able to put aside their fears about developing a site that houses electronic preprints (knowing that preprints in the newspaper account for a substantial amount of revenue).

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