MSNBC Captures Top Online Award

NEW YORK, Dec. 7, 2000 — At the first national conference of the Online New Association (ONA) held last week at Columbia University, journalists ranked MSNBC as the Web’s top collaborate news site. Judges in the contest credited MSNBC for creating
“a highly successful blend of online and interactive elements, making innovative use of most every interactive application, such as charts, maps, surveys and streaming video.”
They also cited the site’s blend of original journalism, video resources, and content from its partners and affiliates.

Merrill Brown (left), editor-in-chief, and John Nicol, general manager of MSNBC, credit the contributions of their staff with helping to land a top award from the Online News Association (ONA) and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Photo by Anthony P. Bolante

“To be recognized in this brand new medium as people with this level of achievement is really important to us,”
said Merrill Brown, editor in chief of MSNBC.

MSNBC was among 200 online publications competing for honors. The contest drew more than 600 entries, which were screened by approximately 100 journalists. Other finalists for the award included The Atlantic Monthly ‘s Web site, BusinessWeek Online, the Web site of Britain’s Financial Times and the online version of The Wall Street Journal .

According to Brown and MSNBC General Manager John Nicol, the award reflects MSNBC’s ability to capitalize on the strengths of the joint venture’s partners: Microsoft, with its business and technological acumen, and NBC News, with its journalistic expertise and history of credibility.

“Without our effective integration into the MSN network of sites, without our capabilities through Windows Media Technologies, without the tool-development and server expertise we gain from Microsoft, we should surely not be as successful as we are today,”
Brown said.

MSNBC offers the best personalization available, Brown said, and its news alerts keep users posted on developments about the topics most important to them.
“The site’s use of streaming video technology and its original Webcasts are defining the medium,”
he said.
“We shoot these Webcasts not with the television set in mind, but with the PC in mind. Webcast anchors routinely refer to the Internet links around their image on the screen to help tell the story.”

MSNBC has successfully partnered with top content providers while also breaking more exclusive stories than anyone else on the Web, Brown said. In addition, the site integrates tightly with NBC television and cable news programming. Viewers watching Dateline , NBC Nightly News , Meet the Press , and The Today Show are directed to for more detail on stories.

For Brown, the work of building MSNBC has helped shape an infant medium, taking it from text and photos to original multimedia content created exclusively for an online experience.

“We’ve seen online news come a long way in four years, and that’s something we’re very proud of,”
he said.

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