On Tuesday, the winners of the 2013 Webby Awards were announced and Truthdig, a news website founded by USC Annenberg professor Robert Scheer and alumna Zuade Kaufman, took home its 5th Webby Award for best political website.
Nominated against The Nation magazine, Politico, FactCheck.org and 92Y Campaign for the American Conversation, Scheer, who is the editor-in-chief of the site, said he was “flattered by the competition.”
Truthdig won its first Webby Award in 2007 for best political blog and has been nominated in at least one category every year since.
“We’re making a big splash. We do it without sensationalism, without cheapening it,” said Scheer. “We put out an ‘eat your vegetables’ product; the stuff we think should be covered.”
The site was also nominated for the best political blog award, which went to The New York Times for the second year for Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog. Praising Silver’s work, Scheer said “that was the clear choice” in that category.
Truthdig won the Webby for best political blog in 2007, 2010 and 2011.
Scheer also gave credit to USC Annenberg for its support of the site. Many of Truthdig’s editors, writers and contributors are affiliated with the school.
“If I look down the list of people who have made Truthdig, it’s very much a (USC) phenomenon," Scheer said. “Annenberg was very much the incubator of Truthdig. I think the school should be proud of winning all these awards and having a good impact.”
The success of Truthdig as a news source can also be attributed to the Internet, which is the “most defining, game-changing thing we have” in the journalism field today, Scheer said.
“If you’ve got something to say and you do a good job saying it, then boom! You’ve got the attention of a worldwide audience,” he said. “That, in my mind, is the lesson of the success of Truthdig. We are a group of very principled journalists, adhering to old-fashioned standards of accuracy. We have passion and when we’ve got something to say we get a huge audience.”
The Webby Award, to Scheer, shows that there is no better time than now to be working in online journalism. Because of the opportunities and recognition available online, Scheer is hopeful for the future of journalism.
“Journalism has never been more exciting,” Scheer said. “If I was a young journalist, I would think this is the best of times.”
See the other winners of the Webby Awards here.