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Introducing the 2012 RFT Web Awards Finalists

Categories: Media, News
web awards banner.jpg
The good news? The St. Louis online community is alive and well. The bad news? There's so much great content out there, it's extremely difficult to come up with a list of the best of the best. But, hey, this is the Internet. People love them some lists. We'd hate to disappoint. 

So, then, the list (below) of finalists in this year's RFT St. Louis Web Awards appears in no certain order. Winners will be published in next week's paper and announced at our award's ceremony on January 24th at the Old Rock House. Congrats to all, and special thanks to our judges who spent hours and hours combing the web to bring back these incredible finds. Now, without further ado...

Best Neighborhood Blog
Count on Downtown
Nicki's Central West End Guide
NoCo STL
I Love Soulard
Cherokee Street News

Best Music Blog
Encor.es
I Went to a Show
KDHX Blog
3 Minute Record
Music VS Man

Best Personal Blog
Running from the Law
City in a Jar
sKIDmarks
Captain's Quarters

Best Arts Blog
ReviewSTL
Temporary Art Review
St. Louisan
St. Louis Art Map

Best Food Blog
Every Little Thing
Off the Eaten Path
Cupcake Project
Rhubarb and Honey
Iron Stef

Best Sports Blog
Cards Diaspora
Black Sports Online
Joe Sports Fan
Viva El Birdos

Best Architecture Blog
NextSTL
Built St. Louis
Preservation Research
St. Louis Patina
B.E.L.T.

Best Political Blog
Occasional Planet
PoliticMO
St. Louis Activist Hub
Beacon Backroom
St. Louis Tea Party

Best Photostream/Flickr

Nate Burrell: Before the Blink
Elaine Marschik: Fridayn (Flickr)
Jason Stoff: Encor.es
Corey Woodruff:coreywoodruff.com
Todd Owyoung: I Shoot Shows
Mark Scott Abeln: Rome of the West
Darren Snow: Plasticfootball (Flickr)

Best Use of Video
Feast Magazine
Show Me Shows
Joe Sports Fan
St. Louisan

Best Use of Twitter to Promote a Business/Org.

@Schlafly
@MilagroModMex
@MissOhioVintage
@websteru
@RobustWineBar
@YoungFreeSTL (Vantage Credit Union)

Best Use of Twitter to Promote a Personal Brand

Evan Benn @EvanBenn
Angela Ortmann @STLwinegirl
Chris Reimer @rizzotees
Erica Smith @ericasmith
Nick Gilham @NickGilham

Best Use of Facebook to Promote a Business/Org.

Star Clipper
Atomic Dust
FoamMiss Ohio Vintage
Kakao

Best Use of Social Media for a Civic Campaign

Save St. Louis Del Taco
Save Pratzels

Best Local iPhone App
Pocketbooth
Explore St. Louis
Stodgy Gents

Best Club/Concert Website
An Under Cover Weekend
LouFest
Firebird
The Pageant

Best Restaurant Website*
Pi
Cicero's
*Our judges really disliked menus that open as .pdf files. Restaurant owners take note.


About the judges:

shannon howard headshot.jpg
Last year's RFT Best Neighborhood Blog winner for her NOCOstl.com, Shannon Howard is a former writer and location scout for many of the country's top interior design magazines. Howard grew up around Florissant and Spanish Lake, then moved to Los Angeles and Knoxville, Tennessee, before returning home and buying a 100-year-old Victorian parsonage in Ferguson. The author of two books on architecture and interior design, she recently got her real estate license and has created a brand new blog about vintage, historical and one-of-a-kind properties in the St. Louis area. You can find her at STLhomeswithsoul.com.

josh kocurek headshot.jpg
Josh Kocurek lives his life as a one hundred percent digital dude. Geek cred on his sleeve, Josh works as the associate brand manager at the marketing agency, Switch, where he is responsible for finding new, creative ways of building brand relationships online. Josh also serves on the board of Social Media Club St. Louis, a non-profit organization for social media professionals. Josh spends his free time playing video games, honing his tennis skills and belting out '90s pop at karaoke nights. He has a weakness for expensive sushi, exotic teas and 99 cent iPhone games. You can follow Josh on Twitter @joshkocurek.

pamela merritt headshot.jpg
Pamela Merritt (Shark-Fu) blogs at AngryBlackBitch.com. She is a staff writer for RH RealityCheck.org, a contributor to Feministing.com, and a featured contributor to National Public Radio's (NPR) "Tell Me More" with Michel Martin. In 2008 AngryBlackBitch.com was named one of the world's 50 most powerful blogs by The Guardian UK (London).





allison babka headshot.jpg
Allison Babka's specialty is marketing Saint Louis University to potential undergraduates and honing overall university branding. The guardian for SLU's "Be a Billiken" sub-brand, Babka has earned awards for writing and video production in addition to "Most Likely to Use Song Lyrics as Headlines." Outside of SLU, Babka is the Friday night karaoke DJ and event planner at Frailey's Southtown, where she forces people into Wilson Phillips singalongs and coloring contests. Crowned St. Louis' Sexiest Cybergeek for 2011 by "Girl's Guide to the Galaxy," Babka covers concerts and nerd stuff for ReviewSTL.com, Nerdbastards.com and other sites. Give her infomercials, "Star Wars" junk and Reel Big Fish shows, and she'll be your BFF. Follow Babka on Twitter at @AMBabka and @U2Acro.

bill streeter headshot.jpg
A former RFT Web Awards winner for his Lo-Fi Saint Louis, Bill Streeter is also a filmmaker, designer and photographer. Last year he released his first feature film, Brick by Chance and Fortune. You may also know him for video, photography, design work and/or writing he's done for the RFT, Pokey Lafarge and the South City Three, The Royale, Mountain Dew and MTV.




mike tomko headshot.jpg
Michael Tomko is a developer and music enthusiast with a penchant for curating one-of-a-kind experiences both on and off-line. In the past decade, he has found himself programming and promoting a college radio station, managing recording studios in both St. Louis and New Orleans, writing for national publications and blogs, negotiating recording contracts and touring the country as a musician, managing channel-partner programs for some of the world's largest software companies, and executing several of the area's large scale music festivals and events, to name a few. Currently, Michael maintains an [almost] daily blog about his cat, produces the annual St. Louis concert series, An Under Cover Weekend, is launching a new music blog, and is excitedly planning his wedding.

chad garrison headshot.jpg
Chad Garrison ran the Riverfront Times' news blog Daily RFT from 2008 though the fall of 2011, during which time he purposely (and unintentionally) offended great numbers of readers, including the nation's ferret-owning community. Garrison now serves as the RFT's managing editor and can be found wasting time on Twitter @chadgarrison.


Edit note: Some of the social-media gurus who agreed to serve as judges are associated with projects or companies nominated for this year's awards. They recused themselves from judging the categories in question.

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39 comments
Steve E.
Steve E.

I have to agree with Lucinda... not sure it should be called the 2012 St. Louis Web Awards, when the blogging, tweets, Facebooking, voting and judging, all occurred in 2011.  The NFL just named its' MVP for 2011 this evening (February 4, 2012).  Aaron Rogers is the NFL MVP for 2011, not 2012.  Just because the awards were distributed in 2012 doesn't mean that 2012  should be a part of the awards title.  I understand your logic and that naming it the 2012 awards thingy gives it a sense of newness and that fresh car smell, but you might want to reconsider renaming the contest.If the Susan Komen Foundation can accept that they may have made a mistake, so can the RFT.  If Mitt Romney can admit that he doesn't care about poor people, then you guys can admit that you misnamed the awards.  If Rush Limbaugh can be a draft dodging drug addict and still be the idol of conservatives everywhere, you guys can be the young and smug know-it-alls who had to take your "We were wrong," medicine.  You can announce your mistake through your extensive blogging network and other online resources.  Doing that will bring much more publicity and relevance to your contest.  Show some courage, show some humility and show some common sense.  Change is good.  Do it for your country!  May God Bless you and may God Bless America!

Youaskedforit
Youaskedforit

pieces of jade won best sex blog? She hates being called a freak..lol well if the shoe fits. You reap what you sew, just ask the beautiful kind. She is still begging money and whoring herself for it. They both make me laugh, talking dirty and showing your stuff to the world doesn't make you a sex blogger, Far from it.

WebProducer
WebProducer

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Chris Reimer
Chris Reimer

I once heard some Hollywood person say, "I'm just glad to have been nominated." Yeah, what that person said.

Thank you RFT for the consideration.

Jeremy Ivy
Jeremy Ivy

"It's a kinda small town, so you vote for your friends.Don't ruffle any feathers and hope you'll get in"

If this worked, you'll re-read this in the voice of Craig Finn...

bradgutting
bradgutting

Yes, St. Louis is small, and yes the community here can be oddly insular and clique-ish. Big whoop. That doesn't change the reality that most of these nominees are pretty great and worthy of getting some attention. And if you're deriving any revenue from online activities, your success as a business will rely on far more than some recognition here, so don't be devastated if you're not nominated. If someone wants to get a big head because they're on this list, that's fine, but that doesn't seem to be a problem.

And also, it'd be nicer if people posting relevant criticism of this process/show would do so with their full names. It's so much easier to say stuff when protected by digital anonymity. Doesn't help anything.

Bryan Sutter
Bryan Sutter

Interesting that the guy (Darren Snow) who made an ad for Atomic Cowboy where he removed the watermark off of one of my photos and credited it to someone else is nominated, but I'm not.

Terrance
Terrance

was stl tea party just included as a bone to make this 'bipartisan' and not just yawn a lefty hipster pity party? it's an aggregator. no one paid attention to content or source except to check the box where necessary

Versa Dave
Versa Dave

Is the award ceremony open to the public or do you have to be invited? If public, is there an RSVP or event registration available?

Brygp
Brygp

Spoiler Alert:  Since Cicero's site has broken image links on the front page, Pi has to win, right?

blackcatsearching
blackcatsearching

 “Nice Post. It’s really a very good article. I noticed all your important points. Thanks" 

Mike Batchelor
Mike Batchelor

Thanks so much to the RFT for nominating "Save St. Louis Del Taco"!  Over 12,000 people came together on Facebook and united as one collective voice that could not be ignored by developers or politicians, and together we succeeded to do what most thought was impossible - the "flying saucer" building at 212 S. Grand has been spared and will hopefully stand many, many more years after refurbished for future generations to enjoy.

Scott Miller
Scott Miller

I am appalled that you would consider ReviewSTL as one of the best arts blog -- this is a site that adamantly refuses to preview, report on, or review ANY local theatre, despite St. Louis' DOZENS of theatre companies producing interesting, exciting work, every week of the year. I have begged them to cover local theatre and they refuse -- if it's not coming to the Fox, they think it's not worth covering. Seems to me a website that has that much disdain for St. Louisans shouldn't be on a list like this.

Chad Garrison
Chad Garrison

DoI detect a sore loser, Your Friends Stupid Blog Sucks? Here's thedeal: St. Louis is a pretty small town and even smaller online.People are going to know each other. That said, we did our best toget the most qualified candidates out there to judge this year'sawards. We also had one judge drop out halfway through the processbecause of the huge time commitment involved in reviewing nearly1,000 blogs and social media nominations submitted by our readers.I'm extremely proud of our judges and can't thank them enough for thehours and hours of time they put into this year's web awards. Ifyou would like to volunteer to judge next year, please contact me atchad.garrison at riverfronttimes.com. Otherwise, quit your whining.

billstreeter
billstreeter

I get it, but speaking for myself I know a LOT of people in town (which isn't a big town to begin with) so it would be pretty impossible for me to only judge people I don't know. We based our nominations largely on what was submitted through the RFT online nomination form. So if you know of someone we overlooked it's likely they weren't nominated in the call for entries so keep that in mind for next year. 

Lucinda
Lucinda

Best of 2012? We're only 17 days into the new year... Shouldn't it be best of 2011?

Steve
Steve

Congrats and all but more than half the nominees are good friends or associated with the Judges.

Your Friends Stupid Blog Sucks
Your Friends Stupid Blog Sucks

I hope "associated" also includes being friends. Appalachia has less inbreeding that the St. Louis social media "scene."

Chad Garrison
Chad Garrison

Party is by invite only. If you're a finalist, you should have received an invite via email or social media.

Blake Fehl
Blake Fehl

Scott, seriously? We have told you numerous time, we cover what we can. We have asked for local theater reviewers numerous times. Even the ones you've sent us have backed out before they write a single review.

Can you drop this stupid vendetta against us? I've told you many times before in private emails that we'd really love to have more local theater reviews. However, we do this for fun in our spare time. I've been nothing but nice to you, and you keep trying to trash us everywhere you go. I really don't get it. Once again, the offer stands that if you have anyone who wants to write for us, we'd be more than willing to let them submit their stuff. However, every other time so far has produced nothing.

Also, we refuse? I don't refuse, but as a member of the St. Louis Film Critics I have to review a certain number of films every year, and that takes up the majority of my free time that I can devote to reviewing. We do not despise local theater, in fact I support it fervently. I try to go to the Rep as much as possible (in fact I went in saw A Sunday in the Park With George recently, but have not been able to find time to review it).

Be a kind person Scott, and stop trying to make us seem like jerks. We aren't trying to ignore you.

Michael Tomko
Michael Tomko

Hey Scott. Thank you for providing us with your feedback. To be honest, judging this competition is incredibly hard. Whether it is due to a lack of nominations, ignorance on our part of the major players in a given category or grey area about what exactly should be included in certain categories, some categories from each year have been extremely challenging. The "Arts Blog" category is certainly no exception. Should it contain blogs of actual artists? Or should it be blogs that critique art? Or, maybe it should be blogs who promote art and artistic events? What exactly is "art"? Where does the line fall between fine art, cinema, theater, music, etc.? Does the site have to comment only on work created/performed in St. Louis? And so on...

All of that said, while I wholeheartedly stand by our finalists as listed above, I am sure that there are great sites that we have missed. If this is an area that you can bring value to in the future, please make sure that you, and that you encourage others to, nominate your favorites for each category. The public nominations are primarily the pool that we drew from and each year the quality and quantity of the nominations have grown. We need more people like you to assist us in rounding up the best of the best in St. Louis.

billstreeter
billstreeter

Not the "Best of 2012" the 2012 St. Louis Web Awards. 2012 is the year they're being awarded.

Chris
Chris

How do you know who my friends are?

Chad Garrison
Chad Garrison

Do I detect a sore loser, Your Friends Stupid Blog Sucks? Here's the deal: St. Louis is a pretty small town and even smaller online. People are going to know each other. That said, we did our best to get the most qualified candidates out there to judge this year's awards. We also had one judge drop out halfway through the process because of the huge time commitment involved in reviewing nearly 1,000 blogs and social media nominations submitted by our readers. I'm extremely proud of our judges and can't thank them enough for the hours and hours of time they put into this year's web awards. If you would like to volunteer to judge next year, please contact me at chad.garrison at riverfronttimes.com. Otherwise, quit your whining.

Chad Garrison
Chad Garrison

Do I detect a sore loser, Your Friends Stupid Blog Sucks? Here's the deal: St. Louis is a pretty small town and even smaller online. People are going to know each other. That said, we did our best to get the most qualified candidates out there to judge this year's awards. We also had one judge drop out halfway through the process because of the huge time commitment involved in reviewing nearly 1,000 blogs and social media nominations submitted by our readers. I'm extremely proud of our judges and can't thank them enough for the hours and hours of time they put into this year's web awards. If you would like to volunteer to judge next year, please contact me at chad.garrison at riverfronttimes.com. Otherwise, quit your whining.

billstreeter
billstreeter

I get it, but speaking for myself I know a LOT of people in town (which isn't a big town to begin with) so it would be pretty impossible for me to only judge people I don't know. We based our nominations largely on what was submitted through the RFT online nomination form. So if you know of someone we overlooked it's likely they weren't nominated in the call for entries so keep that in mind for next year.

Chad Garrison
Chad Garrison

Do I detect a sore loser, Your Friends Stupid Blog Sucks? Here's the deal: St. Louis is a pretty small town and even smaller online. People are going to know each other. That said, we did our best to get the most qualified candidates out there to judge this year's awards. I'm extremely proud of our judges and can't thank them enough for the hours and hours of time they put into this year's web awards. It's not easy reviewing nearly 1,000 blogs and social media nominations submitted by more than 400 readers. So difficult is the task, we actually had one judge resign halfway through the process because of the time commitment. That said, if you would like to volunteer to judge next year, please contact me at chad.garrison at riverfronttimes.com. Otherwise, quit your whining. 

Chad Garrison
Chad Garrison

DoI detect a sore loser, Your Friends Stupid Blog Sucks? Here's thedeal: St. Louis is a pretty small town and even smaller online.People are going to know each other. That said, we did our best toget the most qualified candidates out there to judge this year'sawards. I'm extremely proud of our judges and can't thank them enough for thehours and hours of time they put into this year's web awards. It's not easy reviewing nearly 1,000 blogs and social media nominations submitted by more than 400 readers. So difficult is the task, we actually had one judge resign halfway through the process this year because of the time commitment. That said, ifyou would like to volunteer to judge next year, please contact me atchad.garrison at riverfronttimes.com. Otherwise, quit your whining. 

Chad Garrison
Chad Garrison

DoI detect a sore loser, Your Friends Stupid Blog Sucks? Here's thedeal: St. Louis is a pretty small town and even smaller online.People are going to know each other. That said, we did our best toget the most qualified candidates out there to judge this year'sawards. We also had one judge drop out halfway through the processbecause of the huge time commitment involved in reviewing nearly1,000 blogs and social media nominations submitted by our readers.I'm extremely proud of our judges and can't thank them enough for thehours and hours of time they put into this year's web awards. Ifyou would like to volunteer to judge next year, please contact me atchad.garrison at riverfronttimes.com. Otherwise, quit your whining.

Chad Garrison
Chad Garrison

DoI detect a sore loser, Your Friends Stupid Blog Sucks? Here's thedeal: St. Louis is a pretty small town and even smaller online.People are going to know each other. That said, we did our best toget the most qualified candidates out there to judge this year'sawards. We also had one judge drop out halfway through because of the huge time commitment involved in reviewing nearly1,000 blogs and social media nominations submitted by hundreds of readers.I'm extremely proud of our judges and can't thank them enough for thehours and hours of time they put into this year's web awards. Ifyou would like to volunteer to judge next year, please contact me atchad.garrison at riverfronttimes.com. Otherwise, quit your whining. 

Chad Garrison
Chad Garrison

DoI detect a sore loser, Your Friends Stupid Blog Sucks? Here's thedeal: St. Louis is a pretty small town and even smaller online.People are going to know each other. That said, we did our best toget the most qualified candidates out there to judge this year'sawards. We also had one judge drop out halfway through the processbecause of the huge time commitment involved in reviewing nearly1,000 blogs and social media nominations submitted by our readers.I'm extremely proud of our judges and can't thank them enough for thehours and hours of time they put into this year's web awards. Ifyou would like to volunteer to judge next year, please contact me atchad.garrison at riverfronttimes.com. Otherwise, quit your whining. 

Hannahjmayer
Hannahjmayer

Can finalists bring a guest or two for moral support?

Chad Garrison
Chad Garrison

I think the invite says guests can bring a +1. If it does not, it should. 

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