2013 RFT Web Awards Winners

Categories: Media

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Thousands of nominations boiled down to 29 websites, blogs and social media accounts worthy of your mom's refrigerator door.
It's been said that employees engaging in social media while at work cost the U.S. economy $650 billion a year in lost productivity. That's $4,452 per company, and it doesn't even factor in the economic losses from plain, old Web surfing. Throw that into the mix, and good lordy: No wonder the economy has been sputtering along since, oh, the dawn of Facebook and Reddit.

But what the economists can't factor into their balance sheet is the intrinsic value of the Web. Sure, it's a great place to goof off on the company dime. But it's also the first place we turn to these days to interact with each other and stay informed.

Over the past month, Riverfront Times has had the pleasure of spending hundreds of hours dawdling in the St. Louis online community for this year's RFT Web Awards. And we've got to say, it hardly felt like a waste of time. We uncovered dozens of smart and well-researched blogs, a vibrant and engaged social-media network and too many compelling online personas to list in these pages.

Here, in no certain order, are some of the finds that our judges deemed to be worth your time (or your employer's) to check out.

See Also:
- Slideshow: RFT Web Awards Party
- Meet Your 2013 RFT Web Awards Judges
- 2013 RFT Web Awards Finalists
- 2012 RFT Web Awards Winners and Finalists
- 2011 RFT Web Awards Winners and Finalists


BLOGS

Best Neighborhood Blog
Cherokee Street News

The judges say: Inspired by a neighborhood insert that used to accompany the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cherokee Street News serves as a community forum and events page for one of the city's most eclectic strips of pavement. Engaging design and frequent updates keep us coming back.

Finalists:
iLoveSoulard
Old North St. Louis Restoration Group
Park Central Development - 17th Ward

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Best Arts Blog
Hours of Idleness

The judges say: It's not a traditional arts blog in that it doesn't cover exhibits or show openings. Instead, Hours of Idleness focuses on the whimsies of its author, Jason Gray, a photographer and artist whose work showcases the people and places of St. Louis. As its name suggests, you can get lost in this blog for hours. But idleness? A better descriptor for the blog's content is "moving."

Finalists:
2 Bulidings, 1 Blog
Riverfront Times arts section
Temporary Art Review

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Best Music Blog
Encor.es

The judges say: A previous RFT Web Awards winner for "Best Photostream/Flickr," Jason Stoff's Encor.es has evolved over the past twelve months to more than just a photo blog of concert pics. Tossed into the mix these days are show reviews, backstage etiquette tips, interviews with other local music photo dorks and plenty of music recommendations. Meanwhile, the blog's "photo-nerdery" section keeps the camera geeks happy.

Finalists:
I Went to a Show
KDHX
PlaybackSTL
RFT Music
Speakers in Code

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Best Personal Blog
Distilled History

The judges say: Distilled History combines two of the best things about St. Louis -- its rich history and its tasty booze -- in one fascinating and well-researched blog. Ever wondered where to get the best Manhattan in town? Distilled History will tell you. Interested in learning more about T.S. Eliot's time here? Distilled History has the facts and the historic photos to fill you in, as well as an Eliot-themed drink recommendation. If knowledge is your poison, you could easily get drunk on this site.

Finalists:
City in a Jar
East Tator
sKIDmarks

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Best Entertainment/Gossip Blog
Punching Kitty

The judges say: Nothing is sacred at Punching Kitty. Author Mike Flynn, a 2011 RFT Web Awards winner, calls the site The Daily Show, but for St. Louis. Flynn's witty and sarcastic view on St. Louis crime, politics and general happenings kept us laughing, post after post. Only someone with genuine St. Louis pride could know how to make fun of his city so well.

Finalists:
Berger's Beat
Tube Talk with Gail Pennington

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Best Activism/Opinion Blog
Vanishing STL

The judges say: Vanishing STL is like those Sarah McLachlan commercials for abused pets, only for St. Louis architecture. Paul Hohmann's detailed research and hauntingly beautiful photographs capture a city in flux. As St. Louis embraces change and novelty, what treasures are we destroying in the name of innovation?

Finalists:
nextSTL
Preservation Research Office: Ecology of Absence
St. Louis Neighborhood Development Blog
UrbanReviewSTL

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Best Sports Blog
Viva El Birdos

The judges say: Viva El Birdos serves as the ultimate fan-boy site for those of us obsessed with the St. Louis Cardinals. Want to talk VORP, DIPS and the alphabet soup of other sabermetrics? This is the site for you. And while it's true that the site can be a bit wonky at times, it also knows how to have fun. (See the hilarious "Legopiece Theater" archive for proof of that.) More than anything though, El Birdos serves as the most engaging Redbird forum in town with dozens and dozens of comments per post. Disclaimer: Viva El Birdos writers Dan Moore and Aaron Schafer freelance for Riverfront Times.

Finalists:
insideSTL
JoeSportsFan

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Best Political Blog
Occasional Planet

The judges say: Feeling depressed from all the negativity in the news? Occasional Planet is the antidote to the doom-and-gloom political stories that are so prevalent these days. With the guiding notion that "good things ARE happening," Occasional Planet seeks to bring readers positive stories from the St. Louis area and beyond, and its easily navigable site means that finding good news is no longer a chore.

Finalists:
Beyond November
Progress Missouri
St. Louis Beacon politics blog

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Best Food Blog
A Periodic Table

The judges say: Though you may be tempted to try to eat your computer screen when you start reading A Periodic Table, please don't. And don't assume this is one of those stuffy wonder-woman food blogs, either. Yes, its creator, Shannon Weber, is a masterful cook, but she always owns up to her shortcomings and perseveres through battles with everything from yeast to blenders. And if the scrumptious photos of items like biscotti, stuffed mushrooms and, yes, even bacon candy make you drool all over your keyboard, it's OK. Weber won't judge.

Finalists:
Grillin' Fools
Iron Stef
Shoot to Cook
Sounding My Barbaric Gulp

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Best Sex Blog
The Beautiful Kind

The judges say: Kendra Holliday knows sex, and she wants you to know it too. The once -anonymous sex blogger is anything but private these days, baring her body and her soul and all the kinks therein on the Beautiful Kind, a 2011 RFT Web Awards winner. Holliday is not only interested in her own escapades, however; she wants to help the community become "sex-positive," and she encourages readers to come to her with questions or concerns. But be forewarned -- Dear Abby, she ain't!

Finalists:
Momfia
New Amurican Gospels

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Best Architecture Blog
B.E.L.T.

The judges say: Even if you're not a fan of midcentury-modern architecture (our panel had a few detractors), it's hard not to love Toby Weiss' blog dedicated to the style. Weiss proves to be both a diligent reporter and storyteller, tracking down the history of these forgotten gems from the 1950s and '60s and -- more often than not -- chronicling their demolition. Our only complaint? B.E.L.T. (Built Environment in Layman's Terms) is too compelling to go days -- sometimes weeks -- between posts.

Finalists:
Preservation Research Office: Ecology of Absence
Vanishing STL
St. Louis Patina
Disclaimer: Finalist Chris Naffziger, author of stlouispatina.com, was a judge for this year's RFT Web Awards. He left the room during the judging for this category.

>>Up next: websites, social media and collections of stuff.>>

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