MySociety wins two New Statesman awards

MySociety was the major winner at last night's New Statesman New Media Awards.

The charity, whose paid and volunteer web developers create public-interest web sites, took away two gongs from the ceremony held at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park.

WriteToThem, a MySociety project that allows citizens to identify and find contact details for their elected representatives at all levels of government, on the contribution to civic society award, beat other finalists including the Guardian's group blog Comment Is Free.

MySociety also won the "advocacy" award for PledgeBank, a site which intends to inspire collective action by allowing pledging to act if others will join them.

BBC Backstage, an initiative to make BBC-generated online available to external developers, took the award for innovation and online magazine OpenDemocracy won in the independent information category.

In his opening address, Environment Secretary David Miliband, who last year became the first blogging Government minister, argued that new media tools could combat the "powerlessness" that citizens sometimes feel because of the "one-way process of engagement" characteristic of traditional political and media.

"The whole idea that you've got journalists over here and readers over there is changed completely by new media, or at least what I understand as the best of new media," Milliband said.

But the minister also made a pointed jibe at one member of his audience, political blogger Guido Fawkes.

"New media, as I understand it, is about much more than recycling Westminster gossip in a real-time way," he said.

Before presenting the final award, New Statesman editor John Kampfner announced the appointment of Ben Davies as the new editor of NewStatesman.com.

Davies, who joins the political magazine from BBC News Online, said NewStatesman.com would relaunch "during the party conference season" and would include more material created specifically for the web, including new blogs and interactive features.

New Statesman web manager Katheryn Corrick is leaving the magazine after five years.

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