By Khaled Diab
After a month-long poll of the online community, The Chronikler has emerged as the decisive winner of a prestigious blogging award.
Friday 4 May 2012
We are thrilled to announce that The Chronikler has been named best English-language blog for 2012 by the BOBs, one of the oldest and most prestigious international blogging awards which is organised annually by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, in collaboration with Reporters without Borders.
Following a marathon month-long voting contest, The Chronikler emerged as the clear winner in the English-language category, with 41% of the votes, beating, by 17%, the popular blog of bestselling author Paulo Coelho, who has over 8 million followers on Facebook.
Other entries in the English-language category included a blog about encountering and photographing ordinary people on a road trip through the United States and a blog by an Arab man attempting to bridge the cultural gap between ‘East’ and ‘West’, two goals The Chronikler endorses and strives for.
My co-editors, Osama Diab and Christian Nielsen, and I would like to take this opportunity to extend a very warm thank you to all those who voted or campaigned on our behalf. It was touching and flattering to see the number of readers, friends, acquaintances and even perfect strangers who dedicated their time to ensuring our victory, even though in the early days I suspected that we did not stand a chance of winning, trailing, as we were, so far behind a superstar like Coelho.
Labours of love and conviction
Winning so decisively and based on the preferences of actual readers was a great honour and confirmed to me and the rest of The Chronikler team that this labour of love (and sometimes frustration) is a worthwhile endeavour, because it seems to be appreciated by our readers, both loyal ones and those who have discovered us via the contest, and resonates with them.
“Bloggers like Khaled, Osama, myself and all the other great contributors do it because we have this urge to write,” explains Christian, who describes our win as “priceless”. “Urge” may not quite capture his powerful compulsion to write which has seen him carve time out of his busy schedule writing for the EU, writing screenplays and, in a manner of speaking, writing his children’s future to write prolifically for The Chronikler and coach some of our less-experienced writers.
“We don’t get paid for what we do for The Chronikler, but there are other rewards … feedback from readers, having a platform to raise concerns and have a ‘rant’, and of course now the satisfaction of being voted best blog,” he adds.
Osama, my other co-editor who also happens to double as my brother in his spare time, between his journalism, academic research and revolutionary political activism said, in keeping with his grassroots, radical soul: “I hope this award will inspire more people to take on blogging and citizen journalism to hold their governments accountable for wrongdoings especially in areas where there are no proper checks and balances.”
And that, in essence, is an important part of what The Chronikler is about. When I established the site in 2009 as a successor to my personal blog (www.diabolicdigest.net), I wanted it to become a platform for alternative voices, not just for professional journalists with original perspectives but also for people from all walks of life who have something compelling to say and know how to say it.
In addition to holding the powers that be accountable, as Osama suggests, The Chronikler has sought to live up to its name, and chronicle contemporary events and ideas, from the controversial to the comic, highlighting the common human experience of ‘East’ and ‘West’ in what I call the great mash of civilisations.
I have been pleased by the outcome, and how the site has grown and matured. Although The Chronikler has no financial resources to commission work, numerous bright and talented contributors have volunteered their time to share their unique insights with our growing following. And without their multitude of enriching voices and perspectives, this site would be far poorer and duller for it.
So we would like to thank our contributing writers for the colour and dedication they bring, and hope they will continue with us on this path, and other original voices will join us in our chorus for change. And, of course, the final thank you must go to our readers who we hope will continue to follow The Chronikler, engage with it and spread the word about it.