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Changes to the Garden Media Guild Awards

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Changes to the Garden Media Guild Awards

Why the changes?

The media has changed dramatically over the past decade, and the awards needed to reflect those changes. We researched what was going on with other media awards, many of which are going through similar re-structuring.

Which categories have remained the same?

The Peter Seabrook Practical Book of the Year, The Garden Book of the Year, The Dr David Hessayon Garden Columnist of the Year, Practical Journalist of the Year, Gordon Rae Photographer of the Year, Features Photographer of the Year, Portfolio Photographer of the Year, The Radio Broadcast or Podcast of the Year and The Alan Titchmarsh New Talent Award.

There may be a few alterations in the wording describing them or on the entry forms to make categories clearer.

Which categories have gone?

Website of the Year and Cover of the Year have gone, both due to the low numbers of entries. A good website is now easy to achieve and Cover of the Year only applies to books and magazines, which are a much smaller proportion of the media than they used to be. Also it is difficult to judge book and magazine covers against each other.

Blog or Vlog of the Year is replaced by new categories. It used to work as a category because both were early new media platforms and were usually based on personal stories. Now they have diverged, become more professional and are too different to be compared to each other fairly in a judging process.

Journalist of the Year has also been cut as it duplicates the Dr David Hessayon and Practical Journalist of the Year.

This means we were able to introduce new categories that reflect the media platforms of today, offering members more options to win awards.

Categories that were ‘tweaked’

The Beth Chatto Environmental Journalist of the Year is now The Beth Chatto Environmental Award (which is how it was generally referred to) to reflect that those entering may not be strictly ‘journalists’ – they could be working across several media, including visual ones .

The Lifetime Achievement Award has been renamed The Outstanding Contribution Award. ‘Outstanding contribution’ has always been in the wording of the Award and removing the word ‘lifetime’ eliminates any kind of age discrimination.

The Roy Lancaster Broadcast of the Year is now for professional film and TV programmes only, not YouTube videos. The judges said it was too difficult to judge one or two person productions against a professional team.

What are the new categories and why were they chosen?

Garden Video of the Year replaces the ‘Vlog of the Year’ and means that the Roy Lancaster Award can be for professional film makers. Video is the biggest single growth area of the media in the past 10 years, so more award attention is appropriate.

Digital Gardening Writer of the Year replaces Blog of the Year and includes the new growth area of newletters (eg Substack) and other online garden writing (eg the digital versions of magazines and newspapers)

Social Media Communicator of the Year has been divided into two awards:  Individual Social Media Influencer of the Year and Brand Social Media Influencer of the Year. Several of 2022 Social Communicator of the Year entries were from brands, using GMG members to supply the content and going beyond publicising their brand to create genuinely good gardening content. Other media awards have started to acknowledge the creativity of brands in using social media to educate and inform generally. Once again, however, it is both difficult and unfair to judge individuals against brands, as the aims and resources are so different, so they need two categories.

These changes are the result of discussion over several Zoom meetings. The participants were originally Mike Palmer, Alexandra Campbell, Chris Young, Lexi Gee, Anisa Gress, Stephen Studd and Barbara Segall with additional input from Tamsin Westhorpe.

By Alexandra Campbell

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