Icing on the cupcake of destiny

What is it about winning an award that sends that giddy giggling feeling tingling up your spine and the back of your neck? That warm, fuzzy excitement when you hold up the trophy to the flashing cameras? Whatever it is, I like it. And I felt it last Tuesday when FT Labs won at the 2014 Newspaper Awards.

Megan Murphy and Adam Braimbridge on stage at the 2014 Newspaper Awards. Photo: Lisa Pollack
Megan Murphy and Adam Braimbridge on stage at the 2014 Newspaper Awards. Photo: Lisa Pollack

Read all about it

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of attending the 2014 Newspaper Awards, “the only awards that are devoted to celebrating the best in print and digital news media production and innovation”.

Dressed in my best pin-stripe suit and sporting my finest black clip-on bow tie, I felt like James Bond as I drank in the luxurious splendour of the Grand Ballroom at the London Hilton in Park Lane.

The wine flowed and the assembled guests — representing the crème of the UK news industry — dined on rich food and delicious gossip until it was time for the awards to be announced. Gary Cullum, editor and publisher of Production Journal and our host for the evening, joined presenter Richard Bacon of BBC Radio 5 live on stage to proclaim the winners, as selected by a prestigious judging panel.

WWW now stands for What We Won

I’m proud to report that FT Labs won awards in two categories and a commendation in another, with the Financial Times (our mother ship) picking up two “highly commended” honours and a “commended” for the FT Weekend.

  • Winner, Digital News Service of the Year: fastFT
  • Winner, Newspaper App of the Year: FT web app
  • Commended, Digital Innovation of the Year: fastFT
  • Highly commended, National Newspaper of the Year: Financial Times
  • Highly commended, National Colour Supplement of the Year: How To Spend It (Financial Times)
  • Commended, Weekend Newspaper of the Year: FT Weekend

You’ll forgive me for being particularly chuffed that fastFT was commended for digital innovation of the year — and won digital news service of the year! <grins delightedly>

According to the Newspaper Awards’ 2014 Winners Book, the judges have this to say about fastFT:

Innovative, repurposing of FT content for a digital, mobile first environment. Great use of social media to drive engagement, the FT is at the cutting edge of digital communications with superb integration of content from different mediums. It embraces different behaviour of online readers and offers different entry points into its rich journalism, from a slow-moving front page to its innovative fast stream. A new digital wire for the digital age.

As the engineering manager on the fastFT project, I was privileged to work with the most amazing, intelligent, talented, hard-working and good-looking team of rowdy rambunctious rapscallions that anyone could ever hope for. Massive props, big ups and much love to Andrew Betts, Jamie Blair, Jim CresswellSamuel Giles, Ross Green, Steven Hilder, Megan MurphyWilson Page, Jocelyn Peacock, Lisa Pollack, Preetha Rajan, Dmitry Shevrin, Robert ShilstonWill VoelckerAlexander Walters and of course the rest of the FT Labs gang and all the amazing fastFT journalists who somehow manage to wrestle the written word in such a consistently amazing way.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing

It looks like an app. It acts like an app. But brother, it ain’t no ordinary app. The golden child of FT Labs, the FT web app (app.ft.com) won the illustrious Newspaper App of the Year award. This came as no surprise to my chum and fellow Labs developer Matt Andrews, who mused, “Another one to throw on the pile.”

The award for Newspaper App of the Year goes to the FT web app
The award for Newspaper App of the Year goes to the FT web app. Photo: Adam Braimbridge

The real winner is friendship

As icing on the cupcake of destiny, the Financial Times was highly commended for National Newspaper of the Year and the How To Spend It magazine was highly commended for National Colour Supplement of the Year.

And at the end of the day, for me the best award of all came from back home down under.

Thanks Mum