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Sunday, 23 November 2014

The TGO Awards and an ambitious journalist.

There’s been a lively debate on social media over the last three days about the winner of The Great Outdoors ‘Outdoor Blogger of the Year’ Award. You can read some of the debate in the comments section of my last post HERE.

I wrote in that post “Imagine my surprise when I learned last night that The Girl Outdoors had won this category.” Well, a lot of people were surprised by this result. The blogger, Sian Anna Lewis, wasted no time at all in getting the award onto her blog and her LinkedIn profile. Scroll through her profile; She has a short but impressive work history. Her current occupation is Online Editor for BBC Countryfile Magazine, working for Immediate Media.

Awards are important to young journalists; it helps them stand apart from the rest of the new journalists. Winning awards suggests achievement and promise. They look great on a CV.

Perhaps it was that urge to to have an award that drove this ambitious young lady to go for it. But how do we think that she did it? She’s not on any blogroll that I have seen. So, who nominated her blog and, who voted for her?

I’ll now show some screen grabs taken in the last couple of days.

The first is from twitter and shows that Daniel, of TGO, followed Sian (and her friend Lucy) between 15th and 18th June of this year.

Lucy, Sian & Daniel

 

The next screen grab takes in the period 3rd –8th October:

Sian & Daniel

It appears that TGO knew full well who Sian was and so presumably the content of her blog, well before nominations were due to close, which was 25th September. Voting for the award closed on 10th November.

The next consideration is the filtering of the nominations prior to publish the list to vote for. You’ll have noticed there was a choice of ten in each category in the awards. This means that some filtering must have been made; It is not credible that just ten candidates came forward in each category. TGO knew exactly who and what the Girl Outdoors blog was all about and all about the writer (she calls herself “editor of the blog, but let’s not quibble) as it looks as if she (and others) were being offered space for an article in TGO magazine itself.

I doubt very much if readers of TGO voted for her, as their profile is going to be totally dissimilar to her blog’s readership profile. This means that others must have voted for her. But how did they find out about the awards?

There is nothing on the Girl Outdoors blog about the awards leading up to, or during the voting period.

It has also been pointed out to me that there was no limit to the times you could vote. There was no IP Address block that you would normally find with online votes that prevents multiple voting.

It’s all mystery, isn’t it?

Perhaps Sian or Daniel can help us here?

21 comments:

  1. Interesting. I look forwad to a response from somebody at TGO.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi David
      They are quite short-staffed at the moment, so I would give them a while to get back to us - Emily's on maternity leave.

      Delete
  2. "TGO knew exactly who and what the Girl Outdoors blog was all about and all about the writer (she calls herself “editor of the blog, but let’s not quibble) as it looks as if she (and others) were being offered space for an article in TGO magazine itself."

    You seem to of missed the conversation before your screen grab where someone was complaining that the TGO outdoor personality candidates were a tad male centric (from memory Sian defended TGO).

    The offer came after a conversation on 'women in the outdoors' and how to encourage more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Andy
      As you were typing that someone has sent me a few relevant screen grabs.
      :-)
      Doesn't look healthy, does it?

      Delete
  3. Doubt she'll be responding any time soon. I tweeted her regarding her camp fire in the Brecon Beacons;

    "@sianannalewis Promoting the building of a camp fire by Llyn Cwm Llwch! Ever heard of "Leave No Trace"?"

    Her response was to block me!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Replies
    1. Indeed, indeed, indeed.
      And there's more, and worse, to come Chrissie.
      :-(

      Delete
  5. Well I can tell you for a fact that there were more than ten nominations in the best blog category, as I nominated one that didn't make the shortlist.

    At best this suggests to me that there was help to get out the vote; at worst that the whole thing was a set up from the start. I'm afraid this calls into question the integrity of the votes in the other categories too. I find it curious that a pub just about to undergo a refit and change of management should happen to win an award, for instance. TGO is dead to me now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not so sure that this is all down to TGO.
      It's possible they may have realised that something was amiss, but I fear the blame lies fairly and squarely elsewhere.
      More to come tomorrow.

      Delete
  6. Her blog is very commercial looking. If TGO want to increase the contribution from the female side of the outdoor scene there are some fantastic blogs out there, but it would be good if there were more. When I read a blog I take note of the ones where I can see the experience coming through, that encourage and advise with integrity. Not some vapid commercial looking site that I expect at some point to be covered with advertising banners. Oh, wait up, it has an advertising section. Well done TGO!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, there are some wonderful blogs out there written by women.
      I can think of one stand out blog straight away: Ness64
      Take a look - wonderful hill days and fabulous photography and writing.

      Delete
    2. I have her blog linked on my blog, and an example of what I meant. It has integrity, fantastic photography. Makes me want to go there. Brilliant.

      Delete
  7. I'm not sure what criteria are looked at when judging the Outdoors Blogger of the Year, but from what I seen of her blog I wouldn't have thought it would have even got a look in. She certainly doesn't strike me as being a particularly outdoors type-person.
    JJ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I'm not so sure, JJ. I've seen her post about a wonderful wild camp beneath Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, with a lovely open fire and guitar.

      Now, where was that post - I could link to it - but strangely it has now been removed after she was contacted by the Park Authority...

      Delete
  8. One solution would be to do a recount using the web server logs to identify duplicate votes and eliminate them from the count. It's not a forgone conclusion, but a distinct possibility that the results would change markedly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've had a bit of an insight into how the voting system works by a chap who ran it a few years back. it is perfectly possible for TGO to see if there are multiple votes going on and also to see if companies are voting a few times. However, given how few people there are at TGO Towers and the amount of work they have to get through, perhaps this was not at the top of their "to do" list.

      It must be a tough job running a consumer magazine these days.

      Delete
  9. It would seem i was correct. Good luck to her in her job but i think the award stinks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Al.
      This particular category of the awards this year certainly stinks. However, it may be possible to put it right next year now that it is out in the open

      Delete
  10. No matter who won, I think the real issue is highlighted in your statement "It has also been pointed out to me that there was no limit to the times you could vote. There was no IP Address block that you would normally find with online votes that prevents multiple voting." It would seem that those at TGO have been a little naive in conducting the Awards. So to ensure that in the future everything is above board the awards process should be conducted by an independent authority (or group) to ensure that no one can influence the process.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Roger
      :-)
      That's a major part of the problem Roger - which I go into on the next post.

      Delete

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