Kindle, Amazon’s entry into the e-book market, and bringing technology to the Navajo Nation are topics of two award-winning articles selected at this year’s Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Awards for Excellence in Technology Journalism. Steven Levy, senior editor, Newsweek magazine, was honored for “The Future of Reading,” and Rita Pyrillis, writer for FedTech magazine, published by The Magazine Group, was honored for “IT Across the Navajo Nation.”
The awards were presented at a special ceremony in New York during the 2008 PRSA Technology Section Conference. The annual gathering attracts public relations practitioners from corporations, nonprofit and governmental agencies, and public relations firms from around the country. 2008 marked the 11th year the Technology Journalism Awards have been presented. The awards competition is judged by an independent panel of 39 peer editors, writers and reporters from the national general, business and trade press.
Levy’s award-winning article was published as Newsweek’s cover story on Nov. 27, 2007. The story, based on the author’s role as the first journalist to test and evaluate Amazon’s new “Kindle” electronic reading machine, and extensive interviews with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, technologically and physiologically describes the development as the first real substantive improvement over the printed book, which has existed for the past 550 years. Levy reported that the real breakthrough was its wireless conductivity. Kindle works anywhere, not just in WiFi hot spots. “The vision is to be able to access any book or tome or piece of writing that’s ever been in print, on the Kindle, in less than a minute,” said Levy.
Pyrillis’ award-winning article, “IT across the Navajo Nation,” appeared in the May 2007 issue of FedTech magazine, published by The Magazine Group in Washington, D.C. The article describes the challenges and achievements of the effort to bring the Navajo Nation up to speed in today’s computer age. Pyrillis identified one of the biggest challenges -interpreting terms, such as computer, keyboard and Internet, into the Navajo language. With 75 percent of the culture speaking Navajo as a primary language, it was imperative that innovative methods to communicate about technology be used.
“This year’s winners emerged from a tough competitive field of 77 entries for work published in 2007, and each winning entry appears to be the product of substantial investigative reporting,” said Joel Strasser, APR, Fellow PRSA, who chairs the 2008 Awards committee and heads an independent technology communications firm based in Brick, N.J. “Each of the two winning entries is an exceptionally strong work that underscores great technology reportage and writing style. Each follows a tradition of our earlier award winners on the basis of their value to readers, clarity of communications and significance in technical innovation and newsworthiness.”
Each winning entry received a cash award of $1,000, as well as a pair of crystal award trophies presented to the winning writers and their publishers. The awards were judged by a distinguished panel of 39 peer judges, all members of the national editorial community representing the types of journalism practiced by each of the winners.