The awards

For the last seven years, with all its various eyes and ears, Slugger O’Toole has been a particularly avid watcher of the political scene. We have endeavoured to pick up and share the best journalism and research and keep a close eye on Northern Ireland’s nascent political process. In our own informal way, we’ve acted more as a critical friend than fawning acolyte or jaded oppositionalist.

Channel 4

Sponsor - Channel 4

At Slugger we think that we have a fantastic opportunity to improve politics in a way that institutional reformers will never be able to. We want to reward better politicians, better politics and better governance. We’d like to reward those that have succeeded in reaching out to the public and involving them more effectively in local governance.

So, in July 2008, with the support of our launch sponsors, Stratagem NI Ltd, we announced the launch ofThe Slugger Awards 2008.

We’d like to highlight the good things that are happening right now in Northern Ireland, and the awards will aim to reward effort and interactivity with a pat on the back from the blogosphere. Our focus will be on local democracy.

As Bernard Crick put it: “local government is the school of democracy.” These awards will highlight those who have made local government work more democratically and more efficiently.

Sponsor - Stratagem NI

We announced eleve different categories to recognise the work of politicians, journalists, local government officers and bloggers in helping to build a stronger and more robust democracy in its widest sense. Each ‘thread’ was announced day-by-day and continued to act as a nomination field. It was be kept open throughout the rest of the summer. We relied upon Slugger’s readers, not simply to nominate candidates, but to tell us why they thought that they should win.

In September, our invited judging panel began their deliberations online, before meeting face-to-face to make their final decisions. The winners were announced in Belfast on 7th October 2008.

The Awards event welcomed over 200 visitors including many senior MLAs and some of Slugger’s most avid readers.

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