Winners were announced this week at the 25th annual Webby Awards, the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet, presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). 

While last year’s event was held during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic (and marked the first time The Webbys were awarded virtually), this year’s online event was dedicated to honoring outstanding individuals, organizations, and projects that channeled creative and innovative uses of the Internet to help the world stay connected during the pandemic. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci was recognized as this year’s Webby Person of the Year, highlighting his use of digital and social media to provide information about Covid-19. Other top honors went to Riz Ahmed, Andra Day, Ava DuVernay, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dua Lipa, and Oprah Winfrey for their various contributions to digital content and larger efforts within the entertainment industry.

“This past year, the Internet kept us together when the only option was being apart,” said Webby Awards President Claire Graves. “Our connection has been everything, and our 2021 winners are a testament to this. They have entertained us, helped us uplift one another, explained complex issues affecting our world, and inspired global movements.”

As seen in years past, WordPress played an outsized role for both Webby nominees and winners. Out of all the total projects nominated in the Websites and Mobile Sites category, 24% used WordPress. One in three of those projects was powered by WP Engine

“Power your creativity on WordPress,” said Eric Jones, VP of Corporate Marketing at WP Engine. “At this year’s Webbys we celebrated the digital experiences that helped keep us entertained, informed, and together over the past year. Congratulations to all the makers, creatives, and agencies who inspired us with more projects than ever on WordPress.”

Established in 1996 during the Web’s infancy, The Webbys is presented by a 2000+ member judging body that makes up the IADAS—The Academy is comprised of Executive Members—leading Internet experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities—and Associate Members who are former Webby Winners, Nominees and other Internet professionals.

See below for a glimpse of some of the top projects built on WordPress that took home a Webby award this year!

The New York Review of BooksAthletics

People’s Voice Winner, Honoree: Culture Blog/Website  

In an effort to appeal to a new generation of readers without alienating existing subscribers, The New York Review of Books worked with creative agency Athletics to create a modern product platform that would enable continued growth and more clearly support its editorial mission, which goes far beyond book reviews. 

Inspired in part by the rich visual history of the print version’s cover designs, the project focused on research and strategy, responsive web design and development, as well as UI / UX  design. Armed with more editorial flexibility, The New York Review of Books has new ways to feature and curate decades of archival content, and the new design and a new paywall implementation have more than doubled paid subscriptions as well as registrations to The New York Review newsletter list.

Fatherly: HomebodiesSome Spider

Webby Winner: Email Newsletters

Homebodies began as a series of newsletters in March 2020, just as the first wave of Covid-19 was spreading through New York City (where Fatherly’s offices are located). The intention of the newsletter, which was published every weekday for the next two months, was to provide parents with consistently up-to-date medical perspectives, activity ideas, and a wide variety of coping strategies to help them navigate a uniquely difficult time. 

“Looking back, Homebodies is something of a time capsule, a window into the start of time whose only defining feature was cognitive dissonance,” the Fatherly team notes on its archive page. “Homebodies can be seen in this light as a project that is both absurd and overly serious; monotonous and occasionally profound; often hopeless and yet, ultimately, inspiring.”

I WeighToyFight 

People’s Voice Winner: Diversity & Inclusion 

Created in 2018, I Weigh is a community allyship platform built to share ideas and stories that ultimately mobilize activism. Growing beyond its original Instagram community, I Weigh’s website was launched in 2020 with digital agency ToyFight to offer original content that explores social issues spanning from mental health to climate change to the representation of marginalized groups. 

Founded by activist and actress (and host of the 2021 Webby Awards) Jameela Jamil in response to the way women are valued in popular culture, I Weigh is a movement that connects, empowers, and amplifies diverse voices in an accessible way while providing a platform dedicated to those activists, worthy causes, and ethical brands that deliver on their promises.


People’s Voice Winner: Charitable Organizations/Non-Profit

As the largest gun violence prevention organization in America, Everytown faced a familiar set of issues associated with growth—namely, a series of disconnected digital properties that proved increasingly difficult to manage. In response, digital studio Upstatement developed a strategy to unify the Everytown brand, build a common design system, and implement WordPress in a way that was easily accessible to all team members 

The new system democratized publishing, allowing anyone on the team to write, edit, and post research reports. This has saved precious time for Everytown’s small team of digital editors, who can focus on more strategic tasks such as fundraising campaigns and drives to call Congress. 

You can find out more about all the Webby Award winners here

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