Nowadays, many Internet awards are given to Web sites for best design, most interactive Web site, etc. This is also the case for online journalism, which has developed its own awards over the past few years. Based on existing research and theory on multimedia, interactivity, and hypertext, this study compared American and European news sites nominated for selected awards by means of a predominantly exploratory and descriptive qualitative content analysis (16 criteria) to see whether there are any striking differences in approach and composition. In addition, it aimed to retrieve possible differences between the ultimate ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. The results showed that the differences between European and American sites can largely be contributed to two factors, namely the presence or absence of photo galleries on the one hand and mobile services on the other. The nominees for the American awards more frequently offered multimedia – especially (enhanced) photo galleries – and PDA versions. SMS services were found more frequently on the European news sites. The best sites scored on 15 out of our 16 criteria; the top 12 contained 8 sites from the U.S.
© Walter de Gruyter