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By: Paul Bond
April 23, 2004

The news Web sites of the Big Three TV broadcasters, or those of CNN, CNBC and Fox News, haven't quite met the journalistic standards of the Al Jazeera site of late.

At least not according to the Webby Awards, which, Time magazine and others believe might be the Internet's equivalent of the Oscars, if for no other reason than it's still around.

But this year's nomination of Al Jazeera as one of the five best news Web sites has caused a bit of a controversy for the Webbys, founder Tiffany Schlain said.

"They felt it was a risk-taking site," Schlain said of the news category's five-person nominating committee, whom she declined to name. "It's important globally. And last year we had a pro-Israel site and we took a lot of heat. This year, it's Al Jazeera."

Also nominated in the news category is BBC News, National Geographic, RocketNews and the Smoking Gun.

Beyond the stir caused by the Al Jazeera nomination, other trends of note at the Webbys include the lack of a nomination for IMDb.com in the film category.

"IMDb used to be the Tom Hanks of the Webby. It would get nominated every year," Schlain said.

This year, though, Web sites built for specific movies dominated the
category, with the sites for "Dogville," "The Fog of War," "Spellbound" and "The Dreamers" each getting a nod.

A panel of 480, including celebrities like David Bowie and such tech titans as Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser, will determine the Webby winners, to be announced May 12.

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