Harry Potter Fans Accept Webby Award as First-ever Fan Site Winners

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LeakyNews.com awarded People's Voice Webby as first ever fan site to receive Internet's highest honor.

At a star-studded event last night that included music mogul Prince, acclaimed journalist Thomas Friedman and one of the inventors of the Internet, The Leaky Cauldron, http://www.leakynews.com, a top destination for Harry Potter fans worldwide, became the first fan site to ever collect the coveted Webby Award. It received the People's Voice honor in the Celebrity/Fan category during the awards’ most heavily voted year in its 10-year history.

In a category packed with official sites for known celebrities including Prince and the Grateful Dead, an unofficial, enthusiasm- and volunteer-driven Harry Potter fan site has become the people’s choice.

The site's five-word speech, which all Webby winners recite at the gala awards ceremony, was "Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Rowling," recreating the famous four-word speech given by wizard Albus Dumbledore in the first book in the series, and adding a nod to the book's author, J.K. Rowling, at the end.

Webmistress Melissa Anelli accepted the award; Creative Director John Noe also represented the site and the fans.

"This honor comes from our fans and we're so thrilled about it," said Noe. "We do this for the fun of it, on a shoestring budget; to be honored among people who have shaped the entire medium is unbelievable. We just hope the fans and J.K. Rowling are proud."

LeakyNews.com has been honored by J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, with her coveted Fan Site Award; she has also publicly called the site, “my favorite fan site, and granted it a rare interview on the publication of the sixth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The site’s current design was conceptualized and designed by Creative Director John Noe and put into functional practice by Head Programmer Nick Poulden. The site uses AJAX techniques (incorporating XHTML and CSS) to organize hundreds of categories of news and make its content attractive, easy to load, and functional. It runs on several servers, with a CentOS Linux/Lighttpd back end, and using PHP 5.1, MySQL 5, and Movable Type for data entry and retrieval. It has a mobile site and a text-only page in which to maximize accessibility for users.

Hailed as the “online Oscars” by Time Magazine, The Webby Awards are determined by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, a global organization with a membership that includes musician David Bowie, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, The Body Shop president Anita Roddick, “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening, Real Networks CEO Rob Glaser, and fashion designer Max Azria.

“The Webby Awards honors the outstanding web sites that are setting the standards for the internet,” said Tiffany Shlain, founder and ambassador of The Webby Awards. “LeakyNews.com’s Webby Award nomination is a testament to the skill, ingenuity, and vision of its creators.”

The Tenth Annual Webby Awards received a record number of entries from over 40 countries and all 50 states.

About LeakyNews.com:

LeakyNews.com is a one-stop resource for Harry Potter fans, featuring the most accurate and comprehensive news reporting about the subject online, the largest Potter image gallery on the Net; a popular podcast called “PotterCast” which regularly interviews celebrities within the franchise; information sections on the books, films and author; forums, chat, essays, quizzes, reading groups, a merchandise shop, contest, fan DVD commentaries, reviews, a weekly newsletter and much, much more. It was started in 2000 by Kevin C. Murphy as a one-page blog and has turned into an enormous community for Harry Potter enthusiasts worldwide. For more information visit http://www.leakynews.com.

About The Webby Awards:

Called the "Oscars of the Internet" by the New York Times, the Webby is the leading international award honoring excellence in Web design, creativity, usability and functionality. Established in 1996, the 10th Annual Webby Awards received over 5,500 entries from all 50 states and over 40 countries worldwide. The Webby Awards are presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Sponsors and Partners of The Webby Awards include: AOL; The Creative Group; Verizon; Adweek, Brandweek and Mediaweek magazines; Fortune; OnRequest Images; IDG; iStockphoto; American Marketing Association; PricewaterhouseCoopers; 2advanced Studios; MX Interactive and Museum of the Moving Image. For more information visit http://www.webbyawards.com.

About the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS):

The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences is dedicated to the creative, technical, and professional progress of the internet and interactive media. The Academy is an intellectually diverse organization that includes over 500 members consisting of leading experts in a diverse range of fields, such as musician David Bowie, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, business guru and author Tom Peters, The Body Shop president Anita Roddick, fashion designer Max Azria, “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening and Real Networks CEO Rob Glaser. The Webby Awards and The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences are registered trademarks of International Data Group. For more information, visit http://www.iadas.net.


Melissa Anelli



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