April 10, 2013

Portland's Salt Institute up against big schools in Web contest

"It's a really big deal," says Salt's executive director, Donna Galluzzo. "It's like the Oscars of the Web design world."

By Dennis Hoey dhoey@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies is competing with four other schools for the honor of operating the best school and university website in the nation.

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The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland is competing against much bigger schools for the honor of operating the best college/university website in the nation.

Officials at the school on Congress Street learned on Tuesday that Salt Institute is one of five finalists nominated for a Webby Award, as well as a Webby People's Voice Award.

The nominations and the possibility of grabbing an honor from a much larger school represent an opportunity to raise the school's, as well as Portland's, national exposure.

The city and several of its businesses, including Otto's Pizza, Coffee by Design and Hot Suppa, are featured prominently on Salt's website, which was redesigned by Pulp + Wire, a Portland-based Web and brand design and marketing firm.

The website says that being in Portland is one of the perks of studying at Salt.

"It's a really big deal," said Salt's executive director, Donna Galluzzo. "It's like the Oscars of the Web design world."

This year, the 17th annual Webby Awards, which have been described by The New York Times as the Internet's highest recognition, received more than 11,000 entries from over 65 countries.

From the thousands of entries, only 7 percent, or five nominees in each category, make it to the final round.

Online voting, which began Tuesday, will remain open until midnight on April 25, according to a press release posted on the Webby Awards website (www.webbyawards.com).

"We would be so psyched to get Portlanders and Mainers to vote for us," Galluzzo said.

The 2013 awards cover a diverse spectrum of websites, videos, brands and stars.

Salt, which has 25 to 30 students enrolled during any given semester, is going up against significantly larger schools, including the University of Maryland and the University of Chicago, in the best school and university website category.

The other finalists in the category are Goucher College in Baltimore and New School, a university based in New York City.

Taja Dockendorf, the owner and creative director of Pulp + Wire, said the school's new website tries to tell a story, not just about the school and its programs but about Portland.

"We tried to encompass all of the elements, including writing and photography, that Salt is known for," Dockendorf said.

The Webby Award and Webby People's Voice Award winners will be announced April 30.

All of the winners will be honored at the annual Webby Awards ceremony on May 21 in New York City.

The awards are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

Salt Institute is a nonprofit school offering semester-long intensive programs in documentary writing, radio, photography and multimedia, with an emphasis on powerful storytelling.

Salt was founded in Kennebunk in 1973 by Pamela Wood, a high school English teacher.

Since it was founded, more than 800 U.S. and international students have attended Salt.

To visit the school's website, go to salt.edu.


Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:



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