Eish!!: SA Blog Awards - Best New Blog Finalists Review

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SA Blog Awards - Best New Blog Finalists Review

Just one day to go. Reading through the various finalists in the categories I have managed to cover has been an arduous, but extremely enjoyable task. (Next year the judges are going to have to cut down on the number of finalists or give me a head start!) I have discovered a whole load of real gems, and am actually brimming with proud over what our fledging online community is offering to the world ... and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
In the interest of highlighting our new blogstars here are the finalists in the category

Best New Blog
[Best blog which was started during the year of 2007]
  • elledeco.blogspot.com : I found it interesting that a publication like Elle Decoration SA decided to go blogging, using Blogger. I would have though they would have the resources to buy an domain name, get a hosting plan and spend a little on an appropriate template design. [Accept that this come from Eish!! ~ eishcoza.blogspot.com!] Getting down to the content, they have kept everything bite/byte size. This actually works for me and the illustration rich content is diverse and interesting. I would imagine that their print readership would expect a little more.

  • ivo.co.za : Ivo Vegter is a writer by profession. This blog is an extension of his writings for publications. This was a discovery for me, not having seen any of his writings before. I found the posts engaging and diverse. It must be said that us bloggers can sometimes become used to mediocrity as we forego standards in the quest to get our news(and views) as quickly possible. This is one of the blogs up for the SA Blog Award that bucks this trend, and there aren't enough of them. The page is simple, has all the necessary elements and does not detract from the writing, which is after all the main attraction. I great find.

  • capetowndailyphoto.com : I am not sure why I am not a subscriber of Cape Town Daily Photo. I have mentioned my pangs of jealousy over Paul and Kerryanne's eye for a great photo before in a previous post. They somehow manage to find a different view of the mother city every day, with a short write up on the subject and/or how and/or why they took the picture. They have garnered an loyal readership as a result of the quality the offer everyday and have become a bit of an institution in the SA blogosphere.

  • gfsouthafrica.blogspot.com : One of four foodie blogs to make as a finalist in this category. It must be said that the 'Gluten Free South Africa" does not pull me in as a reader. However I can imagine that there is a growing niche that would appreciate this blog. And what's more the recipes and advise offered are presented extraordinarily well. Those needing or wanting to eat gluten free do not need to miss out on much, if this blog is anything to go by. The added 'service' offered is the reporting on establishments that either cater for or accommodate those needing to stick to a gluten-free diet. A simple Blogger template is used, but the content is king here.

  • greedygourmet.com : Another quality foodie blog. Again I am really impressed with this offering. I particularly enjoy the way the author (there's a pic on the about page but no name) has a readable preamble to each post on the front page, with a link to read the rest of the post which then includes the recipe, a really nice touch as this means the front page doesn't get clogged up with recipes . The photos of the food discussed are of high quality ... mouth watering actually. The design of the page is not particularly special, but this is unnoticeable as the colourful posts keep your attention. This is another blog that proves the value of the SA Blog Awards, I would not have found it otherwise.I am looking forward to trying the hash brown recipe this weekend!

  • jaxbischof.wordpress.com : Jackie Bischof is a young journalist living in Johannesburg. She is using her blog to hone her journalistic and writing skills while bringing her views and experiences of Johannesburg to the world. The content is varied and Jackie is not afraid to voice an opinion, which makes for enthralling reading. It will be interesting to follow if this becomes a path to a career in mainstream media or if she follows this 'new media' route. One thing is for certain, Johannesburg should keep her supplied with many topics to write about.

  • blog.ecr.co.za/newswatch : Much like the name suggests, this is a news site, disguised as a blog. I have been trying to get my head around why they would chose this type of interface for the news reporting. Actually is makes a whole load of sense, as you can subscribe and get the latest news in the RSS reader of your choice. The site design is East Coast radio, and keeps with the overall look and feel of all the other sections of the site. The posts are updated very frequently, and I like the news watch audio feature. All in all a functional, albeit regional news blog.

  • vanielje.com/blog : Yet another foodie blog. It must be said somehow this genre appears to be producing high quality blogs. (Could it be in the water they drink ... or is it the food they eat?) I seem to be repeating myself, but once again the illustrative photography is top draw. Combine an easy to read writing style and add am extremely effective layout and you have a quality package. I can't wait to give the steak and mushroom pie a go.

  • baglett.blogspot.com : It's a pity so little attention has been given to the design of this blog. the writing is enjoyable and just sufficiently irreverent to catch my interest. Baglett finds herself with a group of finalists that have a stronger all-round package. Good, entertaining reading is all good and well but, perhaps unfortunately, gone are the days that this is all a blog is about. Pity.

  • blog.bridgetmcnulty.com : Bridget McNulty is another South African author, sharing her writing via her blog. Covering all sorts of topics, giving you the odd glimpse into her life, this is a fun read. The masthead captures your attention and aptly displays graphically what you get when you read the posts. The is a clever accompaniment to her print offering and should help her connect to her readers.

My prediction :
  • Not knowing too much about most of these finalists before this review, it's difficult to guage which of these blogs have the readership most likely to take the time to vote. My guess is the fact the ECR has bothered to publicise the fact that they are in the finals means that they will take this one. Honestly, I hope I am wrong though.
  • Eish's pick : vanielje.com/blog

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Wow, a great review amongst so many great blogs. Thanks Eish, I really appreciate it. I am very new to blogging and sometimes blog more prolifically than others, but I try not to write if I have nothing to write about. However, there are so many really good blogs out there that inspiration is always pretty quick in the coming. Thanks again for the mention.

Thanks for the great write-up - as I mentioned recently on CTDP, I think it's absolutely awesome that so many Capetonians read our blog. When we started, we were really aiming it at people who aren't familiar with the city (simple writing for non-English speakers, along with basic information), but as we've discovered that more and more locals are following us, we've changed the tone and subject matter a bit to cater for them too. This is challenging at times - trying to serve two very different audiences - but I do so love a challenge. ;-)

Thanks again for being a supporter!

@ Inge : Keep it up, you deserve your spot in the finals, all the best for the voting/judging.
@ Kerry-Anne : It just shows what happens when you listen to your audience, as opposed to deciding who who want your audience to be. Good luck with the nomination and thanks for the daily entertainment.

Eish, thanks for the overview. As one of the ECR newsie's, I was delighted to see our site had made the list of finalists. What people don't know is that the small ECR news team of just 7 do the writing for it; while all posts and pic additions and general design are done consistently by just one member of the team. I think it's important to point this out as most will probably think it's a major operation.
Good luck to the other finalists. Viva blogging!

@ Newsie : Thanks for the info it does put things into perspective. Good luck for the result next week.

Thanks as well, it was really nice to read concise reviews of the other finalists, and learn about what great blogs there are out there! I really liked that you had something nice to say about everyone. Really looking forward to the evening, should be a riot!

Jax, it was hard to find too many 'bad' things to say, particularly in this category. I'm glad you enjoyed finding new blogs. Good luck!

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