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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Introducing the 2012 RFT Web Awards Finalists

Posted By on Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 8:27 AM

The good news? The St. Louis online community is alive and well. The bad news? There's so much great content out there, it's extremely difficult to come up with a list of the best of the best. But, hey, this is the Internet. People love them some lists. We'd hate to disappoint. 

So, then, the list (below) of finalists in this year's RFT St. Louis Web Awards appears in no certain order. Winners will be published in next week's paper and announced at our award's ceremony on January 24th at the Old Rock House. Congrats to all, and special thanks to our judges who spent hours and hours combing the web to bring back these incredible finds. Now, without further ado...

Best Neighborhood Blog
Count on Downtown
Nicki's Central West End Guide
I Love Soulard
Cherokee Street News

Best Music Blog
I Went to a Show
3 Minute Record
Music VS Man

Best Personal Blog
Running from the Law
City in a Jar
Captain's Quarters

Best Arts Blog
Temporary Art Review
St. Louisan
St. Louis Art Map

Best Food Blog
Every Little Thing
Off the Eaten Path
Cupcake Project
Rhubarb and Honey
Iron Stef

Best Sports Blog
Cards Diaspora
Black Sports Online
Joe Sports Fan
Viva El Birdos

Best Architecture Blog
Built St. Louis
Preservation Research
St. Louis Patina

Best Political Blog
Occasional Planet
St. Louis Activist Hub
Beacon Backroom
St. Louis Tea Party

Best Photostream/Flickr

Nate Burrell: Before the Blink
Elaine Marschik: Fridayn (Flickr)
Jason Stoff:
Todd Owyoung: I Shoot Shows
Mark Scott Abeln: Rome of the West
Darren Snow: Plasticfootball (Flickr)

Best Use of Video
Feast Magazine
Show Me Shows
Joe Sports Fan
St. Louisan

Best Use of Twitter to Promote a Business/Org.

@YoungFreeSTL (Vantage Credit Union)

Best Use of Twitter to Promote a Personal Brand

Evan Benn @EvanBenn
Angela Ortmann @STLwinegirl
Chris Reimer @rizzotees
Erica Smith @ericasmith
Nick Gilham @NickGilham

Best Use of Facebook to Promote a Business/Org.

Star Clipper
Atomic Dust
FoamMiss Ohio Vintage

Best Use of Social Media for a Civic Campaign

Save St. Louis Del Taco
Save Pratzels

Best Local iPhone App
Explore St. Louis
Stodgy Gents

Best Club/Concert Website
An Under Cover Weekend
The Pageant

Best Restaurant Website*
*Our judges really disliked menus that open as .pdf files. Restaurant owners take note.

About the judges:

Last year's RFT Best Neighborhood Blog winner for her, Shannon Howard is a former writer and location scout for many of the country's top interior design magazines. Howard grew up around Florissant and Spanish Lake, then moved to Los Angeles and Knoxville, Tennessee, before returning home and buying a 100-year-old Victorian parsonage in Ferguson. The author of two books on architecture and interior design, she recently got her real estate license and has created a brand new blog about vintage, historical and one-of-a-kind properties in the St. Louis area. You can find her at

Josh Kocurek lives his life as a one hundred percent digital dude. Geek cred on his sleeve, Josh works as the associate brand manager at the marketing agency, Switch, where he is responsible for finding new, creative ways of building brand relationships online. Josh also serves on the board of Social Media Club St. Louis, a non-profit organization for social media professionals. Josh spends his free time playing video games, honing his tennis skills and belting out '90s pop at karaoke nights. He has a weakness for expensive sushi, exotic teas and 99 cent iPhone games. You can follow Josh on Twitter @joshkocurek.

Pamela Merritt (Shark-Fu) blogs at She is a staff writer for RH, a contributor to, and a featured contributor to National Public Radio's (NPR) "Tell Me More" with Michel Martin. In 2008 was named one of the world's 50 most powerful blogs by The Guardian UK (London).

Allison Babka's specialty is marketing Saint Louis University to potential undergraduates and honing overall university branding. The guardian for SLU's "Be a Billiken" sub-brand, Babka has earned awards for writing and video production in addition to "Most Likely to Use Song Lyrics as Headlines." Outside of SLU, Babka is the Friday night karaoke DJ and event planner at Frailey's Southtown, where she forces people into Wilson Phillips singalongs and coloring contests. Crowned St. Louis' Sexiest Cybergeek for 2011 by "Girl's Guide to the Galaxy," Babka covers concerts and nerd stuff for, and other sites. Give her infomercials, "Star Wars" junk and Reel Big Fish shows, and she'll be your BFF. Follow Babka on Twitter at @AMBabka and @U2Acro.

A former RFT Web Awards winner for his Lo-Fi Saint Louis, Bill Streeter is also a filmmaker, designer and photographer. Last year he released his first feature film, Brick by Chance and Fortune. You may also know him for video, photography, design work and/or writing he's done for the RFT, Pokey Lafarge and the South City Three, The Royale, Mountain Dew and MTV.

Michael Tomko is a developer and music enthusiast with a penchant for curating one-of-a-kind experiences both on and off-line. In the past decade, he has found himself programming and promoting a college radio station, managing recording studios in both St. Louis and New Orleans, writing for national publications and blogs, negotiating recording contracts and touring the country as a musician, managing channel-partner programs for some of the world's largest software companies, and executing several of the area's large scale music festivals and events, to name a few. Currently, Michael maintains an [almost] daily blog about his cat, produces the annual St. Louis concert series, An Under Cover Weekend, is launching a new music blog, and is excitedly planning his wedding.

Chad Garrison ran the Riverfront Times' news blog Daily RFT from 2008 though the fall of 2011, during which time he purposely (and unintentionally) offended great numbers of readers, including the nation's ferret-owning community. Garrison now serves as the RFT's managing editor and can be found wasting time on Twitter @chadgarrison.

Edit note: Some of the social-media gurus who agreed to serve as judges are associated with projects or companies nominated for this year's awards. They recused themselves from judging the categories in question.

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