The Concentra Award was a joint initiative from ‘Concentra Media’, one of the oldest and largest media groups in Belgium, and Michael Rosenblum, the American pioneer of Video Journalism (iPhone Millionaire: How to Create and Sell Cutting-Edge Video).  The Concentra awarded an annual prize to a journalist who, in terms of both substance and production, produced an interesting news item which was broadcast on a news program of a television station. An additional Breaking News Award was presented to the best piece that was shot, edited and broadcast in one day and had a maximum duration of 5 minutes. By awarding this prize, Concentra Media aimed to promote healthy competition between the various makers of television news items. Concentra also wished to stimulate journalists to film and edit their own pieces, so they master the entire production process themselves. Established in 2004, the Concentra Award for outstanding video journalism was the world’s leading annual VJ prize. The award aimed to highlight and promote video journalism with the aim of encouraging journalists to film and edit their own work. The award came with 10.000 euro in prize money.

The award held it’s first ceremony in 2004.

Early 2004 I was approached by Concentra Media to see if I could do the award website. Unfortunately, at that particular moment, I had just moved from Belgium to Portugal which I first thought would pose a problem. Eventually, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. To have a truly European team to work on a digital platform for a European award. It almost sounded too good to be true. The international character of the project presented quite a challenge because apart from the design aspects I was project managing a team of Portuguese freelance developers on one side and the Concentra Award team in Brussels on the other side.

Design-wise I wanted to keep the initial look very ‘simplified but digital’. Around that time I was really into full-screen background images (oh yes and video if possible) with floating elements like content boxes on top that you could open and close. Alas, technology was imposing its limits in terms of internet speed and cross-browser coding (I can still hear someone shout “no pop-ups!”).