Plain English content: best and worst web sites

REINZ team accepting the Brainstrain award.

Photo: REINZ team accepting the Brainstrain award.

Last night, all was revealed at the WriteMark Plain English Awards 2009.

The complete list of winners: plenty of detail on

1. Best Plain English Website: Public Sector/Non-Government Organisation
Winner: ACC

2. Best Plain English Website: Private Sector
Winner: Springload

3. People’s Choice: best Plain English Website
Winner: Ministry of Fisheries

4. People’s Choice: Brainstrain Website (The award you don't want to win. Nominated by the public, this is the site judged to give the most New Zealanders a headache. But then again, it can lead to an instant upgrade if the boss is sufficiently embarrassed.)
Winner: Vodafone NZ

So many highlights, even for me, party-pooper from way back. Let me dish out a few virtual Contented awards.

1. Best format for an awards evening: WriteMark 2009. (No dinner, drip-fed nibbles. Sitting in a theatre. Fun. Short enough and long enough. Old museum building. And so forth.)

2. Most sidesplitting announcement warmup: Jim Mora from Afternoons, Radio New Zealand.

3. Most beloved, comical and enduring MC: Kevin Milne.

4. Plain English icon: Lynda Harris.

5. Most heroic facesave by a Brainstrain award winner ever: Real Estate Institute of New Zealand. The team showed up to accept their can of worms. They waved their revised version of the horrendous document (terms of sale for auctions) at us. They were happy and grateful. Told you the brainstrain award can be a blessing in disguise, didn't I?

6. Quaintest virtual speech by a judge: Kristina Halvorson of Next time, get your body over here please Kristina!

7. Most beaten-up guest speaker exploiting his disability for laughs: David Gadsby, sorry, make that David McPhail.

8. Most appropriate entertainers: The Improvisers. Very witty MacB*th in plain English, sort of.

And of course... well everyone else was pretty cool too but heck, that's enough.

Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine


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