NEW YORK—Digital media leaders from National Geographic Partners, Adweek and Trusted Media Brands, among many others, gathered in the ballroom of the Yale Club in Manhattan to celebrate Folio:’s 2018 Digital Awards. During the luncheon, hosted by actor and comedian Shawn Wickens, honorees and award winners were recognized for their outstanding achievements in digital media from the past year.
Throughout the ceremony, five executives were inducted into the Folio: Digital Hall of Fame, which recognizes outstanding career contributions to digital media. Inductees included Stephanie Holland assistant director of global advertising and sales of the American Chemical Society, Roberta Muller, SVP product development at Northstar Travel Group, Michael Smith, SVP revenue platforms and operations at Hearst Magazines Digital Media, Gretchen Tibbits, former president and COO of LittleThings, and Neil Vogel, CEO of Dotdash.
“I don’t know how much time I have,” said Troy Young, global president of Hearst Digital Media, while introducing Mike Smith for his Hall of Fame induction. “I could spend an hour up here. He’s the most complex, nuanced, contradictory and incredible person I’ve ever met.”
Hall of Famers took to the stage to share words of wisdom aimed to inspire those who are following in similar footsteps.
“As people say, you learn more if you can fail with grace,” said Tibbits, who talked about the closing of LittleThings earlier this year. While LittleThings shuttering its doors might not have been in her plans, Tibbits says that she’s enjoyed all of the successes that the brand has given her and looks forward to what’s to come.
Holland gave sage advice of not being afraid of hiring people who are smarter than you, getting a great response from the crowd. Vogel said that everyone in the room was “fighting the good fight” while working to make the transition to digital a successful venture. And Muller offered, “If I gave you one piece of advice, put your phone down and ask yourself, do I like what I do? Because that’s what its all about.”
During a brief intermission from the award presentations, journalist, author and entrepreneur Steven Brill, presented a talk about his latest venture, NewsGuard Technologies. Aimed at tackling the fake news problem by administrating a color-coded rating system, NewsGaurd will allow audiences to recognize legitimate news when they see it and give advertisers peace of mind when approaching new investments.
“The government can’t do anything about it, and we can’t rely on social media and search platforms to do anything about it,” Brill said, discussing the determination behind his new product to finally take real strides in fixing the problem of fake news.
After opening the floor full of media professionals up to questions, an audience member asked how the proprietors and supporters of fake news will impact NewsGaurd’s mission and Brill simply responded, “We’re going to have a lot of opposition, but so what?”
Marketer of the Year, Jay Webster, not only won his award, but won over the audience with humor, gathering laughs while referencing Kanye West’s interruption of Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMA awards. “This is all of our award,” he said, stating the common trope that awards couldn’t be achieved without the help of many. “But I’m taking it home, so it’s mine.”
Moms were also celebrated at this year’s Digital Awards. Digital Content Innovators Award winner, Tabitha Sukhai, shouted out her mom in the audience, thanking her for supporting her from the start of her career, all the way back to bringing her to her first internship interview with Teen People.
You can see a full list of the Folio: Digital Awards winners and finalists here.