The 21st Annual Webby Awards addressed the future of the internet during its ceremony in downtown New York at Cipriani Wall Street Monday night.
Over 407 winners were honored at the event, which kicked off with a red carpet to welcome its guests. Celebrities who dominated the internet during the last year explained why the Webbys mean so much to them.
“Being the digital director of Teen Vogue, winning a Webby is like winning an Oscar for me,” said Phillip Picardi. Under Picardi’s eye, and with the help of editor in chief Elaine Welteroth, Teen Vogue’s digital traffic increased by 208 percent year over year as of December 2016. Teen Vogue won in both the Fashion & Beauty and Education & Discovery categories.
BBDO, who won Webby Agency Of the Year, told Adweek that they’re not necessarily making content for the youngest generation, but they’re creating content in order to “get ahead of changing trends in technology.”
Van Jones, a commentator with CNN, gave advice for young journalists.
“Don’t do it for the fame,” he said, referencing how the digital and internet reporters can get distracted by attention. “Focus on the writing. At the end of the day, it always comes down to the writing.”
“This wasn’t the worst year for the internet, it was the best,” said David-Michel Davies, executive director of The Webby Awards. “This was the year we looked up and realized what really matters. This was the year we realized that the values we, as an internet community, really care about, our environment, inclusion, science, actual facts, truth, liberal democracy, can be stolen from us if we aren’t paying attention.”
Every year at the Webbys, winners provide just a five-word speech. Here are a few highlights from the ceremony:
“Richard couldn’t be here tonight.” —Missing Richard Simmons
“Teenage girls are the future.” —Teen Vogue’s Phillip Picardi
“No, you are fake news.” —BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith
“Women, look what we did.” —the Women’s March co-chairs and founders
“I got five on it.” —Solange
“Enough red, enough blue. Purple.” —Van Jones
“Not food porn, food romance.” —Chef’s Table’s Andrew Fried
“I would like to thank…” —Gillian Anderson