The 2022 Digiday Media Awards finalists honor Vox Media’s talent and creative work with seven nominations. Recognition spans company leadership and successful teams, including chief development and strategy officer Shyra Smart and the Secret Base video team at SB Nation, as well as content in all forms — from podcasts like New York Magazine’s Cover Story and Vox Creative’s work with brand partners to NowThis’s virtual events and use of social platforms like TikTok. Here, get to know more about the impressive creators and work from across Vox Media.
Publishing Executive of the Year (Finalist): Shyra Smart, Vox Media’s Chief Development and Strategy Officer
Shyra Smart is Vox Media’s chief development & strategy officer, overseeing business partnerships, brand and content licensing, and mergers and acquisitions. Her organization’s work is seen in five 2021 acquisitions, which made Vox Media one of the largest U.S. media companies. Digiday highlights: “Smart played an integral role in the company’s acquisition of Group Nine and has been the executive sponsor of the BOLD ERG — the employee resource group that supports the advancement of Black employees — for the past two years, which has contributed to the company’s first annual observance of Juneteenth.”
Best Content Studio of the Year (Finalist): Vox Creative
The in-house brand studio is known for pushing the boundaries of branded content: feature-length documentaries, standalone podcasts, written content, engaging audio ads, and viral social campaigns. Last year, Vox Creative launched its second long-form documentary, The Beauty of Blackness, and produced three standalone podcasts: More Than This with Straight Talk Wireless, a second podcast created with Ben & Jerry’s titled Into the Mix, and Are You Sleeping? with Mattress Firm — each catering to the brand’s goals and backed by the Vox Media Podcast Network’s capabilities. Vox Creative recently expanded following the merger with Group Nine, which added the award-winning Brand Shop and social-driven video capabilities to its suite of solutions.
Video Team of the Year (Finalist): SB Nation’s Secret Base
This team of video storytellers dives beyond sports scores and statistics to reveal the context that made athletes, games, and moments matter. Along with fan-favorite franchises like Beef History, the team released two multi-hour documentaries, “Chosen: A deep rewind of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 46-year title quest,” and “Dorktown: The History of the Atlanta Falcons” that together saw a total watch time of more than two million hours on YouTube. Like many of Secret Base’s projects, “Falcons” isn’t only for the sports-obsessed; a New York Times TV critic called it “so special and refreshing” and warned, “one need not be a football fan to enjoy this, but you do need to love love. I already watched this twice.” The year also saw personal victories for this tight-knit team: they welcomed two Secret Base babies.
Best Virtual Event (Finalist): NowThis NEXT Presents: Yes We Did! The Vital Voices of 2021
In October 2021, NowThis premiered NowThis NEXT Presents: Yes We Did! The Vital Voices of 2021 on OWN, nowthisnext.com, and live on NowThis’ Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok channels, with P&G as the presenting sponsor. The hour-long event shone a spotlight on the critical role women leaders play in creating a more equitable and just world for us all, and touched on mental health, racial justice, climate justice, women and girls’ rights around the world with a special focus on Afghanistan. The show, hosted by NowThis producer and correspondent Luria Freeman featured changemakers, celebrities, and thought leaders including Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, actress and activist Eva Longoria, actress Kristen Bell, Vital Voices Global Partnership President and CEO Alyse Nelson, singer, dancer, and actress JoJo Siwa, and more.
Best Use of Social (Finalist): NowThis, a Leading Brand on TikTok
In two years, NowThis has built a formidable presence on TikTok. By mastering tactics on this short-form, vertical platform like the use of voiceovers, rapidly changing visuals, and compelling visual and narrative hooks before pivoting to educational content, NowThis is able to stop thumbs and foster huge engagement. Last year, NowThis launched a new live series in partnership with TikTok called VIRAL, the platform’s first-ever series on public health education and first live episodic series with a publishing partner.
Best Podcast (Finalist): Cover Story from New York Magazine and the Vox Media Podcast Network
New York Magazine’s first-ever investigative series podcast, Cover Story, draws on New York’s history of richly reported features. The show’s first season, called Power Trip and hosted by iO Tillet Wright, asks: as psychedelic therapy is barreling toward legalization, are we overlooking a pattern of deception and abuse among some of the movement’s leaders? Some of the practitioners working with local governments, new start-ups, and clinical trials for the FDA to treat conditions like PTSD and depression come from a culture that has historically swept both sexual and psychological abuses under the rug. The story centers on Lily Kay Ross, who was abused and discouraged from speaking out publicly. She’s now back to uncover some of its secrets and have an honest dialogue before psychedelic therapy goes mainstream.
Best Podcast (Finalist): More Than This from Vox Creative and Straight Talk Wireless
Created in partnership with Straight Talk Wireless, Vox Creative produced More Than This, a custom podcast series that sought to answer Tracfone’s brand-building request to position itself as a partner in their key audiences’ quest to live life on their own terms and conditions. From overcoming daunting odds to taking chances on new businesses, each episode’s subject spoke to the human hunger for connection. Vox Creative’s audio and design teams and a cohort of D/deaf and hard-of-hearing creatives partnered to develop a new transcript experience that translates our podcast’s storytelling for a non-listening audience.