The eyes of the Internet world are focused on Lawrence.
The World Company, which publishes the Journal-World and World Online and owns Sunflower Broadband's 6News, on Friday won four "EPpy Awards" for its three major Web sites - ljworld.com, KUsports.com and lawrence.com.
The awards were announced during a gathering Friday in San Diego of news media Internet industry professionals from all over the world.
The company won an EPpy in each of four categories: "Best Overall Newspaper Site, "Best Internet News Service," "Best Internet Sports Service" and "Best Internet Entertainment Service."
The awards were announced before about 300 people at the Eighth Annual EPpy Awards honoring the best in Online Newspapering and Broadcasting. The awards were given at the San Diego Paradise Point Resort and Spa, where the Editor & Publisher and MediaWeek magazines' Interactive Media Conference was held.
One of the competition's judges, Janice Castro, attributed the World Company's wins to a forward-thinking staff.
"It's very striking -- your online team is one or two thinking steps ahead of the rest of the competition," Castro said. "It's always something brand new. I can almost see you brainstorming as I look at your sites."
The World Company was the only media company in the competition to win four awards. The Washington Post and the New York Times won two each.
The World Company was a finalist in seven categories, the most of any media company in the contest. The Lawrence company competed in a category that put it up against major metropolitan newspapers throughout the world.
There were more than 400 entries from across the world in competition. The contest was judged since February by about 40 Internet professionals from across the world.
Castro, assistant professor of new media at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, said the attitude of the entire World Company organization is apparent in its presence on the Internet.
"One tendency of newspapers is to be tentative, to be afraid the Internet is going to overshadow what they're doing," she said. "Few enough of the big operations aren't afraid to go all-out -- the Washington Post is one -- but on the smaller level, you can see the innovation in what you're doing in Lawrence."
Rob Curley, online general manager, attended the conference.
"We're so blessed to have not only talented Web designers, producers and editors, but extremely talented writers, photographers and news broadcasters who make building great local Web sites easy," said Curley, who accepted the award with Dolph Simons III, Journal-World operations manager.
"Winning awards is a ton of fun," Curley said. "But that's not why we do this. We just want to build the best Web sites for those who live in Lawrence and for all of the KU fans in the Jayhawk nation."
Dan Simons, the director of New Ventures, was appreciative of the national-level recognition.
"It's outstanding. It's almost beyond belief," he said. "I know our people are talented; I know they're passionate about their work. But when you have an unbiased panel of judges looking at our work . . . and saying we're the best -- that's amazing.
"I couldn't be more proud of our people."