What a moment it was.

From 655 Global Media Award entries, judges picked top entries in six world regions:

  • Best in Africa: Independent Media, South Africa, “Racism Stops With Me”
  • Best in Asia/Pacific: News Regional Media, Australia, “Hey Mumma and OMO”
  • Best in Europe: Aftenposten, Norway, “#DearMark: How Aftenposten Stood Up Against Facebook”
  • Best in Latin America: Zero Hora, Brazil, “Zero Hora Social Networks”
  • Best in North America: NBC News Digital, United States, “Virtual Democracy Plaza”
  • Best in South Asia: Jagran Prakashan, India, “The Gamification of Advertising Sales for Revenue Growth”

From these regional winners, judges selected Aftenposten’s campaign for the global “Best In Show.” The Schibsted-owned Norwegian media company won for its for #DearMark: How Aftenposten Stood Up Against Facebook” entry.

Aftenposten’s well-chronicled clash with Facebook over the late Nick Uts’ picture from the Vietnam War became one of the most important social media events of the year. Espen Egil Hansen, editor-in-chief/CEO of Aftenposten, accepted the award — fittingly because it was his letter to Facebook that was at the center of the campaign.

“I think the surprise is really ironic,” Hansen said from the podium Tuesday night. “First of all, I won for a social media campaign and what I did was writing an old-fashion letter. And then, we won it for a campaign, but come on. It was not a campaign. I just got really mad and wrote that letter.

“I think the relationship between traditional media and new platforms is maybe the most important discussion we ever had in this business. And we have to strike the right balance. For me, the longer-term goal has always been and should be independence — independence for journalism because that’s what journalism needs, true independence.

“That does not mean we can live in a bubble. So I think the discussion that we started during this INMA Congress may be the best ever. Having Google and Facebook in the room is really meaningful. So, I like to think about it like this: If you go to bed with the elephant and it moves, you can find yourself in a really tight spot. So, better start with a little kiss on the chin. Thank you!”