And the winners are

The University of Maryland’s J-Lab has identified seven websites that “use basic technology to add value to the process of journalism.” The J-Lab press release will tell you more about the nature of the award but a quick scan of the seven winning sites offers more in the way of ideas and inspiration.

The winners include the Bakersfield Californian daily newspaper (a citizen media pioneer) for a concept called “Bakomatic, a participatory media platform that takes concepts and applies them locally.”

The Washington Post won for creating the U.S. Congress Votes Database “to enable users to search every recorded House and Senate vote since January 1991 by a variety of descriptors.”

J-Lab also has a separate competition, coupled with a small grant process, for what it calls “New Voices.” This is aimed more at startup operations, whether inside or outside of established media. Feb. 17 is the next deadline for these grants worth up to $17,000 over a two-year period.

One last thing — and you can tell I’m a fan of this outfit — visit which is “J-Lab’s how-to site for community publishing. It covers Web hosting, HTML coding, digital photography, new media reporting and more.”