SND39: Medal winners

GOLD  New York Times for ‘Trump’s Lies’ in Opinion design
Judges’ comments: With understated restraint, this spot-on presentation engages the reader in a brilliant, cool and striking way. The new, crisp and simple approach sets a standard for the industry, and the page itself is pure, solid journalism. It could compete with any news platform, including web, in its masterful delivery of information. The simplicity and cleanliness ease navigation in a truly functional way, while still allowing the reader to dive in at any point.


SILVER Los Angeles Times for ‘The Court of Donald I’ Opinion political cartoon
Judges’ comments: This ode to the Spanish painter Francisco Goya offers a lively take on the cast of characters advising the president. The work brings humor to a list of people routinely in the news, but rarely gathered into one image. For those familiar with the original painting, the idea and execution are simply magnificent. The illustration is superb in what it shows, and also in the notable void in the middle of the piece. The decidedly orange color palette gives an additional nod to the subjects and melds the characters together organically and superbly.


SILVER Semanario Região de Leiria for ‘The tragedy of the fires in Portugal’ in breaking news photography
Judges’ comments: After fires devastated several regions of Portugal in the summer of 2017, 64 people died, 500 homes were destroyed, and countless people were displaced. Relatives convinced Maria de Rosário, 84, to  evacuate. Her home was saved by firefighters, but the surrounding neighborhood was destroyed. She walks among the ruins of her home holding a watering can to quash the smoke rising beneath her feet. This image focuses on a quiet, meaningful moment among the vast destruction in the background. The watering can provides a pop of color to draw you into this stark scene of charred remains. The striking image speaks to a sense of place. The woman in the photo is the archetypal grandmother figure, who elicits an emotional response as she tries to grasp what has happened to her community.


GOLD New York Times for ‘Boko Haram strapped suicide bombs to them’ in portrait photography
Judges’ comments: Portraiture is one of the hardest things to do well, and this is one of the most amazing portraits we’ve seen. The photograph shows respect for its subject while revealing the power of the subject matter. This image of 15-year-old Falmata B. elicits such a visceral reaction, it’s hard to put into words. “I was so afraid it would explode on its own,” she says of the suicide bomb Book Haram strapped to her. This horrific act is juxtaposed with the symbolic use of flowers to cover her face—beauty over terror. The light source creates a halo surrounded by darkness, as though she’s emerging from the dark to the light. You can imagine seeing this photograph in a museum and being astonished by its message. This is the gold standard for portraiture.


GOLD Los Angeles Times for ‘The Thomas Fire’ in breaking news photography 
Judges’ comments: Embers from the Thomas fire, which started on the southern edge of the Sespe Wilderness, blew west on the gusts of the Santa Ana winds and began an assault on Ventura. This photo puts you directly in the path of the wildfires. John Bain and Brandon Baker take cover as they try to fight flames at a stranger’s home with nothing but garden hose. They’re surrounded by everyday household items like a patio table and umbrella as sparks fly through the air from a fire burning just feet away, drawing you through the action. This photograph feels cinematic with its many layers; the color tones crank up the stress, emotion, and urgency. The narrative of this photo leaves you desperate to learn what happens next. This image highlights the photographer’s seeming calm and fearlessness in the face of a dangerous breaking new story — a professional doing his job in the midst of chaos.


SILVER The Washington Post ‘The year in photos’ in new feature photography
Judges’ comments: This photograph captures one family’s anxiety over money and health care, encapsulating how the number of working-age adults receiving federal disability payments has increased significantly across the country, especially in rural America. The image uses the composition and qualities of a timeless Renaissance family portrait: window, flowers, dog, domestic items, and color palette. Chiaroscuro highlights the strong contrast of light and dark between characters in the foreground and background, each isolated in his or her own stress. The portrait draws painful metaphors about the health care system that give the image layers of emotion.


SILVER The New York Times ‘The solar eclipse’ in special news topics
Judges’ comments: A variety of techniques were crucial to the impact of telling the story of the 2017 eclipse. From bold doubletruck photography to graphic novel illustrations and Instagram posts to long narratives, it’s clear every resource was tapped in order to create a fun, informative experience for readers. Science, history and slices of life from across the United States collided leaving readers feeling smarter, engaged and wanting to be a part of the most talked about event of the year. “When is the last time a print product started this kind of a conversation?”

GOLD The New York Times Magazine for ‘the solar eclipse’ in features design
Judges’ comments: In its preview for an extraordinary event—the 2017 solar eclipse—the publication provides an extraordinary surprise. For this global occasion, the illustration reflects people from around the world, creating a “Where’s Waldo” effect that invites you to find yourself in the characters shielding their eyes using myriad devices. They thought through the story they wanted to tell and chose the appropriate shape and color to tell that story. A nontraditional headline reads directly into text that perfectly captures the experience. The cover illustration includes a circular void is filled that is with more figures on the opposite side of the page. As you hold the page up to the light, the space becomes filled by the shadowy figures, just as the moon’s shadow covers the sun in an eclipse. It has the playful effect an old View-Master toy or an interactive, do-it-yourself eclipse. The illustration is mirrored in a photograph of a 2006 solar eclipse stretched over a doubletruck, taking the section from from delightful exploration to scientific reality. This is one of a series of special sections published only in print, which supports maintaining a print subscription for surprises just like this. This goes beyond the state of the art to inventing completely new ways of storytelling using some of the simplest tools available.


SILVER The New York Times’ coverage of President Trump in special news topics
Judges’ comments: This newsroom knows how to take a story that touches everyone and tell it in a variety of formats—from traditional to surprising—all with excellence. Page after page provides surprises for every type of reader: a moment-by-moment analysis of the Turkish president video, highlights of the headlines from Donald Trump’s first 100 days as president, a breakdown of Trump’s tweets, an annotated script of Trump’s inauguration speech, bold illustrations paired with opinion pieces, etc. They’re not afraid to give each story the space it needs. They don’t use print as a dumping ground; they see print as an opportunity to mold stories. They take full advantage of the platform, and each page keeps getting better day by day.


SILVER The New York Times’ coverage of Hurricane Harvey in special news topics
Judges’ comments: This newsroom pays attention to how it aggregates news in a print format. The visual and content editing sets a brisk pace that doesn’t overwhelm readers with one solution. The exceptional photography, graphics, and personal stories engage readers. Most teams could not sustain this level of powerful storytelling over more than six days—photo after photo, graphic after graphic, surprise after surprise. Some say print is dying, but this is a really strong example of how it’s thriving. This is how news should be told.


SILVER The New York Times’ coverage of Hurricane Harvey in print and digitally
Judges’ comments: As Hurricane Harvey bared down on Houston and in the days following, this newsroom devoted talent, time and space to comprehensive visual coverage. Each piece of this series captivated us, and in many places the storytelling moved us to actual tears. The package exemplifies an effective digital experience, and the community-centered visual journalism shows the urgency of the story on the ground. The digital team made the experience completely effortless for readers who increasingly aren’t willing to click through to the next page. With such a huge undertaking, it would have been easy to overwhelm the audience — but even with so many moving parts, there are no redundancies here. The newsroom’s visual editing sets the bar in the industry.


GOLD The New York Times’ photography staff for its portfolio of work
Judges’ comments: This staff photo portfolio shows a major commitment to covering the world through photojournalism. A phenomenal breadth of storytelling images reflects and elevates the events of the year with a strong photographic voice, but sweet, intimate moments also appear. The photographs complement one another through the juxtaposition of key themes. Each photograph beckons you to spend time and read more about it. It’s impressive to think how many more pages of photography this staff could have entered that would be just as good.


SILVER The New York Times Magazine for “Guinea” in single day photo series
Judges’ comments: Working from a makeshift studio in Africa, this photographer took beautiful, simple photography and elevated it to a celebration of color, personality and craft. From one aesthetically pleasing image to the next, the project’s powerful color voice helps lead the reader fluidly through the package. The contextual final photo reminds the reader that these people are not the studio-ready celebrities they may appear to be — but rather a family traveling through a rural land. More than just a collection of portraits, we feel that we’re actually meeting these people through their photos, and that we have the privilege of joining them on their holiday journey.


SILVER The Washington Post for “A world of waste” in single day photo series
Judges’ comments: Photos of trash don’t typically reach out to the reader and say, “read me” — but this package somehow does. This thoughtful photo narrative masters the seemingly impossible task of engaging the reader with piles and piles of literal garbage. In the hands of someone less gifted, the presentation would not have been nearly as successful. This strong body of work shows the immensity of the problem through a strong palette and striking imagery. It’s a smart compilation that shows a commitment not every publication is willing to make — examining a problem and also giving examples of real solutions being attempted on a global stage.


GOLD The New York Times for “As Venezuela collapses children die of hunger” in single day photo series
Judges’ comments: Even in a country rich in oil reserves, a record number of Venezuelan children are suffering severe malnutrition — and many are starving to death. Singularly, each image in this series tells a gripping story all its own. Collectively, though, the photos move the narrative to the next level with a raw, dramatic and stirring perspective on the crisis. From an intimate moment with a hospitalized infant, to a families struggling to feed themselves, each photo is deeply emotional and truly moving. The photographer has created an empathy for a place that most of us will never see personally — a characteristic that encapsulates why any of us would ever work in photojournalism.


SILVER The New York Times for “Tending to Haiti’s Dead” in single day photo series
Judges’ comments: The depth and breadth of this single-day photo series artfully paints a complete story from burial, to context of the city, to the emotional toll of tending to Haiti’s dead. This visual narrative provides a comprehensive linear timeline and delivers the reader to the heart of the story — something that can be difficult to do on the ground of a foreign country. The lead image is both unique and mysterious, with an impact that built each time we returned to it. And while many times a tragedy is told strictly through the lens of death, we loved that this photographer chose to also incorporate light and life.


SILVER Politiken for “Life on Denmark’s coast” in multi day photo series 
Judges’ comments: The tonal quality, openness of the images and uniquely European aesthetic of this photo series really gave us the feeling of being in Denmark. The photographer captured still, quiet moments with a sense of place and freedom that transcends language. Each photo transported us to a place that was all at once romantic, beautiful, evocative and dreamy.


SILVER The Washington Post for “Quince Orchard” in photo page design
Judges’ comments: High school football stories grace the pages of papers throughout the U.S. on a regular basis, so it was a breath of fresh air to see a different perspective on the sport. The designer leads the reader from the artfully crafted dominant image, through several supporting images that are also powerful in story and composition. The restraint in photo editing and attention to design detail really showcase the best of the best in visual presentation. The team easily proves that sports photos don’t need to be loud or action-packed to have impact. This series instead offers beautiful little moments stitched together to tell the story of a football game readers rarely see in the newspaper.


SILVER The New York Times Magazine for “Horror Story” in single day photo series
Judges’ comments: There’s a certain level of difficulty that goes into the art direction of any group of celebrities, particularly when they’re promoting entirely different films. We recognize that assembling this group of actors in such a conceptual way is truly an amazing feat. The photographer went above and beyond with an ambitious vision reflecting both the current pop culture moment, and an homage to archetypal characters of the horror genre. The photographer has created a new aesthetic —and set— to spotlight each actor, and creates a tone that is simultaneously dramatic, creepy and entertaining. Every photo reflects a high level of technical and creative achievement, a tremendous amount of planning and direction, and a strong attention to detail.


SILVER El Mundo for ‘Why do we debate by pecking at each other?’ in feature design
Judges’ comments: For this story about our universal tendency to argue on social media from the comfort of a digital device, the team employs the apt metaphor of birds. They went beyond a Twitter logo to create elegant watercolor illustrations of blue birds, which often fight epic battles just as we debate on social media. The illustrations flow through to a graphic that uses feathers to illustrate ways to manage your anger. The balanced typography builds points of entry into the densest part of the package, breaking out text from the six-column grid and injecting life into the design. This fresh approach speaks to our species’ propensity for online bickering, equating it to pecking at one another.


GOLD New York Times for “The Road to Nowhere” in the combination, digital and print category
Judges’ comments: As violent militants terrorized their villages, more than 100,000 people are struggling to survive along a desert highway in Niger. The New York Times’ clear commitment to this story comes across in these state-of-the-art online and print presentations. In a surprising move for any newspaper, the project opens up to the striking four-page gate-fold display of a single photo — a portrait of dozens of people. The sheer size of the image allows the reader to see expressions on each face, some wincing from pain or heat, or both. We immediately felt that the photography and design teams led us up to each person in the photo, effortlessly introducing us along the way and giving us a visceral insight into their story. Equally as impressive, the interactive display zooms into each face as the reader scrolls, giving us that same guide through the stories of villagers. The project personalizes a crisis that’s half a world away for many readers and manages to make a difficult issue seem approachable. The entire team —from reporter and photographer, to editor, to designers, to the person who ran the press— showed a high level of dedication to telling the story in the best possible way, saying “yes” to every effective and powerful choice that went into creating innovative experience.


SILVER The Washington Post for ‘the photo contest’ in features design
Judges’ comments: For a readers’ travel photo contest, the designers smartly employed brilliant photo editing, restrained typography, and judicious white space. The newsroom used its resources wisely by asking readers to convey their experiences through photography. The image of Fujiko Nakaya’s immersive light and soundscape, “London Fog,” at the Tate Modern captures the mysterious mood of London life at night. The precarious vantage point allows readers to experience the scene in a way even the museum’s visitors probably didn’t appreciate. The choice to scale up this photo as a wraparound cover plays with the idea that fog cannot be contained. The team showed audacity in choosing a photo for a travel cover that conveys a feeling rather than a specific place.


SILVER Al Shabiba for ‘Beauty Mole’ in features design
Judges’ comments: This story about how beauty moles often associated with world-famous models go beyond aesthetics is built around an illustration reminiscent of a 1950s Christian Dior drawing. You might not understand Arabic, but this page communicates in a universal language. Small bursts of color carry you through the page where the typography gracefully hugs the curve of the illustration. This refined treatment turns what could be a dry story into an effective presentation.

GOLD Die Zeit for ‘Dear Johns’ in features design
Judges’ comments: A coin tumbles down toward an opening between two legs stretching upward, a metaphor for the transaction of prostitution. The headline states, “Dear Johns, There is no harmless prostitution. Your money supports criminals.” The ominous, black background represents the darkness that surrounds paying for sex. The illustration, drawn with a youthful innocence, communicates so much without relying on pornographic representation. The illustration has the quality of a pulp novel cover or film noir poster, and the absence of color accentuates the gravity of the issue. The concept would work whether scrawled on a napkin or scaled up to a billboard. This subtle, restrained work allows readers to discover its meaning at their own pace without having to spell it out. The page uses black and white so effectively, it rewards you the longer you contemplate it. This is the kind of work we should be striving to do.


SILVER Science Magazine for ‘The Vaccine Wars’ in single graphics

Judges’ comments: Finding the perfect storytelling vehicle is one of the most important decisions a graphic artist can make. The designer of “Vaccine Wars” understood this challenge and chose a method that, while not new conceptually, is the exact right choice for this set of data. Simple and clear presentation, spot-on methodology and exceptional level of execution take this piece to the next level. The simple bubble timeline compares the rate of infectious diseases with the dates at which vaccinations were introduced. It perfectly visualizes the sharp drops in outbreaks after vaccines were widely circulated. At a time when this topic is hotly debated, the visual team embraces a core journalistic mission: Show people the truth so they can make their own informed decisions.   


SILVER National Geographic’s graphics staff for its portfolio of work
Judges’ comments: This organization is setting the standard for infographics. Everyone on staff maintains the highest level of execution using cohesive styles that immediately help readers build familiarity with the publication, but the artists inject delightful details and original flourishes. Each page of this portfolio reveals excellent illustration skills supported by smart secondary elements. Storytelling graphics are expertly reported and tightly edited; the information hierarchy employs minute details that seamlessly guide readers through the text. Memorable facts from each graphic stick with you long after absorbing them. These graphics reward readers with no understanding of a topic to those with advanced knowledge.

SILVER The New York Times’ A shifting world of ice and rock, non deadline graphics, nation and world.

Form and function meld beautifully in this minimalist map of Antarctica, using style and size to underline the speed and scope of the continent’s melting glaciers. The painterly quality of the illustration creates the illusion of movement and pops off the table for its artistry and technique. Fresh, well-selected color choices mark the distinction between the ice loss and places where the structure remains in tact. Details are honed to perfection, down to the labeling and typography. Many in the industry have tried to recreate the effects of this map, but the New York Times pioneered the look. They executed the project with clarity in purpose and restraint in editing — and made something possible that wasn’t possible before.

SILVER The New York Times Within hours, a wildfire becomes California’s most destructive for non deadline graphics, nation and world.

Fires swept the west coast in 2017, and Californians witnessed some of the worst devastation in the state’s history. As a national paper telling a localized story, the New York Times crafted a compelling graphic to cover the story with richness and depth — a shining example of elevating something that could have been a simple locator map. They detail the harrowing tick-toc of homes and lives destroyed in a single night. The team handles a tremendous volume of data exceptionally well and helps the reader experience the story from start to finish. Time ranges overlap on the map in a way that makes sense, and for many that would be the biggest challenge: Keeping it clean. The design here works so well that it’s almost invisible, taking a step back to let the information take your breath away.

SILVER: National Geographic Animal hacks for non-deadline features graphics.

Simple, clean and extremely clear in its execution, this graphic lures the reader into an intriguing study in animal classification. The style is spartan, but the artist used just enough dimension in the chart to give the piece visual pop. Without using a single photo, the work humanizes creatures big and small — drawing parallels between their skill sets and ours. The unique arch-shaped graph illustrates a hierarchy of species that would be impossible to see with any other chart or diagram style. There’s an equality between some of the animals that wouldn’t be as evident in a linear display. Each grouping in the arch allows for the explanation of complex data in an organized way. The richness of information is captivating, visually distinctive and every detail of the spread serves a well-defined purpose. Clarity of design and well-crafted typography are part of the DNA of the magazine, and that is evident in these pages.




SILVER National Geographic’s A fearsome fleet print and digital coverage

This explanatory piece on Viking exploration uses the strength of print and its broader canvas to properly display informational graphics — and moves to a medium like video to tell a tangential story. Each platform supplements the other, but also stands on its own. The video is beautifully executed, but approachable enough for kids, and the team clearly crafted the project with this broadening audience in mind. In this day and age, it’s a really smart move to create something specifically for the online audience as they have, dedicating the resources to building two pieces completely from scratch.

JUDGE’S SPECIAL RECOGNITION for imaginatively investing in all audiences National Geographic (dinosaur and the Viking ship pages)

We’ve come to expect exceptional work from this publication, but the staff still manages to surprise readers on a regular basis — on print and digital platforms. The organization consistently invests in both audiences, reinventing and reimagining storytelling for digital platforms that don’t strictly rely on the aesthetic of the printed magazine. It’s obvious print is not a mere afterthought but an opportunity to inject a sense of joy into science, educating people from all backgrounds.

Check back all weekend to see the silver and gold medal winners, as well as judge’s special recognitions, from SND39.


Best of News Design judges and the process visualized  |  SND39 Live Stream

Award of Excellence winners  |  Medal winners  |  Portfolio winners

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About Katie Myrick Parks

is the Senior Visuals Editor at the Global Press Journal.


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