SND41 judging ends with Washington Post Best in Show

The 41st Best of News Design Creative Competition awarded 13 gold medals, 61 silver medals, two judges’ special recognition, and 920 awards of excellence after three days of judging at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg.

After reviewing nearly 4,000 entries, all 22 judges gathered to discuss the gold medal winners to decide whether to elevate one to Best in Show. After an impassioned discussion, The Washington Post’s Category 20 entry “The Mueller Report Illustrated” won Best in Show.

The Judges’ Comments on the Best in Show

This work starts with the first creative meeting when the hyper-ambitious team decided to go all in — with a tight deadline — on a story where democracy is at stake. It continues with the brave notion that this story could be told using a graphic novel approach, which undoubtedly caused consternation from several editors. But this work demonstrates the crucial role collaborative visual leadership plays in the newsroom and plants a flag for design-led storytelling.

At a time when facts are under attack and even members of Congress weren’t reading the Mueller Report, this team dissects it and makes it accessible to everyone. This is a gateway drug for audiences who aren’t used to digesting news.

The story is built for three specific platforms — desktop, mobile and a printed book — and each one uses the strengths of that format to draw you into an immersive experience. The book feels cinematic with dozens of illustrations that carry you through each page. The digital work subtly marries the content with animation, sound design, motion and flawless user experience architecture.

The traditional ways we have told stories are dying. This work challenges our notions about what design can be, advances design as a journalistic skill, points to new ways to engage readers, and helps prove journalism’s worth to the public. Under great pressure, this team not only leads the way on this story — they crush it.

Awards by Publication

These are the publications that won the most awards:

1. The New York Times

2. The Washington Post

3. Minneapolis Star Tribune

4. Los Angeles Times

5. National Geographic

6. Politico Europe

7. The Buffalo News

8. South China Morning Post

9. The Globe and Mail

10. Politiken and American City Business Journals (tied)

Gold Medals

  • 4B: La Nacion’s coverage of the Argentine primary election
  • 8Ja: The New York Times’ staff combination portfolio
  • 9A: The New York Times’s coverage of the Trump impeachment
  • 12A: National Geographic’s overall magazine design
  • 12C: The New York Times Magazine’s Madonna at 60 cover
  • 13Ba: The New York Times illustration depicting the struggles NFL players endure with opioid addiction in retirement
  • 13Da: The Washington Post Magazine’s illustration for “Conquerors of the Courts”
  • 14F: The New York Times’ photograph of an athlete after her death
  • 15A: The New York Times’s documentary photo essay “The End”
  • 16Bb: La Nacion’s graphic reconstruction of the ARA San Juan wreck in the Atlantic Ocean
  • 17E: Fernando G. Baptista’s individual portfolio for National Geographic
  • 19: The New York Times’ kids section
  • 20A: The Washington Post’s desktop, mobile, and book presentation of “The Mueller Report Illustrated”

Silver Medals

  • 2Ac: Politico Europe’s A-section design
  • 2Eb: Politiken’s PS section design
  • 3Ga: The New York Times’ “The Women of the 116th Congress” page design
  • 3Ga: The Washington Post’s Afghanistan Papers page design
  • 3Hd: The New York Times’ “The End” page design
  • 4D: The New York Times’ breaking news coverage of the Women’s World Cup
  • 5B: The New York Times’ special anniversary coverage of the moon landing 
  • 5D: The Washington Post’s coverage of the Nationals’ race to the World Series
  • 5C: Politiken’s coverage of Rwanda after 25 years, “The Heart of Darkness”
  • 5E: The New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project”
  • 5G: The New York Times’s cover of the Mueller Report
  • 7Fa: The New York Times’ gatefold presentation of “Your Body Explained”
  • 7Ja: The New York Times’ “The Funny Issue”
  • 7Ja: The New York Times’ “The Fear Issue”
  • 7Ja: The New York Times’ anniversary coverage of the moon landing
  • 8Ea: Andrew Sondem’s individual combination portfolio for The New York Times
  • 8Ec: Tomasz Bochenski’s individual combination portfolio for Naszemiasto
  • 8Fa: The New York Times’s news staff portfolio
  • 9A: The New York Times’ special news coverage of the Democratic Party presidential race
  • 9B: The New York Times’ special news coverage of the Women’s World Cup
  • 10Ab: The New York Times Magazine’s section “The Daily Miracle”
  • 10Be: The New York Times Magazine’s broadsheet and magazine sections for “The 1619 Project”
  • 10Be: The New York Times’ moon landing anniversary sections
  • 12B: National Geographic’s “The Cities Issue”
  • 12C: The Washington Post Magazine’s “Visualizing Racism”
  • 12C: The New York Times Magazine’s “The Climate Issue”
  • 12E: National Geographic’s “Countdown to an Era in Space”
  • 12G: EME’s “City of the Future”
  • 13Aa: Star Tribune’s Donald Trump collage for “The Mueller Report: Drawing a Picture”
  • 13Ca: De Volkskrant’s illustration for “Culture Clash”
  • 13Fa: Star Tribune’s portrait of Nelson Cruz for “Man of La Bomba”
  • 13I: The New York Times’ illustration series for “The Subway-brake Bandit”
  • 13K: Star Tribune’s art direction staff portfolio
  • 14A: Star Tribune’s single photograph for “Chaotic Care”
  • 14A: The New York Times’s single photograph of Nancy Pelosi’s “withering gesture”
  • 14B: Los Angeles Times’ single photograph of the Hong Kong protests
  • 14I: The New York Times Magazine’s photo illustration for “So the internet didn’t turn out the way we hoped”
  • 15A: The New York Times Magazine’s photo series for “The Daily Miracle”
  • 15A: The New York Times’ photo series for “The Women of the 116th Congress”
  • 15A: The New York Times’ photo series for “We Hug the Block”
  • 15A: The New York Times Magazine’s photo series for “Brothers, Sisters, Strangers”
  • 15A: The New York Times’s photo series for “Exhausted”
  • 16Bb: The New York Times’ graphic “A 30-minute delay”
  • 16Bb: The New York Times’ graphic “How big was last Sunday’s protest in Hong Kong?”
  • 16Be: National Geographic’s graphic “The Pacific’s Fiery Ring”
  • 16Be: National Geographic’s graphic “Migration Waves”
  • 16Be: Los Angeles Times’s graphic “The Hollywood Primary”
  • 16Be: National Geographic’s graphic “Contested Heritage”
  • 16Be: National Geographics graphic “Anatomy of a Giant”
  • 17F: National Geographic’s graphic staff portfolio
  • 17F: The New York Times’s graphic staff portfolio
  • 19: The New York Times’ “Past Tense”
  • 19: The Dallas Business Journal’s Book of Lists
  • 19: The Washington Post’s book “The Mueller Investigation Illustrated”
  • 19: The New York Times’ kids sections
  • 19: The New York Times’ multiple covers for “The Women of the 116th Congress”
  • 20B: ESPN’s digital and print presentation of “The Body Issue”
  • 20C: The New York Times Magazine’s digital and print presentation of “A Star is Made”
  • 20C: The New York Times’s digital and print presentation of the moon landing anniversary
  • 20A: The New York Times’ digital and print presentation of “Class of 2000”
  • 20A: The New York Times’ digital and print presentation of “18 Questions, 21 Democrats”

Judges’ Special Recognition

  • The Buffalo News’ consistent high-impact storytelling through sports design
  • B.Z.’s innovative scale in graphics

The database of winners will go live on the website after the results have been verified by SND.

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