2017 Medal comments


Portfolio: Organization

Infographics Staff, The New York Times: “You can get lost in every one of these stories. It’s the complicated made simple and inviting. Each piece hits a different note, features a different media type and a different technically. You can tell they are pushing themselves to use the right media for the right story and the story drives every delivery.”

Information Graphics, Reuters: “It’s superior. There is a delivery of the investigative reporting via the visuals that is on another level. The work is clean and balanced across all categories. They are hitting all the notes: a range of visual pathways, data visualization, video, motion. They are making use of everything. And it’s all strong.”

Graphics: Features and planned coverage

Here’s every total solar eclipse happening in your lifetime, The Washington Post: “We want more coverage to look like this. It’s a healthy balance of information, interaction but at the same time it’s really a personal story. It is intuitive because you don’t need to learn anything in order to interact with it. It pushes the boundary and is pretty close to perfect. The attention to detail is amazing and every design decision was thoughtfully planned out.”


Breaking/Daily News: Single-subject project

Trail of Terror in the Manhattan Truck Attack, The New York Times: “It’s like a hidden timeline; it gives you a better sense of time and space. From a technical sense, it’s involved, and the scrolling makes it unique. It’s exactly what it needs to be to tell a story.”

Thousands cried for help as Houston flooded, The New York Times: “From an execution standpoint, this piece stands above. It approaches breaking news from a personal standpoint, humanizing data. It’s a smart way of annotating that various highlighted points. This piece found a way to push how we tell flood pieces by contextualizing different elements and giving deeper meaning to readers.”

Your photos of a solar eclipse’s journey, The New York Times: “This piece is artistically beautiful. It combines discoverable elements with illustration and curated content. The embedded components are treated nicely and the illustration pulls this ahead of other pieces.”

Poás Volcano Reborn in the Eruption, La Nacion (Costa Rica): “This is a great project in general, but animation and motion design blend together to make it a standout submission. The interaction works well, with strategic prompts to discover more. This is a piece that could have been overwhelming with the amount of content it provided. It walked that line really well, allowing readers to consume information effectively.”

Where are we supposed to go? Scenes from Harvey’s aftermath, Washington Post: “This immersive scrolling piece shows some amazing photojournalism, while being respectful to it with the text. It’s clean and compelling, both with video and visuals. It’s accessible. It works well on mobile. While there are many styles of photo slideshows out there, the execution of this format is significant.”

Breaking/Daily News: Planned coverage

Inauguration, The Washington Post: “This package as a whole is well rounded. It includes different types of media elements that play together nicely. It’s evident this was thoughtfully planned, it never felt repetitive. Although text heavy, it provides a smart way to digest information. It’s a lot of fun to tinker around inside this story.”

Europe’s Milestone Elections, Bloomberg: “This election package comes at storytelling in a direct, descriptive way. Readers can spend a lot of time with the stories and get a deeper meaning as they are interested. This is strong, well paced story telling. Not cloned. The graphic styles are beautiful.”

ESPN NFL Rank, ESPN: “This piece is technically proficient, which made it exciting to consume. The animation of this piece is completely intentional and avoided overwhelming the reader. Furthermore, the mobile experience translates well with the motion design and animation.”

Breaking/Daily News: Non-planned coverage

#Me Too, The New York Times: “This well thought out and powerful piece is engaging at every level. From the moment the page loads, it’s artistically innovative. It combines quotes of people participating in the #MeToo movement with original reporting. Tying this together enhances the story’s the simplicity, making it easy to understand. The interactivity of this piece is intentional; it’s interactive where it makes sense to be interactive. It’s a smart and telling way to use design to tell a story.”

Hurricane Harvey Coverage, The New York Times: “Hurricane Harvey Coverage is a beautifully crafted story covering a devastating event. The multiple stories The New York Times produced are well executed, applying multiple technology techniques and visuals to tell a story. With a story with very saturated coverage, you appreciate that these designers took the extra step to hit things that weren’t being covered elsewhere.”

Features: Single-subject project

Miles of ice collapsing into the sea, The New York Times: “This piece holds with traditional graphics standards, and simultaneously builds above it. The mapping is impressive and it’s paced well. There’s a visual balance between sparsity of color, which lends to the story of what they are trying to show.”

The Body Issue, ESPN: “This is one of the rare times when magazine design is brought online and it just works. The movement is seamless and well-timed, and there’s a fun side to it. It lends itself to mobile really well and doesn’t subtract from the the desktop experience at all. It’s beautifully executed with beautiful photography. Just drop dead gorgeous.”

Touching Gloves, O Globo: “This story has no excess frills. The elements that lend themself to interactivity are very helpful to the story telling. The graphics stretch th limit: they’re clever, they’re unexpected. When you interact with this specific section, there’s a moment of surprise and reward.”

Features: Coverage

Internetting with Amanda Hess, New York Times: “We like the way they approached this: they pulled off making the piece feel simple, even when they had so much to work with. The format of the video in portrait is very much rooted within social media they’re discussing. Everything was packaged nicely within the interface. They brought the world of internet memes as a form of storytelling.”

Antarctica Coverage, New York Times: “Their coverage felt more like an experience and less like a series of stories. It worked out delightfully. They are easy to consume on desktop and mobile. Every piece working to put the reader in this geographic space, which they accomplish through many different techniques.”

Boston. Racism. Image. Reality. The Boston Globe: “The range of coverage around this particular topic and their approach to each one is very thoughtful. All the various elements and pacing are very well integrated. Proving racism with science and data is a tough problem to crack because a lot of times you cannot asses racism in a discrete way. This piece specifically focuses on one city, but doesn’t limit it to a single visual element. They put everything together to present a narrative. This is such an ambitious feat. This is a model for other places looking to tackle similar issues.”

The Quants, The Wall Street Journal: They are taking something that is very dry and very technical and they are making this accessible for a larger population and that is pretty groundbreaking. It’s an ambitious project, but also digestible and easy to navigate. Not only are they trying to describe and explain trading they are also describing computer science. The elements are cohesive and it’s well designed

Hear Me Out, ABC: “This is a good example of making video content interactive. There has been a lot of attempts of how to show a Q and A, and we were moved by the heavy subjects they were talking about. It is entertaining and the questions they are asking are engaging to the audience.”

Rohingya Coverage, Reuters: “This is an example of a piece that not a lot of news organizations can pull off. They created a real relationship with the reader. The scrollytelling was the most powerful pursuit of telling the story, and weren’t just there for bells and whistles. The videos were able to humanize the situation, which can be difficult to navigate in digital spaces. Of all the coverage on this situation, this is the one we had the most visceral reaction to.”

Graphics: Breaking news

Nine rounds a second, The New York Times: “Data sonification is hard, and they did a great job of executing. It’s an interesting take on combining sound and visualization to really drive home the difference between the events to make it feel more visceral — and all on a short timeline. It’s very guttural.”

Tracking Harvey’s destruction path through Texas and Louisiana, The New York Times: “This group of visualizations answers many questions readers might have over the coverage of this story. It doesn’t feel like a lot of data is being dumped into one story. It’s a visually beautiful piece. It worked well on mobile. It includes an impressive interactive heat map with a time element.”

Hurricane Coverage, The Washington Post: “These maps are beautiful. Collectively, they are technically well done, smart, detailed and answer many questions for readers. Individually, the maps cover multiple hurricanes this season, each coming at the same thing (the hurricane) from a different angle. It provided insights on forecasts, history and demographics to name a few.”

Graphics: Features and planned coverage

How Facial Recognition Works, The Wall Street Journal: “This is what digital storytelling is about all about, being able to put yourself in the narrative. It was very innovative and that you are using technology to sort of further your journalism. The step-by-step direction is done really well, and good case of explanatory journalism.”

Coverage of Eclipse, The Washington Post: “They did very different kinds of pieces and each one is explanatory — and each piece is very well done. The pieces aren’t exactly the same, but they are still reminiscent of one another. There is an admirable consistency. Even the social aspect works. It was a very well put together collection of science, explanation and visuals.”

Incarceration By Executive Order, The Washington Post: “The introduction to the story was so compelling from the start and makes you want to immerse yourself in the story, and the whole story is designed to encourage readers from start to finish. It has a variety of graphic elements that work together in style to nicely accompany what is being said. It is a clean and clear example of telling a serious and interesting story.”

Travel the Path of the Solar Eclipse, The Washington Post: “We were impressed with the amount of work that went into putting this piece together. The clear points of reference throughout helped highlight an interesting event in real time. It has clever interaction. Technically this is very well done and stretches the limits of the media.”

What is North Korea trying to hit? The Washington Post: “This is such a good piece of visual analysis that we’ve never seen before. It’s complex, but it doesn’t overwhelm you even though there are so many sources. It’s investigative and creates a well constructed argument and offers analysis with many different parts all contributing to the main argument.”

Cassini’s Grand Tour, National Geographic: “The graphic works are an anchor that takes you on an immersive and beautiful tour. The animations were tasteful and smooth — typically pieces that are animated don’t translate as well to mobile, but here they do. There is a central focus of the article and each piece of the story is an aspect of that.”

Graphics: Motion graphics

“Shape of You” Was 2017’s Biggest Track. Here’s How Ed Sheeran Made It, The New York Times: “The art and the animation in this video serve the story well and help the audience understand what is happening. It is very polished, and its many layers all stack together nicey. The kinetic typography is great and shows great attention to detail. Simple, without overwhelming.”

Did the Turkish President’s Security Detail Attack Protesters in Washington? What the Video Shows, The New York Times: “The work in this piece was groundbreaking. It was super minimal, but it highlighted all the necessary content. The annotation in this video was much more useful than a traditional video. The forensic analysis — backed by huge amounts of data and research — helps the reader understand and make sense of what is happening.”

The Science of Hummingbirds, National Geographic: “We’ve never seen anything quite like this. Motion and annotation sets it apart from the rest of the category. There are so many details that make it as insightful as possible. The slow motion video paired with a timer helps convey how fast a hummingbird actually moves. It’s mesmerizing and captures every miniature detail.”

Graphics: Social media graphics

ESPN Snapchat The Body Issue, ESPN: “It is clear that ESPN took time to reimagine their story for vertical video. The pacing of the text and the production quality were excellent. The interview and dialogue they collected looked like it belonged here. It is consistent and has the ability to stand alone with a wide range of visuals and excellent typographic choices.”

MS 13, The Washington Post: “The creative direction of this particular package was very strong. There is something visceral about the animations. In this piece, they aren’t just retelling a story, instead they take control and set the tone that sets up the piece. It’s a simple, but thoughtful experience, with several immersive aspects.”

Game of Thrones (Snapchat), The Washington Post: “This is a good example of leaning into the platform. The illustrations are intriguing, the subject matter grabs audience attention, and there are easter eggs throughout to make it playful. They are being very creative within the available space.”

Special events: Natural Disaster Coverage

Hurricane Coverage, The Washington Post: “This is a devoted effort to telling more diverse and different coverage that normal disaster coverage. It highlights the moments and days after the disaster. They showed the analytical, more data driven takes on things. It showed a good range of storytelling too.”

Natural Disaster Coverage, The New York Times: “These stories are analytical, they looked beyond the disaster itself — beyond the rainfall. The whole package demonstrated a resourceful way of reporting, by putting faces on natural disaster. The follow ups were strong. The size and scale of the individual pieces were out of the ordinary and highly executed.”

Portfolio: Individual

Heather Donahue, ESPN: “Her design and art direction elevate these stories. They speak to the audience and have impeccable execution. The athletes in these pieces are often considered heroes, and these pieces show them in all their perfections and imperfections. There’s a consistency to the pieces and a visual language throughout. There are not mistakes in this entry.”

Adam Pearce, The New York Times: “This portfolio has incredible breadth and range. The pages help tell a story in a way that words can’t. His usage of data and design and sound as reporting tools takes advantage of all the senses. He took chances cases that could have just been a visualization, but these pieces go the extra step of telling a story themselves.”

Umi Syam, The New York Times: “This work goes beyond expectations of design. Nothing here screams, “This is one of our templates.” She challenged styles in a way that is new and reinvented. There’s a layer of texture and consistency throughout the work. Everything is done intentionally and exactly as it needs to be.”

Portfolio: Organization

National Geographic: “There’s a high level of visuals, editing and consistency across the medium, but there were also moments that were more playful and fun. It shows a great range of what they’re capable of: animation, modeling, explanatory graphics. There are things you see here that you don’t see anywhere else.”

Visual storytelling, Reuters: “These are genuine visual stories. They’re pointing their best investigative reporting toward a visual form and editing. It’s short and compelling. There’s is a lot of imagery, and it doesn’t hang up the technology (and it’s especially good on a phone).”

Presentation Team, The Globe and Mail: “They did a really nice job managing all the disciplines of every projects: their graphics were off the chain, nice photo editing, alternative form storytelling. They get the editing just right. Minimal and clean, not overstated.”

Judging Teams

Features: Emily Chow; Moiz Syed; Bethany Powell; Vitomir Zarkovic
Graphics: Jane Pong (Financial Times); Alyson Hurt (NPR); Lena Groeger (ProPublica);
News: Yue Qiu (MapBox); Tim Wong (Facebook); Ryan Murphy (Texas Tribune)
Alternate: Josh Penrod (The Star Tribune).
World’s Best-Designed: Susan Mango Curtis (Medill Northwestern University); Jason Chiu (The Globe and Mail); Steve Duenes (The New York Times).