2020 Medals

Unanimously voted upon entries were eligible for bronze, silver, and gold medals. These entries push the boundaries of design and technology and represent the cutting edge of the news design industry. Below are gold, silver and bronze medalists from the 2020 competition.

Gold Medals: 12

1b. Story page design — International

The New York Times | Who Gets to Breathe Clean Air in New Delhi?

Judges said: This is a masterclass in multimedia storytelling that perfectly integrates the looping videos with data. They’ve collected their own data and used their own hardware. It’s a very unique angle with a pollution story. There was perfect attention to detail: it’s using a dark background to a great impact, and they use color very sparingly. You can’t pick out anything that’s slightly subpar. It’s cutting edge, it’s what a gold medal should be.

1i. Story page design — Arts, Entertainment, Food, Travel & Lifestyle

The New York Times | The African-American Art Shaping the 21st Century

Judges said: It’s hard to have these stories that are a lot of text, and they dealt with it really well. Something is so good about how they displayed it like a museum. So hard to stop and look at anything on the internet, but this made me stop. It touches that emotional button. It gave me chills when things were scrolled and revealed. To put these prominent voices in one space in this way is groundbreaking.

1j. Story page design — Gender/Identity & Social Issues

NRC MEDIA | Illegal with friends. The lives of Ali and Amadu.

Judges said: The project was incredibly charming, delightful, well executed and surprising. There are a lot of stories about immigration and this was so intimate. You felt like you were getting to know these guys. The way the images were manipulated is an incredible feat that is groundbreaking as is the innovative approach to bring the sketchy style, audio and technical aspect together. I haven’t seen anything quite like it.


2f. Information graphics — Environment & Science

The New York Times | Who Gets to Breathe Clean Air in New Delhi?

Judges said: This piece is rare. It includes graphics that can actually move you in an emotional way. This is the ideal for a graphic story, one that has both a personal touch and nuanced charting visualizations. The haze in the video itself is data that actually matches the charts that are in real time going with the video… I don’t even know how they do that. The whole package feels right to me.

2g. Information graphics — Health/Coronavirus

The New York Times |  Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count

Judges said:In a crisis, we don’t want to overwhelm people for the information they need. This is not a visually flashy piece, but exercises an admirable amount of restraint to give people the most relevant information. You don’t need to think hard how to interpret the information presented. They are clear, concise, and give people the information they need quickly and help people assess what the danger is wherever they live. It was such a monumental effort to collect the data themselves while pulling it together so quickly. They’ve had to adapt, provide more context, and add more useful things to the tracker as time went on. I can imagine gathering this data by state is a mess. This dashboard shaped the visual reporting and data of covid in the U.S. for the Times, and for everyone else. It allowed everyone else to be creative and add flashier things because this piece raised the bar. Making this data publicly available is a service and accomplishment. The way this piece influenced the Times’ reporting is absolutely commendable.

The Washington Post | Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve”

Judges said: The Washington Post’s ‘Flatten the Curve’ story was one of the best pieces of the last year. The animation, charts, and simulations set a standard; this was created early in the process of understanding prevention of spreading coronavirus. It is state of the art because it is perfectly executed, and it was an elegant solution to a complicated problem. People shared this, and it helped people understand the context of prevention. Readers were able to read and think about the real consequences of the charts.

3c. Format: Use of Video in Digital Storytelling/Infographics/Social Media

The Marshall Project | Welcome to the Zo

Screenshot of the Marshall Project's project "The Zo"

Judges said: It has the potential to reach a broader audience because the characters are personal enough where they feel like people you would know … but they’re not quite individual people, so you can almost see yourself in them, which I think is what’s great about the cartoon and graphic novel medium. It offered variety and I love the way it builds on itself. It gets messier but moves to a new frame and you can tell it’s really difficult to kind of execute, so they did such a great job that I wanted to spend time watching them all. I think it definitely stretches the limits usually and technically and I definitely think it’s groundbreaking in form.

3e. Format: Use of Photography or Photo Story

Politiken | Blue Sky

A screenshot of photos from the project "Blue Sky"

Judges said: I had one of the strongest emotional connections to this, despite not having a person in the photographs. I gasped when I got to the grid of all the skies. News outlets should be showcasing stuff like this, absolutely. I was blown away. The sky is all around us, but when you see it through this lens, in this presentation, it makes you pause and appreciate all the different ways that it shows up. We’re in this pandemic, we’re looking for something to spend some time with that feels meaningful. It’s a history project, but it’s so of-the-moment. It was really exciting to see this completely new concept.

4f. Line of Coverage: Long-form series

The New York Times 

How the Virus Got Out | An Incalculable Loss | How the Virus Won | How a Massive Bomb Came Together in Beirut’s Port | Charting an Empire: A Timeline of Trump’s Finances | The Swamp That Trump Built | Who Gets to Breathe Clean Air in New Delhi?

Judges said: With long-form it’s hard to keep readers engaged but they were able to take a massive amount of reporting and inspire a busy reader to make it to the end because of the huge range of these entries. We also appreciated the mastery of the graphics married to video which is difficult and cutting edge. The way they blended the video loops with annotations in the bombing presentation to see the particulates, slowed it down frame by frame to point out what was going on and show the rate at which it happened is spot on. There was also so much reporting about Trump’s financing.The ability to zoom into certain points that provided information on The Apprentice being a big moment but also shows his companies are losing more on a whole in addition to the well done swing animation. A stunning group of long-form visual journalism.

4h. Line of coverage: public service

The New York Times | Public Service — Inequality

Bird’s Eye View of Protests Across the U.S. and Around the World | How Black Lives Matter Reached Every Corner of America | Here Are the 100 U.S. Cities Where Protesters Were Tear-Gassed | The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus | How Decades of Racist Housing Policy Left Neighborhoods Sweltering | Who Gets to Breathe Clean Air in New Delhi? | How the Police Killed Breonna Taylor

Judges said: This is an absolutely insane effort to utilize visual journalism to bring context to huge issues, not just in America, but all over the world. It is amazing that they use a wide range of visual techniques, from drone footage, mapping, and data journalism, to cover a story in every perspective in the best possible way. It is all in service of bringing context to issues that are at the heart of problems in society. The creativity and visual storytelling behind these stories is what we want the future to look like. The way they cover the micro and macro scales of these stories, even in the absence of good information, is so incredibly impressive.

The New York Times | Public Service — trackers

Coronavirus World Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak | Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count | The Pandemic’s Hidden Toll: Half a Million Deaths | See Coronavirus Restrictions and Mask Mandates for All 50 States | 527,000 More U.S. Deaths Than Normal Since Covid-19 Struck | One-Third of All U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Are Nursing Home Residents or Workers | Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker | More Than One-Third of U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Are Linked to Nursing Homes | Tracking the Coronavirus at U.S. Colleges and Universities | Track Coronavirus Cases in Places Important to You | How Full Are Hospital I.C.U.s Near You? | See How the Vaccine Rollout Is Going in Your State

Judges said:What the New York Times accomplished is the definition of public service. They covered every angle possible with trackers, and they updated the trackers consistently as time went on. The Times took on tracking numbers throughout the world, and made the information available for other organizations. Anything that’s possible to track or update, the New York Times does it and does it perfectly. We started to think about what to cover with covid data because they gave us the baseline on how to be excellent. The scale and ambition is a monumental public service. This is the gold standard.

7d. Portfolio: Information graphics (Staff or team)

The New York Times | Non-virus portfolio

Here are the 100 us cities where protesters were tear gassed | N.Y.P.D. Says It Used Restraint During Protests. Here’s What the Videos Show. | How a Massive Bomb Came Together in Beirut’s Port | Biden Wins | Who Gets to Breathe Clean Air in New Delhi? | How the Police Killed Breonna Taylor

Judges said: This portfolio is state of the art. Not only the range of visual excellence, but the range of different topics they cover. They go all in on every topic they presented here in the best way possible. They were able to quality work as coronavirus unfolded. This is a way of rewarding the New York Times for its devotion of resources to visual journalism in order to tell these stories. All of the pieces are perfect and the definition of graphics. In these pieces, there was emotional, creative, and emphatic work.These are the examples we would point to as best of the best.


Silver Medals: 37

1b. Story page design — International

The New York Times | How a Massive Bomb Came Together in Beirut’s Port

Silver medal _ New York Times

Judges said: It was very well executed technically. It’s not easy to integrate 3d and video into a scrolly, and that transition from 3d to satellite image is almost perfect — both on mobile and on desktop. They’ve made a big effort to make it work.  It was a long story and there was a lot, but they really nailed the intro.

1c. Story page design — National

The New York Times | Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count

Judges said: This piece is chocked full of data! It’s pure dashboard design: it’s very straightforward and restrained, but technically and visually a beautiful piece. It makes data visualization accessible and easy. It’s a feat of reporting (look at the bylines!) and it’s powerful because it’s incredibly useful. The data you need to see most is right at top. One of the amazing pieces is the ability to filter down to search for and save your individual county.

1f. Story page design — Environment & Science

The New York Times | Who Gets to Breathe Clean Air in New Delhi?

Judges said: The high level storytelling in this moving piece was done so well, that it caused a bit of self reflection and evoked an emotional response when the reality of children being exposed was told through the powerful lens of graphics and video. This project is diverse and the sheer amount of data collection is impressive.

NRK | Your climate future

Judges said: It’s an incredibly ambitious project with its delightful animations and beautiful storytelling and uses a sense of humor to drive home the serious topic of climate change and how you can be affected. This 355 story piece changes depending on the city and includes a rain gauge that is customized for each city’s total. It uses a traditional scroll in the best way and is equally impressive on mobile.

1g. Story page design — Health/Coronavirus

The New York Times | How the Virus Got Out

Screen shot of NYT's project "How the Virus Got Out"

Judges said: I like the step-by-step process through how the virus spreads. It’s something I’ve never seen before at this level of detail. It’s a great example of data-driven storytelling. The storytelling is good but using that data really enhances the narrative.

Reuters | Stopping the Spread

Screenshot of Reuters' Project "Stopping the Spread"

Judges said: I think this is an exemplary example of scientific communication. It has everything. It is simple in its design but super effective in communicating information that is difficult to grasp. The design of this is streamlined and very, very effective. The design echoes old-school video games. It’s a really good flow between the words and the graphics. The little details are really, really perfect for me. 

1i. Story page design: Arts, Entertainment, Food, Travel & Lifestyle

The Globe and Mail | Canada’s next top chefs

A screenshot of a section of the Globe and Mail's project "Canada's next top chefs." The screen shows a profile of a chef, Jeremy Senaris, along with his signature dish: Bison tataki with chanterelle mushrooms.

Judges said: That warm fall festive feeling right off the bat and it made me hungry so checkmark. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed on a recipe piece as long as this. Even the portraits of the chefs were the same color family. It must have been extraordinarily difficult to art direct this. I find myself wondering what they did first.

TASS | D generation

Screenshot of TASS Russian News Agency's project D Generation

Judges said: When I was going through it I was thinking this is how I wish my textbooks were. I still found myself very captivated by the visual language that they kind of built out. I really like the things that aren’t rectangles and all the overlapping elements and I think that technically that does elevate it.

1I. Story page design: Other

Adresseavisen | Followed

A screenshot of Adresseavisen's project "Followed"

Judges said:  I had an emotional reaction to this story. I really felt like I was being pursued by these stalkers because of the way it was structured. They had a nice pace. The intro was amazing. I felt immediately connected to the people who are being stalked on social media.

2a. Information Graphics — Politics

The New York Times | How the Iowa Caucuses Work 

A screenshot of the New York Times' Project: How the Iowa Caucuses Work. The screen shows cartoon groups of people gathering in four groups inside a school gymnasium.

Judges said: There is so much election coverage, but this an unusual, fun and a joyful take on covering the Iowa Caucus. The gym background was effective and they successfully combined real images with cartoons. Some of our judges previously found understanding the caucus confusing, but because of the good explanation this judge became a big fan of this presentation and felt they got the most complete understanding and it drew their interest. Because of its originality, storytelling and well done focus, the infographic earned high praise from the judges.

2b. Information graphics — International

The New York Times | How the Virus Got Out

Judges said: I assumed it was the intro to the written story, when I got to the end, I was like “heck yeah!” It’s an entirely visually driven piece. The transitions are smooth and the animations are not jarring, which is one of the hardest things to do when you’re moving the camera so much. Even though the transitions are fast, I always have some frame of reference. It was memorable and I could refer to it visually in detail even months later for how the virus spread in China. This is one of the examples of what I want the future of visual journalism to look like.

The New York Times | Who Gets to Breathe Clean Air in New Delhi

Judges said: This is the most surprising visualization I’ve seen so far. You can’t find anything like these split screen comparisons. We’ve seen so many charts before, but in this there are people with the charts, and I can see how the two connect in real life. Every little video gives you a little hint of the story of the social and economic difference on one side versus the other. It’s absolutely brilliant; I would love a world where visual storytelling looks like this.

2c. Information Graphics — National

The New York Times | How the Virus Won

Judges said: This is technically impressive. I appreciate the 3D in this one. Sometimes 3D is glitchy or jumpy, but this is really smooth and pushes the boundaries of the medium. This is technologically impressive, and a good explainer on a national level of how this spread. It’s a good story on its own. The fact that they jumped on this story so early in the pandemic is worthy of recognition.

The New York Times | How the Police Killed Breonna Taylor

Judges said: This was a tough video to get through. You couldn’t see this event happen any other way because there were no cameras on the police officers, so this was a good use of 3D visualization. This was a comprehensive look; they took the time to rebuild it and no one else did. This is an important story, and the reconstruction was careful and tactful. Well executed.

The New York Times | An Incalculable Loss

Judges said: The human icons with the anecdotes humanize the subject. There’s a dynamic feel to the staggering of the subjects and the shadows. The anecdotes of the people take it over the top. I was almost moved to tears when I saw it for the first time. A lot of treatments would’ve done an anecdote for the first ten percent, but they did this for every subject and made it more powerful. This is the closest I’ve seen to anyone visualizing the magnitude and loss.

2f. Information Graphics — Environment & Science

National Geographic | Everest from Above

A screenshot of the National Geographic's silver medal winning project, Everest from Above.

Judges said: What was so impressive about this piece was the clarity of the imagery. I could see places without so much restraint trying to go wild with this, but National Geographic didn’t. This is a perfect use of the tapping format. 

2g. Information graphics — Health/Coronavirus

The New York Times | This 3-D Simulation Shows Why Social Distancing Is So Important

Silver Medal _ The New York Times

Judges said: This came out in the midst of the first wave, when people were still not considering using masks. I can’t think of a better way of doing it than this visual explanation. It was memorable, slick, well-designed and to the point. It’s visual proof of why you need to keep your distance from everyone else. The 3D portion has a lot, and it’s not just an effect, it helps people understand.

3a. Format: Use of Original/Commissioned Illustration (single)

The Washington Post | Pieces of a president

Screenshot of an illustration of Former President Barack Obama from the Washington Post

Judges said: The attention to detail was just delightful. I can imagine looking at this in a museum. To get up really close and then have the artifact conveniently located to my left not only elevated the art but kept me interested in each detail. I want to touch it and so rarely in a digital medium do you want to touch something. To have that connection between the senses I think is very powerful.

3c. Format: Use of Video in Digital Storytelling/Infographics/Social Media

South China Morning Post | China’s Rebel City: The Hong Kong Protests

Silver Medal _ SCMP _ China’s Rebel City - The Hong Kong Protests
Judges said: I thought it did an incredible job capturing the sentiments of the people and the amount of shots they got were just incredible too. Pairing the interviews with the source footage, I want to go back and watch it in full later so I think that’s the sign of a really masterfully told story. It really spoke to framing a situation well and what was journalistically responsible and there is some merit to be had in how they did that.

Ruptly | Dyatlov Group’s Journal: The Last Page

Screenshot of Ruptly's project

Judges said: Every element I looked at added to the story. The video is great, it’s stylized and done well and I appreciated the amount of assets, the archival stuff. As a complete experience, it was really nice. If you didn’t watch the video, you felt you were missing a part of it or missing the part of doing your own investigation, and I wanted to take a red string and go pin here and then pin here. The videos are the narrative in this piece instead of the text being the narrative.

3e. Format: Use of Photography or Photo Story

San Francisco Chronicle | Theo

A screenshot of the SF Chronicle's project: Theo, Homeless at age 7.

Judges said: Felt this little guy’s frustration. Really eye-opening. You thought it was about this one little boy, but it became a much more universal and layered story about the system and school and pills. Great driving character. I love that they captured so many different contexts. The raw emotions he probably feels. It was really touching. If you were desensitized in any way to this issue, he was a really powerful character who may get us back to thinking about the implications of an issue like this. They got so many photos on this page, but it didn’t feel like too many. The variety of photos, the presentation, really followed his life story. It’s incredibly hard to embed with a family and act like there’s no one there watching, and this was a high-stress situation, not knowing where he was going to sleep that night. You forget the photographer did all this during the pandemic. Emotionally it does break a lot of ground. The photography literally carries you through the entire package. It was so well selected and curated.

4a. Line of Coverage — Breaking News

Reuters | California wildfires coverage

A devastated West Coast | Air Attack | Shifting Smoke | Up in Smoke

Reuters-LOC Silver

Judges said: This is really pushing the craftsmanship for breaking news graphics. The variety of visuals and coherence of the overall visuals package, it’s like they did it all planned in advance. The variety of the different visual techniques is impressive and it all fits as an overall package.

4c. Line of Coverage: Coronavirus

The New York Times | Coronavirus — Health

How Coronovirus hijacks your cells | This 3-D Simulation Shows Why Social Distancing Is so Important | Coronavirus Testing | Could my symptoms be Covid-19 | What Happens to Viral Particles on the Subway | Charting a coronavirus infection | Masks work. Really. We’ll show you. | How the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Works

Judges said: These pieces have incredible range and all are executed at a level that is the highest of our industry. The storytelling is elevated and shows a broad range while the simulations and animations are outstanding and demonstrate range and a high level of execution. The animation explains exactly what we need to know — the augmented reality of the  mask dove into the fiber while the train represented news you can use since NYC was one of the hardest hit cities and the subway is a critical transportation piece to many.

The New York Times | The New York Times Covid Line of Coverage

‘We Take the Dead From Morning Till Night’ | In Harm’s Way | An Incalculable Loss | What Back to School Might Look Like in the Age of Covid-19 | Behind these doors lie some of the sickest coronavirus patients at Houston’s largest hospital | Masks work. Really. We’ll show you how | Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count 

Judges said: This piece was effective and certain parts resembled a traditional newspaper which felt intimate and not gimmicky. They were able to solve hard design problems like using the Italian obits and using animation with mugs. The access in the hospital made the video feel personal. The portfolios range was wide and the typography is really strong and beautifully done. Sometimes when you do data based design it’s easy to forget but they did a beautiful job. The photo presentations as well contained photos that were just heartbreaking.

Reuters | Coronavirus graphics coverage

Speed Science | How coronavirus hitched a ride through China | Anatomy of Singapore’s outbreak | The pace of death | Stopping the spread | Vaccine bootcamp | How the novel coronavirus has evolved | COVID-19 Global tracker

Judges said: Interesting line of coverage as its varied presentations — some based on science, others were more illustrative and charming — worked together well. The vaccine bootcamp made us want to learn more and tackled a subject that makes most readers tune out. They did a great job of keeping it compelling while tackling scientific terms. Included in the presentations was an effective simulation which was interactive and gave the reader the ability to run different simulations and see the result.

4f. Line of Coverage: Long-form series

The Marshall Project | Mauled: When Police Dogs Are Weapons

Mauled: When police dogs are weapons | When Police Violence is a Dog Bite | The Rise and Fall of a Celebrity Police Dog | We’re tracking police dog bites across the country | Police Use Painful Dog Bites To Make People Obey | The City Where Someone Was Bitten by a Police Dog Every 5 Days

Judges said: The graphics are awesome and tied the series together well. This was able to draw a strong consistent aesthetic across the whole package with the illustration of the dog’s mouth agape was a powerful image. The type has bites taken out which is cool — they thought of everything. Even the landing page was well done. The illustration style has a lot of movement. It’s sketchy and captured action well which is what you need in a story about maulings.

5d. Product — Best new or redesigned product, site, page or app

The Markup | Blacklight

A screenshot of The Markup's project, "Blacklight," a real-time website privacy inspector. The screen shows a search bar where users can enter a website address.

Judges said: The functionality of The Blacklight is entertainment and a product that people will use over and over. Behind the scenes, there is high technical proficiency and methodology used to calculate quick, accurate results for the users. This product benefits from simplicity — it’s meant to do a thing and it does it perfect.

6. Experimental design

Helsingin Sanomat | Climate Crisis Font 

Judges said: I love everything about it. The idea of using a font to tell a story, especially when you tie it into icebergs and the geographic location of the publisher and how intune their audience is to this. This is probably one of my favorite things I’ve seen so far. It is an extraordinarily confident piece of type design, and it’s groundbreaking. From conception to execution, it’s done well. 

7a. Portfolio: Story Page Design (Individual)

Samuel Granados | Reuters 

Ventilators: a bridge between life and death? | New normal: How far is safe enough | Virus exposes gaping holes in Africa’s health systems | Understanding Brexit

Judges said: This portfolio is very effective and beautifully designed. It shows consistent mastery of art direction and graphics across the board and every element beautifully done and uses extraordinary color choice which allows each piece to stand on its own. It is impressive to see both the design and development executed on all those levels. Very talented.

Gabriel Gianordoli | The New York Times

The African-American Art Shaping the 21st Century | How Black Lives Matter Reached Every Corner of America | The 25 Greatest actors of the 21st Century (So Far) | Masks Work. Really. We’ll show you how. | How to Vote | A Picture of Change for a World in Constant Motion

Judges said: Mastery of different types of storytelling across the board. Some pieces made you feel like you were in the room while others felt like visiting a museum gallery. The World in Constant Motion was impressive in that the images felt like they floated on the same plane. The designer was also able to solve difficult design problems when the images could have been presented as static images. The animations are done well and the range of abilities is really incredible.

7b. Portfolio – Story Page Design (Staff or team)

The New York Times

‘We Take the Dead From Morning Till Night’ | An Incalculable Loss | How the Virus Won | How a Massive Bomb Came Together in Beirut’s Port | Designed to Deceive: Do These People Look Real to You? | Who Gets to Breathe Clean Air in New Delhi?

Screenshot of NYT's project, "An Incalculable Loss"

Judges said:  It demonstrates top-level craftsmanship for a variety of narrative visual structures. Each of these pieces is distinctive in its own way and it’s a strong overall package. Each of these projects used technology and design to fit the narrative structure and not the other way around. It’s all part of the storytelling.

7c. Portfolio: Information graphics (individual)

Harry Stevens | The Washington Post

Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve” | A vaccine, or a spike in deaths: How America can build herd immunity to the coronavirus | Scientists have a powerful new tool for controlling the coronavirus: Its own genetic code. | Behind the tally, names and lives

Judges said: That “slow the spread” graphic is so effective, and he was one of the first people do it. It was the perfect graphic at the perfect moment. It’s noteworthy how many languages they translated it into. His other coronavirus pieces had this playfulness about them, that I found very refreshing for the topic. Getting people out of their heads, telling people that yes, this is scary, but we’re going to explain the scientific things to you in a clear way. I thought he was consistently approachable in both of these graphics. There’s care toward a balance of graphics and text, rather than graphics for graphics sake. The transitions, the good use of scrollytelling — which can be gratuitous at times — here, it was just very seamless. The one where it was zooming in and out of people, there was a lot of subtle animation there, a lot of technically interesting things that always feel like a step above. An extra layer of polish and attention to detail that makes it a cohesive experience.

7d. Portfolio: Information graphics (Staff or team)

The New York Times | Virus portfolio

Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count | An Incalculable Loss | How the Virus Won | What Happens to Viral Particles on the Subway |Masks work. Really. We’ll show you. | How Full Are Hospital I.C.U.s Near You?

Judges said: There are many incredible individual pieces in this portfolio that helped define what is excellent and what is expected for this topic.The storytelling through animation, maps, time, 3D animation, and tracking graphics makes an amazing portfolio. Ambitious and impressive work.

The Washington Post 

This is what fuels West’s infernos | Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve” | What Bloomberg’s half-billion dollars in campaign spending would cost you on your budget | The battle for Notre Dame | How turnout and swing voters could get Trump or Biden to 270 | A low-flying ‘show of force’

Judges said: The Washington Post Graphics Team did a good job of putting their strongest work together, showcasing every aspect of their strengths. Their techniques are among some of the best we’ve seen in the contest, there is a range of forms and techniques that are well executed. The “Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to ‘flatten the curve’” was a standout as one of the best this year. 

7e. Portfolio: Art direction (Individual)

The Marshall Project | Celina Fang

Present-day images of four members of a family, overlaid with an old photograph of the family
The True Costs of Deportation
 | She Said Her Husband Hit Her. She Lost Custody of Their Kids | Mississippi Prisons: No One’s Safe, Not Even the Guards | Two Families, Two Fates: When the Misdiagnosis is Child Abuse | They Agreed To Meet Their Mother’s Killer. Then Tragedy Struck Again | Mauled: When Police Dogs Are Weapons

Judges said: I was so impressed with the images changing; I thought that was so smart. Every piece was so different yet felt cohesive. I really appreciated all the different techniques she used to demonstrate some really sensitive topics. There are so many layers to their choices, this single-subject publication. I feel everything is really on-brand with style and depth of storytelling.

7f. Portfolio: Art Direction (Staff or team)


The race gap | Vaccine bootcamp | 2020 Clippings from the longest year | Understanding Brexit | Ventilators: a bridge between life and death?

Judges said: These presentations tackle a wide range of subjects and nail them. The pinboard style was fun to read and the compositions were nicie. These are so different but all the designs were well done. When they need to represent a dire situation, they were able to show restraint as they did with the tritone color palette used for The Race Gap presentation which was impactful.

7h. Portfolio – Combination / design, graphics, art direction

The Pudding

The Infinite Monkey Theorem Experiment | An Illustrated Guide to Masked Wrestlers | The Physical Traits that Define Men and Women in Literature | Campaign Colors | Who’s in the crossword | How Bad is Your Spotify

A screenshot of one of the Pudding's project, "An illustrated guide to masked wrestlers"

Judges said: This is the kind of visual journalism that I want to keep seeing. I want us to be free with our creativity and explore boundaries. The Pudding gives us that freedom. They definitely push the boundaries of what interactivity can achieve in terms of communicating ideas. I love that they’re unique. And their young, conversational visual tone is very interesting to me.

Bronze Medals: 102

1a. Story page design — Politics

The New York Times | The Swamp that Trump Built

Judges said: The New York Times knit together the difficult, complex subject of the web of the swamp very well. The storytelling showed the depth of Trump’s influence which was paired with an innovative approach to visual storytelling by implementing scrollytelling, intentional use of zoom and annotations on steroids.

Reuters | Understanding Brexit

Judges said: We hear a ton about Brexit and it scrambles your brain. It’s a complex subject, but Reuters did an outstanding job of explaining that complexity by incorporating fun, beautifully executed illustrations paired with nice flourishes and a compelling story that kept us engaged. Their attention to the mobile presentation was equally as impressive.

1b. Story page design — International

Reuters | How powerful was the Beirut blast?

Judges said: This one is experimental and creative. We’ve seen quite a number of long vertical graphs that use scroll-through but this was memorable because of the scale.

1c. Story page design — National

DR | Secrets, Death and Instagram

Judges said: We haven’t seen this way of pulling a reader through a story. The story itself is tragic and compelling, but the design leads you along without hijacking from the experience. The line drawing throughout is not heavy-handed, it’s delicate. It creates a nice intimacy and a familiarity of journaling; it’s true to what the story is about. After this is over I can’t wait to look at how they built this.

1d. Story page design — Local issues

Propublica | Hawaii’s Beaches Are Disappearing

Judges said: The start of the piece, colors and everything, you get drawn into it. They got the pace of the piece right; the hyper-locality of it is right; the way they built it and placed the visuals in the story is just right.

Reuters | Up in smoke: California wine country counts the cost of wildfire damage

Judges said: It is extremely well edited and that’s a huge part of why this piece is effective. It’s a testament to  being very picky about the visuals we choose. The maps were stunning and the illustrations and graphics meld well together.

1e. Story page design — Business/Finance, Technology & Transportation

Los Angeles Times |  Toxic chemicals on planes add to COVID-19 travel woes

Judges said: The design elements helped make the dense topic really readable, and helped me understand how it impacts my own life. The graphic boxes about what smells like dirty socks … that’s the service element.

Radio-Canada |  La « nouvelle normalité » à l’ère de la COVID-19

Judges said: Judges said: Super clean execution. The line drawings are great; the pacing is really wonderful. I loved clearly seeing COVID’s impact on all of the places that we want to be.

1f. Story page design — Environment & Science

The Washington Post | Safe Passage

Judges said: Watching the story progress and seeing the impact when wildlife and civilization collide brought a sense of empathy for the animals who used to have free rein as well as a sense of empathy for the human element and the effect of a collision. The opening animation drew us in and we appreciated the use of map and elevating imagery.

1g. Story page design — Health/Coronavirus

The New York Times |  How the Virus Won

Judges said: The use of movement for the particles helps make them very memorable. And it makes us feel like these are actual people moving around whereas a static map wouldn’t be able to do that. They use movement in a really nice way here.

Reuters | Vaccine Bootcamp

Judges said: This is the most accessible thing I’ve seen to anyone under 20. This is a really excellent execution. The attention to detail and animation is second to none. The illustration is gorgeous and the design is really approachable for people of different age groups.

1h. Story page design — Sports

ESPN | Scars of the NFL’s old QB guard

Judges said: ESPN created a fascinating piece that drew the attention of those of us who aren’t sports fans. The overall design and execution was well done and we appreciated the clarity of the presentation and the ease of use with an interesting zoom that highlighted the athletes joints and muscles which pushed the medium.

1i. Story page design — Arts, Entertainment, Food, Travel & Lifestyle

DR (Danish Broadcast Corporation) | Extreme sports of art: Watch ballet like never before

Judges said: When it first started moving I was like I’ve seen this kind of treatment before and it always works really well, but the kind of “a ha!” moment for me was the added annotation later of this is the move you should be focusing on. So, I think that kind of pushed it over the edge, just the attention to detail to take you through those paces. This was probably incredibly difficult to film and light properly to do the background and make it more interactive so I was impressed.

DR (Danish Broadcast Corporation) | Learn to love classical music

Judges said: News organizations know that we need to engage younger audiences more … and I think this does a great job of speaking to a younger audience and doing it through engaging visuals and media. Fun is a good key word I think for me too and given the story I think it’s an important keyword as well.

DR (Danish Broadcast Corporation) | The dresses that tell the story of Queen Margrethe’s path to the throne

Judges said: This 3D animation, I  was like “ah, yes!” when they kind of scrolled into the brooches and the details were really nice. I thought it was really well executed and was really delighted to say “oh there are more characters I can explore” so it was a really pleasing experience.

The Globe and Mail | Hidden Canada

Judges said: Really beautifully designed and great use of grid. It has a great service component to it so it sat high on my list of what merits an award. That serviceability again is something that users will come back to.

Helsingin Sanomat | The City is Ours

Judges said: A really nice angle. I wish I did that. The circle map — this is the moment where it got me. I thought, that’s a pretty cool type of locator map, and then after that, I noticed all of the shots that were also circles.

Los Angeles Times | A guide to the internet

Judges said: It was very “of the moment” when it came out. I think it was one of the first fun projects that we saw come out at the beginning of the pandemic. It feels so hard to design for this era, and they did it. The rabbit holding up the sign that says support our journalism, and when you hover there, the newspaper emoji shows up. The pictures turning into ASCII art, the font changing in the header. So many little things that delighted me so much.

TASS Russian News Agency | Dante’s circles

Judges said: I saw the diamond wayfinding tips, the circles coming over people’s faces, and I thought, I could get into this. I love the transitions between slides and the consistency with illustration, particularly on desktop; I love when you can see multiple columns — a nod to print design. A really great example of side scrolling where they made it work well. A better experience on mobile could have pushed this even further.

1k. Story page design — Protests

The Washington Post | Helicopters: A low-flying ‘show of force

Judges said: This was quite integrated between the visuals and narrative structure.  It’s not just a timeline, it deals with large amounts of geographic data and includes video pop-ups, all of which make it stand out under breaking news deadlines.

2a. Information Graphics — Politics

Bloomberg | Bloomberg News 2020 U.S. Election Results

Judges said: The visualization in this presentation impressed us. From the river that provided a sense of place to the simple straight forward page design it was well done. The gradient was visually interesting and we liked the innovative snail chart packed a lot of information in a small place. The cartogram hybrid, too, added even more context.

The New York Times | Immigrant Neighborhoods Shifted Red as the Country Chose Blue

Judges said: The use of directional arrows caught our eyes. Not only did The Times use this treatment effectively to tell a good story, they went the distance by incorporating a regional analysis while working at a granular level. The level of annotation throughout was thoughtful.

The New York Times | Presidential Election Results: Election Needles

Judges said: Even though this has been done previously, it’s still an original in that nobody else is doing it and putting their weight behind it. The New York Times continues to improve on the original and makes it better by adding more nuance and breakdowns. The whole package contains great context which was enhanced by an extra layer from reporters. The charts are well done and the page is clean. A good example of bringing statistics and journalism together.

The New York Times | Biden Wins

Judges said: The level of elevation and execution on something that could have been conventional made this version an improvement from its previous iteration. Incredibly difficult technically, this tried and true election tracker continues to elevate and inform. Its visual aesthetic is beautiful.

The New York Times | The Swamp That Trump Built

Judges said: The gentle 3D transitions integrate beautifully as you navigate through the project. It’s been pared down and the elements of the project work well together. And the design on it was very strong as well!

The Washington Post | How to vote

Judges said: This is a good example of the intersection of tech and service journalism. The form is simple but the visualization aggregates a lot of information in a legible way. It’s simple to use and features an impressive mobile display where a vast amount of people are likely to view the information. The integration of robotext throughout the piece is done well. 

2b. Information Graphics — International

The New York Times | How a Massive Bomb Came Together in Beirut’s Port

Judges said: There are so many details — we were stunned with every scroll I took. Going through this, we’ve seen details we haven’t seen in those videos before, and there were a lot of them on the internet. The 3D transitions are hard to do and they do them well. The mix of text when it needs to be text and annotated video when it needs to be video really elevates this type of visual explanations without a doubt.

2c. Information Graphics — National

Morgen Post | North west east south or completely different

Judges said: The story takes an important anniversary for Germany and tells it in an interesting and interactive way. It was easy to consume and fun to spend time with. I liked the guides they provided, they were thoughtful and nice. What made it consumable was the interaction with the scissor on desktop.

The New York Times | Track coronavirus cases in places important to you

Judges said: Trackers should let you localize the county, but this one expands upon that concept, and that makes it much more useful and something you return to. It is really smart and gives the ability to make comparisons based on location. So many of us have been so far from our families, and it’s a good way to know what’s going on where the people you love are.

2D. Infographics Local Issues

Helsingin Sanomat | Who benefits from housing price control system?

Judges said: I love how they started with this very organic grid and turned it into a cleaner grid. The transition is original and terrifically elegant. The work is hand-coded and crafted. This is not a standard visualization, there is a lot of effort in it. Everything is so polished and packaged together.

2e. Information Graphics — Business/Finance, Technology and Transportation

The New York Times | What Happens to Viral Particles on the Subway

Judges said: This provoked a visceral reaction from me. The way it was set up, I could see myself in the subway car, and just thinking about the past times I was in a subway car makes me feel paranoid. I was able to put myself in the graphic and situation they were modeling and it helped me understand the different pieces at play.

2f. Information Graphics — Environment & Science

National Geographic | Bodies in Motion

This is the bar when it comes to an infographic approach. It’s so fun to look at — this is what journalists should aim for.

The New York Times | How Decades of Racist Housing Policy Left Neighborhoods Sweltering

This is the whole journalistic package, it’s a really great example of storytelling combined with a map, and has a broader context. The maps really help to paint the crucial regional picture of this issue, and do it in an elegant way.

Reuters | Air attack

Judges said: This piece was so clear about this topic, and the maps were really effective — I feel like I learned a lot in a short amount of time. The work is so polished. The illustrations are a great mix with really granular visualizations on the maps.

Reuters | Sizing up Australia’s bushfires

Judges said: It’s really straightforward, but it really gets the point across. It’s wild to see Paris get swallowed up in this visualization. It was effective for what it was trying to do and takes you as far as you can go without having a lot of inner activity.

Reuters | World’s Biggest Iceberg heads for disaster

Judges said: This piece gives me a sense of impending doom. All of the pieces came together effectively to tell the story and alert readers of what is at stake.

South China Morning Post | Coconut harvesters or slaves 

The Washington Post | Safe Passage

Judges said: This piece was perfect for showing an animal’s journey. It was the right form to show that progression, and the scrolling was just right for the data it was trying to express. 

The Washington Post | This is what fuels West’s infernos

Judges said: This piece utilizes zooming in and out really effectively. It takes the viewer through a lot of different methods for displaying geographical data, yet is presented clearly as well. The cartography is masterful, and the choice to focus on a school — something that is really important to the community — makes it all the more powerful.

2g. Information Graphics — Environment & Science

La Nación | COVID-19 Speed of transmission monitor: comparisons by country

Judges said: This sends a strong message to other newspapers in the Latin world that this is the kind of data journalism (related to covid) that they should be doing. I want Latin data journalism to look like this in the future: technically, aesthetically excellent, and very well crafted. It’s an original.

The New York Times | Coronavirus world map: tracking the global outbreak

Judges said: There’s so much work in the data. It was an incremental piece that started with a few elements, and it grew over time. It is surrounded by very good context. I want future dashboards to look like this. It’s clean, gives context, but it’s not overwhelming. Every outlet in the world made a visualization after them, it set a standard for the whole world in real time. Commendable standard set.

The New York Times | An Incalculable Loss

Judges said: This story is a human counterpoint to the straightforward visualizations other organizations do around the coronavirus. There have been a lot of visualizations around death, and sometimes it’s a problem to show dots when they represent people in stories. This is definitely the best representation we’ve seen out there of memorializing this milestone with the 100,000 lives lost. The illustrated wall of people feels organic. The texture of the illustrations are warm and visceral. The amount of text is perfectly chosen, it’s not easy to put life into three or four words.

The New York Times | How the Virus Got Out

Judges said: This piece is a standout as a wholly visual piece and doesn’t lack for not having a further story attached. The execution on it was excellent.

Reuters | Covid-19 global tracker

Judges said: We have so many trackers, this one stands out because it’s so well designed. You have to change and adapt those graphics all the time and it’s still so polished. There’s a lot of detail and nuance in these well edited graphics. The data is very simplified and there’s a lot of context throughout. We’ve seen so many dashboards, but this is how I want dashboards to look like.

The Washington Post | A vaccine, or a spike in deaths: How America can build herd immunity to the coronavirus

Judges said: The scroll on this piece is original, I’ve never seen something scroll as easily as this. I don’t think I have ever seen anything like this done in this way, like how if Bob is immune, it can help Alice and/or Charlotte from getting sick.

Zeit Online | Why is the risk of coronavirus transmission so high indoors?

Judges said: ‘Why is the risk of coronavirus transmission so high indoors’ does not bury the lede: it sets up the reader right at the top with the game of the probability of being infected with coronavirus in a room. The reader can change the room, play with the factors that are most important in the virus’s spread, and helps readers to understand the story in a better way. This has a retro vibe to the design, but a million times better. It is well executed and mindful in its use of isometric perspective. This is a relatable, accessible piece in everyone’s life. The animation is responsive, working seamlessly and flawlessly.

2j. Information Graphics — Gender/Identity & Social Issues

The New York Times | Faces of Power: 80% Are White, Even as U.S. Becomes More Diverse

Judges said: The strength of this piece is in its simplicity and how straightforward it is. It’s not abstracted in any way, which helps it tell a powerful story. All of this aside is impressive aside from the sheer amount of faces and work in Photoshop to put this all together.

Reuters | The race gap

Judges said: This story explained systematic racism in an effective way. The consistent use of color and illustration that elevated the project overall. It’s a nice execution of illustration and the medium.

2k. Information Graphics — Protests

CNN | How American police gear up to respond to protests

Judges said: The video and images were visceral in the way they should be, but paired with the more sober, clear, and in-depth infographics. Nailed the execution of the visualization. It was cohesive and used a nice mix of video, photo, and diagrams. I liked the pacing of the piece, it transitioned from live footage to explainers well.

The New York Times | How the Philadelphia Police Tear-Gassed a Group of Trapped Protesters

Judges said: This showed how widespread these acts of police aggression were and captured it in a powerful way. It highlighted the events as it happened but took the chaos out of it to make it more understandable. It built a scene.

The New York Times | Here are the 100 us cities where protesters were tear gassed

Judges said: This showed how widespread these acts of police aggression were and captured it in a powerful way. It highlighted the events as it happened but took the chaos out of it to make it more understandable. It built a scene.

The Washington Post | Helicopters: A low-flying ‘show of force’

The integration of the video and maps are well done; the synchronicity of the maps and video are clever and difficult to do. This made it clear what was happening on this day, and it is indicative of something that was happening in a lot of big cities. The presentation is very nice and immersive.

 3a. Format: Use of Original/Commissioned Illustration (single)

Los Angeles Times | Coronavirus stole the sweet magic of kissing. Will we ever get it back?

Screenshot of illustration from the LA Times' project: "Will we ever kiss??

Judges said: A great example of playing on this level of intimacy and how impacted we are and how beautiful we all are on the inside. Hit the nail on the head for me and it was beautiful.

3b. Format: Use of Original/Commissioned Illustrations (multiple)

The Undefeated | Racist Monuments Reimagined

Judges said: I said, ‘Oh that’s nice’. And then I clicked and I was like, ‘Holy shit! This is awesome’. It was a really interesting way of modifying the photo to present an alternative.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation | ‘I’m terrified’: what it’s like as a woman locked up in a men’s prison

Judges said: It is so powerful and it was so well done. They thought through the illustrations so well and the fact that they commissioned someone that identifies as transgender is so important. It did its job. Some of the illustrations were more conceptual and really powerful. Technically it’s smooth.

3c. Format: Use of Video in Digital Storytelling/Infographics/Social Media

The New York Times | Inside the Fight to Save Houston’s Most Vulnerable

Judges said: I think it was one of the very few to get really personal with people in the ICU. I think that they delivered a really rich experience with video kind of leading the more in depth part. I like giving the user control of how deeply to engage with any of the characters listed. The whole package was really complementary to each other and I think hearing the voices of patients was a big plus for me.

Dagens Nyheter | Dreams of Disco

Judges said: I think this was a joy to watch for me. I really liked the framing of the moms not just as moms but as people who have passions. To see women in the spotlight like this as well was phenomenal.

Seattle Times | Disappearing Daughters

Judges said: I think that this is another one with lots of different elements but the stuff that they captured in video makes the other stuff sing. Even the looping video at the top of the piece brings you in.

3e. Format: Use of Photography or Photo Story

New York Times | America At Hunger’s Edge

Judges said: It felt like you were in these people’s homes. It was incredibly personal and handled with care. It’s a really powerful, in-depth look into people’s lives.

NCR | Behind the swing doors: Photographs from the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit at Jeroen Bosch Hospital in the Netherlands

Judges said: I appreciated the choice of going black and white. How busy this stuff is, the piles of cables, the black and white helps you focus on the people. This shot — you’re looking at the nurses and doctors through the window; it was a vignette that I had not seen before. This is an image that’s going to stick with me, in a space that’s very tough to photograph.

Politiken | The Abnormal

Judges said: There’s a painterly quality to these photographs, and a sense of dignity that you don’t often see, very soft color palettes. I definitely paused on each photo. I was really glad that the text didn’t go over the photos. There’s so much beauty captured in each portrait.

The Washington Post | Early Voting Lines

Judges said: I feel like every photo desk is like, Election Day, how do we do it differently? The opening line says that lines are a barrier, and I love this as an alternate take on something that you have to photograph every year. It was a surprising take, an interesting way to look at this recurring event.

Helsingin Sanomat | One More Photo

Judges said: I thought it was really innovative to project the pictures on him. It feels like you get inside of his head a little bit. He looks like a character. Even though the format is repeated a bit, I didn’t get tired of looking at him.

Politico | When the Protest Wave Crashed on D.C.

Judges said: I really like the photo selections, the symbolism in some of the shots. They were on the ground for these moments and they got the big picture, too.

3i. Format: Multimedia Elements — Use of Maps

The New York Times | Immigrant neighborhoods shifted red as the country chose blue

Judges said: I’ve come to expect this cartographic mastery from the New York Times. This is an excellent map; the separation between the layers is incredible. They step you through how to read the story in a helpful way while not overwhelming you. It is inventive with the layers of interest and tells the story in a way I haven’t seen before.

The New York Times | The True Colors of America’s Political Spectrum Are Gray and Green

Judges said: This can empower cartographers to pitch unusual types of ideas derived from cartography, and inspiration to do more with remote sensing techniques in journalism. I want map makers and cartographers and graphics editors and think of maps and cartography outside of the bounds we put them in. This story is imaginative and revealing, and it is a creative use of the medium. It is interesting and a technical accomplishment.

The Washington Post | This is what remains of the school in California 

Judges said: The maps and effects are amazing. This piece has so many types of mapping visualizations that are impressive and original. The wide range of techniques used and how well-executed they are elevates the piece.

3i. Format: Multimedia Elements — Use of Data

The New York Times | 260,000 Words, Full of Self-Praise, From Trump on the Virus

Judges said: I like this one because it was breaking down in aggregate what Trump was saying instead of responding to one thing he said. A little less reactive. Captivating and interesting.

Reuters | Stopping the spread: Reaching herd immunity through vaccination

Judges said: The visual language of the piece was really strong. I read the entire methodology because I was interested in how they built their model. This kind of simulation isn’t original, but it struck the balance between respecting scientific modeling and being accessible. I like the distancing section a lot, visualizations are really well done, tells a good story. It walks you through everything.

The New York Times | Track Coronavirus Cases in Places Important to You

Judges said: A lot of the ways of using data here, it’s really effective at narrowing down and giving you an easy visual comparison. I think this is really smart, there are so many visual elements that make these numbers make sense. Of all the time trackers, this feels the easiest to get the data I’m interested in.

The New York Times | Presidential Election Results: Election Needles

Judges said: Very good use of the data they had. They are doing something new and exploring a data story in a different way. This sets the bar for predictive election night analysis, they keep making it better, more focused, which are both good things for a data project to be.

4b. Line of Coverage: US Presidential Election

FiveThirtyEight | 538 2020 Election Forecast

Of all the election coverage, I feel like this one had energy. They really cared about doing something new and different. The overall feel was very cohesive and fun. There is so much interesting data to keep me there, and everything is really legible. The difference for me is enthusiasm of design.

The New York Times | 2020 Lineup Coverage

This demonstrates their mastery of the data and of the story, it takes you from beginning to end, from election night to the week after, and it explains a lot of what happens in really cohesive ways.

The New York Times | Battleground Coverage

It was clear that they had prepared and really thought about this. I like that at the bottom of each one there is a one-liner summing up the other states. The cartography on this one was really strong and focused.

Politico | Election Coverage

They went all in on the hexes. It was really smart to define the electoral college. It’s fascinating to see this in such thorough detail.

Texas Tribune | Election Coverage

This does a really good job being local. It goes the extra mile for keeping it relevant.

Star Tribune | How did Kanye get all of those votes in Minnesota

This is really visually cohesive. I like how they lean into the regional analysis because that is really important. It had a level of polish with design, graphics and cartography that are usually seen at big papers.

4c. Line of Coverage: Coronavirus

The New York Times | Coronavirus: What happened  

How the Virus Got Out | Italy’s Virus Shutdown Came Too Late. What Happens Now? | An Incalculable Loss | How the Virus Won | How the White House Flouted Basic Coronavirus Rules

Judges said: The New York Times did a very good job explaining the coronavirus when nobody really knew what was going on. The visualization of the incalculable loss was beautiful and the color choices didn’t scream “Get stressed out” which was a good choice. 

Reuters | Understanding Covid-19 series

Ventilators: a bridge between life and death? | New normal: How far is safe enough? | British nursing homes in crisis as deaths mount | Virus exposes gaping holes in Africa’s health systems

Judges said: This line of coverage was very strong and airtight in terms of design — great use of color and annotation, beautiful typography and a nice color scheme. The way they treated the edges of the canvas made you feel like we were part of the bigger universe than what you saw on your screen which made it more effective than just using the center of the screen.

4d. Line of Coverage — Protests

The New York Times | Video Investigation Team’s BLM Line of Coverage

Ahmaud Arbery’s Final Minutes: What Videos and 911 Calls ShowHow George Floyd Was Killed in Police Custody | The David McAtee Shooting: Did Aggressive Policing Lead to a Fatal Outcome? |  How the Police Killed Breonna Taylor

Judges said: The amount of work and reporting and execution that went into each of these, I was very surprised. These videos are exemplary examples of how to do this in a way that is engaging and factual. I think they have pushed the limit and challenged what we think is possible with video storytelling. With this line of coverage, they’ve set the standards of how to do these kinds of videos.

The New York Times | Protests

N.Y.P.D. Says It Used Restraint During Protests. Here’s What the Videos Show. | How George Floyd Was Killed in Police Custody | Bird’s Eye View of Protests Across the U.S. and Around the World |  How Black Lives Matter Reached Every Corner of America | Here Are the 100 U.S. Cities Where
Protesters Were Tear-Gassed | How the Philadelphia Police Tear-Gassed a Group of Trapped Protesters | Three Words. 70 Cases. The Tragic History of ‘I Can’t Breathe.’

Judges said: They’re all 7 strong pieces each in their own merit. Each piece has its own character in a unique way. But as a package, I feel like it’s really really well done. It covers different topics from a lot of different angles and different visual mediums.

4h. Line of coverage: public service

ProPublica | We Are Tracking What Happens to Police After They Use Force on Protesters

Judges said: This is the definition of public service because of the accountability and the magnitude of what they accomplished. They gave you the information and put it in context. It’s a huge amount of information to upkeep, and I can’t imagine how much work goes behind it. It’s a tremendous effort. The design is simple but effective.

The Washington Post | Visual Forensics

The crackdown before Trump’s photo op | Swept up in the federal response to Portland protests: ‘I didn’t know if I was going to be seen again’ | Partially blinded by police | The death of George Floyd: What video and other records show about his final minutes | How Minneapolis police handled the in-custody death of a Black man 10 years before George Floyd | Kenosha: How two men’s paths crossed in an encounter that has divided the nation

Judges said:There is a huge effort in the way they present the videos and storytelling. With the whole package, they’re providing context. The visual storytelling changes your understanding of the issues in how they put together the videos, what they choose to annotate. It helps people understand why these are urgent issues. The reporting and the tremendous team effort is impressive.

5b. Product design: Best mobile app

The Atlantic | The Atlantic iOS App

Judges said: This app has a point of view: it’s about today’s content, not everything that The Atlantic has. The level of detail and art direction is unusual in the mobile app world. It’s customized to the user’s experience, even down to the time of day you’re using it. This app is clean, easy to consume and shows a high level of craftsmanship.

 5d. Product design: Best new or redesigned product, site, page or app

Defector | https://defector.com/

Judges said: Product is about impact; visual design and usability are only one aspect. The success of what the defector did stands apart. The success of the product is that they didn’t just create a new website, they created a new website and brought all of their customers over. They made a name for themselves in a crowded space.

The Markup | https://themarkup.org/

Judges said: The Markup website redesign sets a new bar: in terms of usability and visual aesthetic, this is the standard websites should be holding themselves to. It was creative and conceptual in its use of design. With The Markup redesign, there was a clear contrast between what has been traditionally done with websites and what news outlets are doing now.

5e. Best storytelling, multimedia or interactive tools for readers or journalists

Agência Lupa | No epicentro

Judges said: No epicentro used interactive storytelling with an emphasis on mobile design to create a personal storytelling experience. They recognized mobile would be the primary interface for this, which can be difficult for maps, and they ensured that you still get the full experience in mobile.

Gannett Storytelling Studio | Graphic Novel publishing app

The Graphic Novel publishing app was impressive as a functional tool for building graphic novels and the quality of the output was remarkable work. The art and storytelling was elevated through the illustrations. It is handcrafted, and it is admirable that [GSS] took this on and could propagate it across outlets.

Radio Canada | Comment combattre la désinformation

Judges said: This is a compelling, useful tool for helping people understand disinformation. In an educational aspect, it succeeds using the chatbot format to pose questions in a way that helps people unpack the subtle manipulation behind disinformation.

7c. Portfolio: Information graphics (individual)

Marco Hernandez, Reuters

Swirling smoke | How coronavirus hitched a ride through China | A breath of fresh air | Mass exodus from China | World’s biggest iceberg heads for disaster

Judges said: It’s such good cartography. I appreciated the breadth and quality of the mapping and the ones that are more graphically led. You don’t usually see those two things in a single person consistently. The quality is there in all of these pieces.

7d. Portfolio: Information graphics (Staff or team)

La Nación 

La segunda ola: cómo una imprudencia hizo renacer al virus | La velocidad del coronavirus: Comparador por países | Santa Fe y Callao. El dramático colapso del paseo comercial más elegante | Fiestas: Calculá el riesgo de cruzarte un infectado según tu lugar de festejo y la cantidad de invitados | Alberto Nisman: Los misterios que persisten a cinco años de la muerte del fiscal | Las vacunas contra el coronavirus, la esperanza mundial

Judges said: The visuals are very purposeful and well edited. Every package is very polished and there is a lot of thought going in the details to put everything together. Everyone has a vaccine tracker, but this is a one-stop-shop. You get the information you want, and it’s a visually satisfying and visually pleasant experience. I love the range of topics they present, from national to hyper-local. There is a range of techniques and representations that are better than others we’ve seen.

7f. Portfolio: Art Direction (Staff or team)


Lavish Parties, Greedy Pols and Panic Rooms: the ‘Apple of Pot’ Collapsed | How to re-design the world for coronavirus and beyond | The Kidnapped American Trump Forgot | Biden vs. Trump: Who’s the Actual Criminal Justice Reformer? | The Children of 9/11 Are About to Vote | Sex, Lies and Prenups: Donald Trump’s Timeless Wisdom on Love

Judges said: Although each presentation was unique, the use of great illustrations set up a cohesive language within each piece. We were impressed by the commission of illustrations like the embroidery and needlepoint which made this piece feel very distinctive while other presentations echoed illustrated elements in the photography which made it cohesive.

7h. Portfolio – Combination / design, graphics, art direction

Star Tribune

Buildings damaged in Minneapolis, St. Paul after riots | One week in Minneapolis | 2020 Minnesota primary results | A Test on the Farm
What would it take for Trump to win Minnesota over Biden? | The new normal

A screenshot of one of the Star Tribune's project "A Test on the Farm"

Judges said: I had seen their projects individually, and to see them together, there is a nice cohesiveness in the way they were planning out these stories.  It’s not easy to achieve this level of refinement. There are very few people who can achieve this effectively.


Stopping the Spread Vaccine Bootcamp | 2020 Clippings from the Longest Year | Ventilators: a Bridge Between Life or Death? | Assessing Australia’s Ecological Disaster | Up in Smoke

Judges said: As a package the spectrum is very wide. The range of topics, plus the techniques they’ve employed, plus the visual language makes it a strong combination portfolio.  I commend their attempt at a wide range of formats and their ability to maintain very high standards for visual storytelling.

7j. Portfolios — Social media

Poster | @postertomsk

Judges said: “When you see this, you know that they get Instagram. They built this for someone who uses Instagram and they did it incredibly well. You can easily identify their designs, which show craftsmanship and attention to detail. The cohesiveness of the branding and how they handled typography make this a great portfolio.”

7e. Portfolio: Art direction (Individual)

Quartz | Bárbara Abbês

Field Guides | Mindful Money | Can an $84 app give you a financial makeover? | Leeside, USA: The Making of a Climate Utopia | Now Hiring: India’s Jobs of the Future | How To Do Reparations

Judges said: I love the color on the page and how it worked with the illustrations. I really like how colorful it is for topics that usually aren’t very colorful. I appreciated the variety and experience on the page.

7e. Portfolio: Art direction (Individual)

ESPN | Heather Donahue

Portraits of three athletes in the NBA draft
Grade ‘A’ NBA mock draft: Our experts’ perfect picks | Women’s Brackets in All Shapes and Sizes | The Sports Spelling Bee | Racing on the Edge | NFL Offseason Dominoes | Which Bundesliga team should you support?

Judges said: I really enjoyed combing through each one. There’s so many layers, and there’s attention to detail. Knowing your audience and trying to push things towards a kind of audience, even if you are an entry-level sports person, you could engage with these things. I think that’s due to the art direction.

7e. Portfolio: Art direction (Individual)

The Washington Post | Elizabeth Hart

A small toy boat of toy people, on top of a pile of surgical masks styled to look like an ocean
How to un-break the primaries | To Hair Is Human | The Reckoning | Trump’s career is built on finding shortcuts. Against the virus, there are none | Sinking Feeling

Judges said: There was highbrow and lowbrow here, and I liked that. I kept thinking to myself, this is so clever, so well thought. The relationship that the art direction has with the overall story and headline — they nailed it.

7e. Portfolio: Art direction (Individual)

Politico | Erin Aulov

Illustration includes staircases, upside-down architecture, and eyeballs peeking through doorways
Donald Trump’s Greatest Escape | How Legal Weed Destroyed a Counterculture Icon | Trump vs. World, Round 2 | When Can America Reopen From Its Coronavirus Shutdown? | Andrew Cuomo, a Man Alone | The rise of Gen Z could foretell the fall of Trumpism

Judges said: The breadth of work is impressive; there are tons of different styles. Knowing who to commission when; it’s really impressive. I really appreciated how tightly the illustrations matched the stories. Some really pushed the concepts. It can be really hard to illustrate all these different political issues. She didn’t just replace photojournalism with illustration.

See a comprehensive database of past winners.

To contact the competition committee, email [email protected]