Online Journalism Awards 2019: »Breathtaking« audiovisuals

In September, the winners of the international Online Journalism Awards 2019 were announced. And while we recommend taking a closer look around on the impressive field of all the winners and finalists, there is some very interesting audiovisual science journalism that we would like to point out to you.
 
»Breathtaking« by Undark Magazine won The Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, Small Newsroom. (Newsletter editors Kerstin and Sibylle worked with Undark for another project.) This web documentary series about air pollution comes with photographs and video by Larry C. Price. It’s reported from around the globe, in cooperation with journalists from Bangladesh, Chile, China, India, Macedonia, Nigeria, and the US.
 
This is how the producers explain the project in their nomination letter: »Doubters may still consider the impact of fossil fuels on the global climate to be abstract, diffuse, and uncertain, but these impacts are clear and present: People are dying.«
 
»It was our goal from the beginning to make this often-invisible topic impossible to ignore,« says Undark editor in chief Tom Zeller Jr. »By our reckoning, the best way to do that was to assemble some of the best visual documentarians working today, pair them with ambitious, deep-digging reporters on the ground in each country, and deliver to our visitors a data-rich, visually innovative, and narratively compelling series of investigations that could live on the web as a resource for years to come.«
 
I very much like and appreciate the long term view they are taking with this project. This is not intended as some visually attractive fodder for the 24hour news cycle, and it shows.
 
»Gone in a generation« by the Washington Post is a finalist in the Digital Video Storytelling category. In four chapters – »Forests«, »Floods«, »Fires«, and »Fisheries« – it documents the impact of climate change on the daily lives of four American families. You may think you have heard this story a hundred times by now, but maybe not with this intensity. Images and sound work together here very strongly and create intimacy and urgency at the same time.
 
For innovative storytelling with data and data visualization I can always point you to »The Pudding« who won the General Excellence Award for Micro Newsrooms. The people behind this digital magazine explore any kind of matter with data. One of the more »sciencey« projects is »Human Terrain«, a 3D visualization of the world’s population, which looks simple at first sight, but is quite instructive if you dig a little deeper.
 
And finally: »Visual Investigations« by the New York Times. It’s not science, mostly, but very innovative in its use of online video sources for explanatory journalism and well worth a look or two. Or three.
 

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