100 days of protests rock Hong Kong
Category: Best data-driven reporting (small and large newsrooms)
Country/area: Hong Kong S.A.R., China
Organisation: South China Morning Post
Organisation size: Big
Publication date: 17/09/2019
Credit: Pablo Robles, Darren Long and Dennis Wong
“100 days of protests rock Hong Kong” was created to help readers navigate a fast-moving and complex story. As many details began to get blurred in the noise and chaos surrounding the protests in Hong Kong, our graphics team set out to bring clarity and inform a curious international audience about the underlying causes.
The protests began on June 9, 2019, when a million people demonstrated against an amendment to an extradition bill and quickly snowballed into a mass leaderless anti-government movement. The events that followed captured the world’s attention.
Using data we were able to provide readers with an impartial bird’s-eye view of the first three months of the civil disturbances that captured the world’s imagination.
To date the piece has received more than 57,000 unique views and a 4:50 minute read-time. Journalists and academices have told us they regularly refer to it in order to verify the sequence of events. The story also resulted in invitations for the team to talk at various international conferences and events
We also analysed video footage and photographic records, exploring and filtering the data manually. We categorised the type of violence and weapons used by both sides on a case-by-case basis and built a meter to indicate to readers the level of violence showing how it ebbed and flowed.
We combined on-the-ground reporting with charts, maps, DataViz, illustrations, videos and photographs to create a visual narrative and timeline.
To incorporate every protest into a single story required the use of almost 100 photos for visual evidence. We also employed time lapse videos to record the mass protests that brought the city to a virtual standstill. Twenty locator maps compare legal and illegal demonstration routes and we also recorded the location of all demonstrations to show how quickly the protests spread from the Central business district to new towns bordering mainland China. More than 14 explanatory diagrams were created to analyse the use of tear gas, laser pointers, rubber bullets etc.
What was the hardest part of this project?
The hardest part of this project was keeping up with the fast-moving events. We needed to plan ahead so that we could realease the story on the annivesary of the 100th day of the protests.
What can others learn from this project?
We believe “100 days of protests rock Hong Kong” is a great example of how to use data to keep an emotive narrative impartial