2021 Shortlist

Garden: A Memorial Dedicated to the Lives Lost in the Outbreak

Country/area: China

Organisation: Caixin Media

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 4 Apr 2020

Credit: Meng Wei, Huaiwen Dong, Mengyuan Dong, Bing Wei, Shulin Zhang, Chen Huang, Mingzhong Geng

Project description:

During the outbreak of covid-19 in Wuhan, news strories are focused on doctors, nurses and famous people, however, there are thousands of ordinary people died in this ourbreak whose name and story should also be remembered. We created this digital memorial for those who are not reported in breaking news. The memorial is presented as a quite and peaceful space filled with cherry blossom petals — a symbol of the city of Wuhan, and was launched on the day of Qingming Festival, a traditional holiday to sweep tomb and commemorate deceased relatives.

Impact reached:

The date we launched the project is Qingming Festival, and the commemoration for the Covid-19 death has reached a national scale. Media, organization and social media lauched a set of commemorative articles, presenting a long list of significant person died in the ourbreak. However, as far as we know, our project is one of the few that highlighted the idea of “presenting ordinary people names”. The project is not sorting the names with occupation or significance, but in a random order, to show that every life is equal in this tragedy. With this particular perspective, the project has struck a strong chord with the public. Many people retweeted and replied the link of the project on social media and commented “they are very touched”. The project will also last for a long time and update more names for their beloved one.

Techniques/technologies used:

We use data visualization programming library D3 and THREE JS to create the map. Also we use SQL to program database. We use HTML, CSS, JavaScript to create the website. 

What was the hardest part of this project?

The hardest part of the project is to collect and fact check the names and information of the dead. For security reason we closed the submit form for public shortly after the launch of the project, instead we left an email address for readers to provide information. However, it’s a lot less efficient.

What can others learn from this project?

The success of this project shows us that empathy is a prerequisite for good journalism, and before the national grand narrative, we still need to focus on the individual. Several months we launched this project, the New York Times released the thousand names obituary front page, which also resonates strongly with American people.

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