North Korea missiles: Stronger, faster, higher

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: United States

Publishing organisation: Reuters

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 2022-12-16

Language: English

Authors: Vijdan Mohammad Kawoosa, Josh Smith, Sudev Kiyada, Simon Scarr, Manas Sharma


Vijdan Mohammad Kawoosa: Data and Graphics Journalist at Reuters Graphics
Josh Smith: Reuters Senior Correspondent covering North and South Korea
Sudev Kiyada: Graphics Intern at Reuters Graphics
Simon Scarr: Deputy Head of Reuters Graphics
Manas Sharma: Data Visualisation Developer at Reuters Graphics

Project description:

This data-driven explainer visualizes how North Korea’s missiles are going higher and further. The team turned trajectory data into an interactive 3D animation, walking the reader through one of the record-breaking launches. Further data analysis revealed the progress of Pyongyang’s missile program under Kim Jong Un.

Impact reached:

This story illustrated the dire threat North Korea poses by showing the far reach and power of their missiles.

Techniques/technologies used:

Three.js was used to plot detailed trajectory data in the opening animation. The team then experimented with various camera angles and lighting that best suit the storyline and annotation. This was all rigged up to the reader’s mouse scroll in order to deliver a seamless explanation of how high these missiles reach into space.

QGIS was used to make other maps and Adobe’s Creative Suite was used to style many of the graphics in the piece. Adobe illustrator was used to make the illustrations of missiles which appear in the long horizontal timeline.

The whole page was designed and art directed ini a way that makes all of the information feel like it is delivered in a cohesive way, maintaining the reader’s engagement.

Context about the project:

Gathering information on North Korea’s missile program is incredibly difficult. This project required working with several external sources, such as The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Center for Strategic and International Studies to paint a specific picture.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

It’s one thing to read about North Korea’s missile program, but quite another to see the range and power of missiles in the context of their neighbors. This graphics-driven approach allows for a deeper understanding of the consequences of this growing threat.

Project links: