2023 Shortlist


Entry type: Portfolio

Country/area: United States

Publishing organisation: Reuters

Organisation size: Big

Cover letter:

Reuters continues to tell their most important stories visually. Our projects follow a narrative driven expressly by visual journalism, whether that is innovative data gathering techniques, data-driven investigations, satellite journalism, explainer illustrations or immersive presentations.

Regardless of subject matter, project size, or reporting methods, data journalism plays a major role in delivering stories.

**Strong emphasis on project design**
Reuters pays careful consideration to the tone and subject matter as expressed through the design of the story. Reuters strives to forge a visual connection between audience and content before they have read a single word. The design and feel of each piece often reflect the tone and subject matter. This can be seen in across a range of our work. The project looking at the collapse of insects is a strong example of this.

**Making data understandable**
One of our missions is to make complex or difficult data sets easily digestible to tell stories. Design is a key component of making difficult data accessible. For example, our project explaining how Tonga was engulfed by lightning after the massive volcanic eruption combines huge amounts of data with clear explanations and animation to explain why it was one of the largest volcanic lightning events ever recorded.

The Reuters Graphics team are continuously thinking of ways to push the boundaries of reporting and gathering information. One example of this is evident in our coverage of the sediment loss in the Mekong River. The team are constantly experimenting with striking ways to deliver our stories too. Take our series of projects on the major volcanic eruption in Tonga, for example, where the explosion cloud was reprojected, animated, and placed over major land masses to show its scale.

**Public service**
Getting timely information around the U.S. midterm elections and putting the mountain of statistics, voting information, and polling data in context for readers is at the core of public service journalism. Our live results maps and dashboard were used by other media outlets around the world and read widely online.

**Breaking news coverage**
When major news breaks, such as natural or unexpected disasters, colleagues from all aspects of the newsroom join forces to work with the graphics desk. Data, deep reporting and powerful presentation create insightful explainers that give the reader everything they need to know about an event in one place. Our project revealing how the Halloween crowd crush unfolded in Seoul, South Korea, is a prime example of this.

**Analyzing and contextualizing the news**
Beyond the real-time response to unfolding news events, the graphics team strives to keep in mind the bigger picture and possible follow-on effects to produce timely stand back pieces that investigate the wider impacts or potential directions of a story. The team’s ongoing coverage of the war in Ukraine is a prime example of this.

Our job is to tell stories, and to further understanding of the news. We believe data, design, and narrative need to connect with the reader to bridge this. Reuters strives for this balance in every piece of visual journalism we undertake.

Description of portfolio:

**The collapse of insects**
The most diverse group of organisms on the planet are in trouble, with recent research suggesting insect populations are declining at an unprecedented rate. This piece combines data with vivid illustration to explain the importance of insects and why they are in decline.

**The perfect storm: How Tonga was engulfed by lightning**
This data analysis shows why the volcanic lightning storm from the Tonga eruption was unlike anything on record. Reuters used data from a ground-based global lightning detection network to visualize the lightning activity during the eruption. The immersive animated storytelling helped put this storm into perspective and make this complicated information easy to digest.

**The war in Ukraine**
By early January 2022, the Kremlin had massed some 100,000 troops around Ukraine’s borders in a preparation to invade. Reuters used satellite imagery to show the scale of Moscow’s logistical expansion along the border, measured how the Ukrainian defence forces compared to Russia’s military and outlined the likeliest routes Russian troops would take to occupy Ukraine. The project was one of the first to outline the likeliest scenarios for military invasion.

Then came the energy crisis. As tensions between Russia and the West deepened on the borders of Ukraine, Europe and Russia’s long interdependence on one another for energy had become a critical bargaining piece on both sides. Reuters published a data and map based project that clearly quantified Europe’s reliance on Russian gas and oil and the pipeline infrastructure that underpinned the alternatives available to Europe.

Then in the summer, we looked at how control had changed hands through the war. Nearly five months into what Russia had planned as a swift invasion, Ukraine had preserved its sovereignty and pushed back Russian forces in some areas. This report, based on data derived from satellite-images provided by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), as well as Reuters reporting from the ground, captures key moments on the road to the summer’s military impasse.

**Stronger, faster, higher**
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 reveals the progress of Pyongyang’s missile program.

**Why plants matter**
They are the foundation of life on Earth, providing food, medicine, building materials and clean air but across the world, plant species are disappearing fast. This story takes a closer look at the rate at which we are losing species and why they are harder to assess than mammals. Scientists have assessed the extinction risk of only about 15% of species.

**Starving the Mekong**
An exclusive data analysis shows how dams in the upper Mekong River are holding back up to 80% of sediment that should flow through the 4,900km-long waterway, starving the delta in Vietnam of nutrient-rich, land stabilizing soil essential for farming. This graphics story brings together data visualization and on-the ground reporting to show how this phenomenon is gradually but irreversibly reshaping the lives of millions of people whose livelihoods depend on the river.

**Why Arctic fires are releasing more carbon than ever**
With climate change raising Arctic temperatures faster than the global average, wildfires are shifting poleward where the flames blaze through boreal forest and tundra and release vast amounts of greenhouse gases from the carbon-rich organic soil.

A Reuters analysis found that high-latitude wildfires were responsible for a greater share of total global fire emissions in 2021 than in any year since monitoring began in 2003, releasing nearly a third of last year’s total carbon emissions from wildfires.

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