SINGAPORE - From a million Covid-19 deaths to a 200km road trip around Singapore, The Straits Times' strong body of work in visual storytelling across a range of topics was recognised at a global design contest.
ST won an award of excellence for its portfolio in infographics at the 2020 Best of Digital Design competition. It also clinched four other awards of excellence for its infographics on local issues, politics, and travel and lifestyle, as well as an individual award for UI/UX designer Alyssa Karla Mungcal.
This year's results were announced over the weekend by the Society for News Design, which organises the annual event. It drew over 1,700 entries from 29 countries, and winners included The New York Times, The Washington Post and Reuters.
In a year that saw a global pandemic, a Singapore general election and the publication's 175th anniversary, ST's portfolio showcased its versatility across various digital formats and its Singapore and Asia focus.
When the world crossed the grim milestone of a million Covid-19 deaths in September last year, ST visualised the devastating spread of the virus across the world through an interactive streamgraph.
The project captured the many twists and turns of the pandemic, including how countries in Asia, such as South Korea, saw a resurgence in infections.
Other ST award-winning works included an interactive graphic that shed light on the biggest stories of the past 175 years through an analysis of ST's front page headlines from its first edition on July 15, 1845, until last year.
Titled "From 1845 to 2020: Singapore and the world through ST headlines", the project saw the ST interactive graphics team comb through more than 47,000 headlines. An algorithm that gives weight to how important subjects were in their respective years was used in the analysis. Topics that dominated the headlines included epidemics, foreign affairs and major crimes that shook the nation.
Launched to mark ST's 175th anniversary last year, readers could also select a date and see what the page one news for that day was.
ST interactive graphics editor Rodolfo Pazos said the team spent the past year focusing on its efforts to tell big data-driven stories simply and effectively, but with compassion. "It is encouraging to see our team's work placed as high as some of the best news design teams in the world," he said.
With the Covid-19 pandemic putting the brakes on overseas travel, a popular project that took readers on a 200km drive around Singapore also got the nod from judges. Readers could download the route, which also included recommendations on unusual sights to see along the way.
ST editor Warren Fernandez said: "It was a challenging year for everyone last year, with so many big news stories breaking out, from the pandemic to the elections. Our promise to our readers was to cover these as best as we could across all our platforms.
"We also made our multimedia efforts, with new and more visual forms of engaging audiences, a key focus of our 2020 product revamp, which we did to mark ST's 175th anniversary. So, I think these awards are recognition of those efforts by our peers and other professional journalists," said Mr Fernandez, who is also editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/Tamil Media Group.
See more interactive projects here.
The award-winning works
Award of Excellence for Infographics: Local Issues
Award of Excellence for Story Page Design: Politics
Award of Excellence for Infographics: Arts, Entertainment, Food, Travel & Lifestyle
The Straits Times Digital Graphics team
Award of Excellence for Portfolio: Infographics (Staff)
Alyssa Karla Mungcal, UI/UX designer
Award of Excellence for Portfolio: Story Page Design (Individual)