The 2020 Shorthand Awards shortlist

We’re excited to announce the shortlist for the 5th Annual Shorthand Awards!

It’s time to unveil the shortlist for the 5th Annual Shorthand Awards, which recognises the best-of-the-best digital stories published on the web during 2020. 

With so many deserving nominations across all five categories, it was not an easy task collating this stellar shortlist. 

Each story was viewed across different browsers and devices. We studied the supporting notes, explored the variety of sections, looked at the use of media and interactivity, and immersed ourselves in your words. 

For the first time, the winners across all categories in the Shorthand Awards will be announced via a virtual event in April 2021 — more about that later!

Below, you'll find the shortlist for the five nomination categories, alongside a quote from each of the nominees. As you will see, our judging panel has some difficult choices ahead of them!

The categories are:

  • Best editorial story
  • Best brand story
  • Best not-for-profit story
  • Best business story
  • Best education story.

Best editorial story

Covid-19: School leaders on the frontline

National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) 

“This was a great way of telling the story quickly and in an emotive and compelling way through the use of case studies, interviews and animation. It managed to reach a huge audience who were able to draw on each other’s own personal experiences and challenges."

Bethany Waters, Designer, Headlines UK (agency working with NAHT)

Brexit by Numbers

Sky News UK

“Editorially astute and visually stunning, this piece took the user on a four year journey from the vote in 2016. It was mobile native, using multiple reveal formats to create a vertical timeline, and had HTML charts which scrolled through the facts.”

Ronan Hughes, Output Editor, Sky News UK

Vom Schwein zum Schnitzel (From pork to schnitzel)


“The elaborate, rousing illustrations present in an outstanding way what the life of a pig in German factory farming looks like.”

Sophie Gülzow, Author, ZDF Digital

Best brand story

How a cutting-edge creative turns to Pinterest to make inspired decisions


“With a topic that is focused on visual inspiration, we needed an immersive design that could be engaging and eye-catching. The execution was a great success, with over 7X what we see for a non-immersive piece of sponsored content, and time-on-page metrics at about 3X our typical benchmark.”

Stuart Feil, VP of Branded Content, Adweek

Deep impact


“In a 2020 art world dominated by virtual 'Viewing Rooms', we took our sale of meteorites off-world to launch the solar system's first ever 'Viewing Moon'! The story took readers on an educational tour on the lunar surface."

Jon-Ross Le Haye, International Head of Digital Design, Christie’s

I can’t believe my eyes

Savoir Flair & Gucci

“Savoir Flair's story for Gucci combines clever storytelling and beautifully crafted visuals, which engage the users from start to finish.”

Xandi Eleazar, Head of Social and Digital Marketing, Savoir Flair 

Best not-for-profit story

A look back at the 2020 census

United States Census

“Leading readers through the planning, research, and preparation for the 2020 Census that started years before the historic count. We remind readers that the story of the numbers is just beginning. The 2020 Census data will shape communities across the United States for the next ten years.”

Jenna Gengler, Director for Visual Design, Reingold, Inc. (agency working with United States Census)

Start Network Annual Report 2019

Start Network

“Shorthand allowed us to display our achievements in a visual, engaging and interactive way which our members, partners and donors found very appealing, coming back to us with great feedback. We're tackling what we believe are the biggest systemic problems that the humanitarian sector faces.”

Zofia Piotrowicz, Digital Officer, Start Network

Pillars of strength

World Health Organisation & Alliance 

“We believe that this story is crying out for as wide an audience as possible, both for general interest, but also within the context of the climate emergency.”

James Mullighan, Business Development Executive, Fat Rat Films (agency working with WHO) 

Best business story

Time for change: The FA strategy 2020-2024

The Football Association (The FA)

“To showcase the work and passion people have for the beautiful game. Football is a game for all, where anyone can change the world. The story showcases how The FA is going to positively impact every community across the country. The FA is ready to change the game for the better.”

Jayvik Patel, Digital Content Operations Manager, The FA 

RELX environmental challenge

RELX Corporate Communications

“We embedded videos and built an interactive map which gives a sense of geographical scale and historical timeline. This Shorthand generated double the average traffic and it is a flagship story in a year in which the number of story views on the site increased 12-fold.”

Lucy Marks, Corporate Communications Coordinator, RELX 

Private equity: Spotlight on healthcare

Cleary Gottlieb

“This story, produced alongside our agency Rostrum, demonstrates the benefits of Shorthand and how you can transform a very technical piece of content into something truly engaging."

Simon Seddon, Media Relations Manager, Cleary Gottlieb

Best education story

Pandemic politics: Who will emerge in better health

The University of Queensland

“While we knew the written content in this feature was strong, we wanted to make sure the design would take it to another level. Given its political angle, we decided that the design of the feature should be centred around an old-fashioned political poster theme, which is incorporated throughout from the opening headline slide, the transitioning images of presidents Trump and Jinping, infographics and image borders.”

Michael Jones, Publications Editor, The University of Queensland

COVID-19: six months on the frontline

Imperial College London

“We created a customised timeline to show the unfolding nature of the pandemic, and Imperial’s response to it. The result is an engaging feature which offered our audiences a moment to pause and reflect on the progress that had been made, and the road that lay ahead.” 

Andrew Youngson, News and Campaigns Content Manager, Imperial College London

SHANIDAR Z: What did Neanderthals do with their dead?

University of Cambridge

“This story was a huge media hit. It had such a wealth of detail and imagery, as well as insight into both archaeological fieldwork and the journey of academic fascination from student to researcher. The article is designed to intrigue then reveal, and the imagery and video take the reader deep into the ancient cave.” 

Fred Lewsey, Communications Officer, University of Cambridge

Join us on the night!

Join us at the 5th Annual Shorthand Awards event, where we will announce our winners! This year’s virtual experience will give you a chance to celebrate the best digital stories published on the web last year, and connect with our inspiring global storytelling community.

Keep an eye out for further details on The Craft shortly — including an exciting announcement.

Read about the previous Shorthand Awards:

2016 winners

2017 winners

2018 winners

2019 winners