At the end of 2017, we asked the Shorthand community to send in their nominations for the second annual Shorthand Awards - so that we could celebrate some of the amazing stories told that year.
We've enjoyed reviewing the nominations - of which there were over 100 across five categories - crafting a shortlist and finally choosing the winners with our expert judges. It's not been an easy task, we can tell you. There were some truly amazing stories produced last year.
The shortlist included work from BBC News, Fairfax Media, RSPCA, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Goal, NZME and many more.
Now, the final results are in and we're delighted to announce the winners. Cue that drum roll please...
The best use of interactivity award
The judges commended the way this story created a "synergy between the storyline and the visual and interactive elements" making it an engaging read from start to finish.
The smoke effect at the top of the story was an excellent lead-in to pique the reader's interest and get them to pay attention to the introduction.
The visuals were well integrated into the flow of the story, particularly the clear and readable graphics that incrementally add detail as the user scrolls.
The moving image instantly grabs you and I think the consistent, clean design with regular videos and interactive graphs make this a visually interesting and informative piece.
The courageous newcomer award
London-based DATA4CHAN.GE supports civil society and human rights organisations to visualise data. They submitted I am Binadam, a story written in English and Swahili, which is part of a guerilla-style, anonymous campaign in support of the LGBTQ community in Tanzania. The judges loved it, as did we!
The use of colorful illustrations were a delightful way to present a serious subject, and the minimal use of written text gave the messages and data presented a chance to really stand out.
The use of colour and graphics makes this a bright and eye-catching piece, and used very effectively for such a serious topic.
I particularly like the shareable posters that are placed in the middle of the article - clever way to engage the reader and encourage to raise awareness.
The communication with a difference
award goes to...
This story was praised for the way it used interactive features and data visualisation to make a report, which could have all too easily followed a PDF-format. Instead, this is digital storytelling at its best - proving it pays off to go against the grain.
This is thought leadership brought to life. It really keeps you engaged.
This brings to life a topic that perhaps could be considered more 'dry'. Well done to the team for trying something different.
The most visually compelling award
This story by Redd Barna, Save the Children Norway, blew the judges away with its combination of interactive feature and imagery.
The combination of interactive tools make this article feel like an exhibit at a museum.
It follows a clear but visually interesting format - the map, stats and then info on each piece of clothing - so the reader knows what to expect whilst also remaining engaged.
The linking of actual clothing to location was extremely effective, and the 360 photos silhouetted on black emphasized the insufficiency of the clothing to the climate as described in the text. I also thought the maps and country data were handled elegantly.
Last but not least... the consistent performer award goes to...
Stuff is New Zealand's largest domestic website attracting a monthly audience of 2.2 million people. In 2017, they put a particular emphasis on producing quality, engaging stories. The team from Stuff says that Shorthand has been a key tool in achieving that goal.
Over the course of the year they published 25 stories - ranging from an investigation into the scourge of synthetic cannabis, a three-piece examination of the impact of climate change in three different parts of the world, a beautiful interactive telling the story of a refugee family settling in a new land, a two-part feature about Silicon Valley idealists creating controversy in rural New Zealand, and so much more.
They also chose the Shorthand format to promote and support their hit true crime podcast, Black Hands, which reached the top of the iTunes charts around the world with more than three million downloads to date.
Stuff's stories are a shining example of what can be achieved when expert storytellers combine with the Shorthand tool.
In a short time they've really developed their use of Shorthand and we want to congratulate everyone at Stuff.co.nz for their efforts in 2017.
Well done team Stuff, from all of us here at Shorthand!
A huge thank to everyone who nominated stories and to our judges for helping make the most impossible decisions!
We believe each and every story deserves to be celebrated. So, while there can only be one winner for each of the categories above, we bow to all of you pushing the boundaries on digital storytelling and delivering value to your audiences.
Keep up the good work and stick with us for what is set to be another amazing year of storytelling.