The Society of News Design announced this week that ProPublica has won an overall best graphic award and five medals at this year’s Malofiej, a prestigious annual competition honoring the best infographics in media from around the world.
In a Notoriously Polluted Area of the Country, Massive New Chemical Plants Are Still Moving In, by ProPublica’s Lylla Younes, Al Shaw and Claire Perlman, was awarded both the Climate Change and Environmental Commitment Best Graphic Award in the digital category and a Silver Medal in the features (local) category. This interactive story was part of the Polluter’s Paradise series about environmental impact in Louisiana — a project of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network, in partnership with the New Orleans Advocate. In an interactive map, the team visualized the estimated concentrations of cancer-causing chemicals generated from large industrial facilities and showed how emissions from clusters of facilities combine to increase overall toxicity nearby. The piece also lets readers see how concentrations of cancer-causing chemicals in their area compare with everywhere else in seven parishes on the lower Mississippi River.
Three additional Silver Medals awarded to ProPublica went to projects also published in 2019:
Trapped in a Deadly Chase, a collaboration between ProPublica and the Los Angeles Times, in the features (nation/world/business) category. Kavitha Surana, a senior reporting fellow at ProPublica, and Brittny Mejia and James Queally from the Times reviewed more than 9,000 federal criminal complaints filed against suspected human smugglers from 2015-18 to build a database about Border Patrol pursuits and tactics. ProPublica’s Agnes Chang and Lucas Waldron created an interactive map showing one Border Patrol pursuit where a high-speed chase resulted in three deaths and multiple serious injuries.
Collision Course, by ProPublica’s T. Christian Miller, Megan Rose, Robert Faturechi and Agnes Chang in the features (nation/world/business) category. ProPublica reconstructed the USS John S. McCain’s Ship Control Console based on the system’s technical manual, confidential Navy reports, an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and interviews with a McCain watchstander and a former Navy technician who worked on the system. The team built a 3D replica of the array dials, gauges and digital readouts that were displayed before the U.S. Navy destroyer struck an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore. ProPublica also created animations to show the reader exactly how the digital dials and buttons of the McCain were meant to work and how the poorly designed user interface left sailors confused, when seconds mattered, about which navigation station was in control of steering or whether the ship’s two engines were operating together or independently.
Adrift: How the Marine Corps Failed Squadron 242 by ProPublica’s Katie Campbell, Joe Singer and Lucas Waldron, with illustrator Matt Huynh and 3D animator MacGregor Campbell, in the formats (motion graphics) category. The ProPublica team created an animated short documentary, using a combination of an on-camera interview, 3D animation, 2D illustration and atmospheric footage to bring the excruciating hours of a nighttime Marine training exercise 15,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean to light. Through extensive interviews with witnesses, the team reconstructed the moments leading up to the crash, the crash itself and the botched search-and-rescue effort.
A Bronze Medal went to ProPublica news applications developer Al Shaw in the category of portfolio (individual).
See all of this year’s Malofiej Awards winners here.