Post’s infographics team scoops gold award at 2018 Kantar Information is Beautiful competition in New York

  • Visual presentation about Thai cave rescue in July honoured with gold prize in breaking news category
  • It beat competition from The Guardian, FiveThirtyEight, Behance, Mondo, Clarin and Neue Bürcher Beitung.
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 December, 2018, 9:52pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 December, 2018, 6:18am

The South China Morning Post’s infographics team won a gold award at the 2018 edition of Kantar’s Information is Beautiful awards in New York on Tuesday.

The winning visual presentation, published on July 9 and visible below, was about the rescue of 12 teenage footballers and their coach stranded in a flooded cave in Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, explaining the geographical challenges and international rescuers’ efforts to save the team.

The winning work was by the team’s deputy head, Adolfo Arranz, digital design director Marco Hernandez, infographic designers Marcelo Duhalde and Pablo Robles, and graphic designer Dennis Wong.

It scooped gold prize in the category of Breaking News, beating competition from opinion poll analysis site FiveThirtyEight, which took silver for its visualisation of the destruction Hurricane Irma was predicted to cause; and design company Behance, which made an infographic on the effects of the US-China trade war for Italian newspaper La Reppublica.

After the Thai boys went missing it became clear very early on that nobody really understood what was happening, the team’s head Darren Long said on Wednesday.

There were reports that the boys, who could not swim, were going to scuba dive their way to freedom using fins, while other stories included holes being drilled to pull them to safety and submarines being sent in.

“We realised that by analysing maps and data and visualising the rescue options we could draw a clear picture. Adolfo Arranz rallied the graphics team, parcelled out the different strands of the story to the team and pulled it together into a coherent story, updating the story as new information came to light,” Long said.

“I’m on cloud nine for the team bagging the breaking news category. We owned this story by pulling out all the stops to turn raw data into compelling visuals against a ticking clock. All the while hoping the Thai boys would be brought out safely,” he added.

The Information is Beautiful awards were founded by British visual data journalist and writer David McCandless, in collaboration with Aziz Cami, the then-creative director at London-based market research company Kantar, in 2012, to celebrate excellence and beauty in data visualisations, infographics, interactives and information art.

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About 900 entries – from the US, Europe, China, India and Latin America – were submitted this year, a 15 per cent jump from the previous year. Other organisations whose works were nominated for the Breaking News award were The Guardian, Argentinian newspaper Clarin, and German newspaper Neue Bürcher Beitung.

The awards are judged by a panel of experts with a public vote from a 300,000-strong community, according to their official website.

Two other entries from the Post this year – “2017: the safest skies record”, published in January, and “Why Djibouti is home to China's first foreign military base”, published in August – were shortlisted in the “science and technology” and “politics and global” categories respectively.

The Post was also honoured with gold awards in 2015 and 2016.